Pakistan bowling coach Vernon Philander was left ecstatic by the atmosphere in their thrilling T20 World Cup win over India on Sunday.
DUBAI – Vernon Philander has played some big cricket matches in his career.
The virtual World Test Championship final against England at Lord’s in 2012 springs to mind. And of course the 2015 World Cup semi-final in Auckland.
But even Philander, who has only recently started in his new role as Pakistan bowling coach, had to admit just being part of the emotionally-charged Asian slugfest between great rivals India and Pakistan on Sunday was something completely out of this world.
“There’s probably no greater way to start than with the India/Pakistan game,” the former Proteas seamer told reporters in a virtual media briefing on Monday after the 10-wicket victory.
“I think it was probably one of the biggest spectacles the cricket world will ever see. Pakistan and India, such an amazing atmosphere to be part of it. And coming out on top, really puts a cherry on the cake.”
Defeating India in a World Cup is a feeling no Pakistani cricketer or coach had experienced before the explosive night in Dubai.
It is therefore a major fillip for the new coaching staff of former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden (head coach) and Philander (bowling coach), who were both head-hunted by new Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja.
Furthermore, it was an even greater boost for Philander, who oversaw a Pakistan attack led by the brilliant Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali blow away India’s much-vaunted batting line-up.
Shaheen Afridi was particularly devastating with the new ball as he swung out both Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul with virtually unplayable deliveries.
“I think I’ve said it before, they’re a highly skilled bunch of bowlers. He’s (Shaheen) such a wonderful talent. You have to make sure you encourage him to keep doing what he’s doing.
#Pakistan quick Shaheen Afridi is a proven performer in the Powerplay.
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 25, 2021
“I think the guys have taken well to the way I want to do things. It all boils down to the working relationship of really trusting one another.
“But I think from a skill point of view, probably some of the best I’ve ever seen and obviously come across. So it really excites me to be working with them and hopefully I can hopefully take them a step higher in their careers.”
With Ramiz also stressing that Pakistan need to play a fearless brand of cricket that is part of their DNA, Philander is also encouraging his charges to hold nothing back.
“Giving them the freedom to strike is what we discussed. I think, from my side, the consistency does come into play obviously. And, yeah, you want to encourage the guys to keep being positive, because obviously if you strike with a new bowl you’re putting the team in the game. I’d encourage them to go with it.
“Of course for me consistency is important. But as we know bowlers do win games in T20 cricket. We want to make sure they keep having a positive outlook on the game.”
Pakistan will hope to continue this momentum when they face New Zealand on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi.