India vs South Africa: Meet the legend Vernon Philander waves at after picking a wicket at Newlands

India vs South Africa: Meet the legend Vernon Philander waves at after picking a wicket at Newlands

The story started 20 years ago when Philander was playing cricket on the streets.

Johannas Adams
Johannas Adams. (Photo Source: Indian Express)

Vernon Philander has been a sensation for South Africa though he isn’t the fastest of the South African lot. His strength isn’t his pace, but he has done wonders for the Proteas. His ability to swing the ball both ways and a bowl the nagging line get most of his wickets. Philander’s wonderful record of picking 50 wickets in the first seven matches is the second fastest ever in Test cricket.

When playing at Newlands, the pacer looks for a person sitting in the stands, after picking every wicket. Vernon waves at his mentor, Johannas Adams every single time he takes a wicket. Adams is the one who spotted the spark in Philander, at a time when he was pre-teenager. Adams not only mentored the fast-bowler but also took him to games and training in and around the Western Province.

Philander recently got to a hundred Test wickets mark at home and is the seventh South African to do that. He is the third fastest to take a hundred scalps in South Africa. He is behind Dale Steyn and Allan Donald. He got to his 100th scalp in South Africa by dismissing India‘s Cheteshwar Pujara in the first Test at Newlands, which is his 23rd at home.

Adams who saw the spark in Philander

Adams is the Chairman of Tigers Cricket Club and a well-respected man in Cape Town’s cricket circuit. The story started 20 years ago when Philander was playing cricket on the streets. He was noticed by Tigers Cricket Club’s vice president, as the kid was playing along with the vice president’s son.

Impressed with Philander, the VP asked him to be at the club the next day, where Adams first saw the South African spearhead for the first time. He was a father figure for Philander, who was raised by a single mother and grandparents.

“You don’t get money for these kinds of things. This is the reward for putting in the hard work. Over the years, I was fortunate to sit here and see him bag wickets. He always looks up to me and that gives me a great feeling,” Adams was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

Talking about Philander’s incredible journey, the elderly man stated, “He had the same run-up, same bowling style and the same amount of patience he shows now. He is very consistent. He looks to bowl at one spot all the time and runs down the batsmen with patience.”

“He has a very positive mindset. During our long drives back from games, even if things hadn’t gone his way, he never sounded disappointed. Actually, he has never been down all his life,” the mentor added.

Adams also mentioned that Philander likes to spend time at the club with youngsters. “He would spend so much time with the boys here. He answers their questions and plays with them,” he said.