[OPINION] Duanne Olivier fills enforcer role left by Morkel with aplomb
The Knights paceman Duanne Olivier shot the lights out in the recently concluded three-Test match series against Pakistan with his 24 wickets in the series.
JOHANNESBURG - The mark of some of the best Test bowling attacks always had great enforcers that put fear in the opposition batsmen.
For the better part of a decade, Morne Morkel has been that man for South Africa.
The lanky former Proteas speedster had an uncanny ability to extract steep bounce from the most docile of surfaces in the subcontinent and was the unsung hero in a star-studded Proteas seam attack that consisted of a lethal Dale Steyn and the accuracy of Vernon Philander.
Morkel’s 309 Test scalps were worth gold dust to South Africa in a period where they rose to the summit of the ICC Test rankings under the leadership of Graeme Smith.
It hasn’t taken the selectors too long to find a natural successor to Morkel.
Knights paceman Duanne Olivier shot the lights out in the recently concluded three-Test match series against Pakistan with his 24 wickets in the series.
Olivier had previously been in and out of the side because of the strength of the fast bowling stocks in the country.
He took his chance very well though in the first Test of the Pakistan series when he replaced the injured Philander at SuperSport Park for the first Boxing Day Test match staged inland.
In that match, Olivier took career-best match figures of 11 for 96 in a brutal display of aggression and accuracy.
The Groblersdal born's quick menacing line that was just short of a length, attacking the batsmen’s chest and shoulder area set the tone for the rest of the series in which Pakistan could only manage to cross the 200 run mark twice, crumbling under the sustained pressure of the South African attack.
Going into the series, Olivier had never registered a Test match five-wicket haul, but his three five-wicket hauls in the series made him indispensable and was the go-to man for both Captains Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar whenever the team needed a breakthrough.
The soft-spoken Olivier has now firmly gripped the title of the Proteas new enforcer and has created a healthy selection for convener of selectors Linda Zondi and head coach Ottis Gibson, who by his own admission has enjoyed watching Olivier at work.
Long may it continue.