Attack the new game-plan for Phangiso


Phangiso was one of 15 players recently sent to India for a spin bowling course where his thought process when bowling was scrutinised even more than his technique.

“The one thing I picked up speaking to (Kulkarni), is that he was willing to give away runs to actually get wickets - even in limited overs cricket.”Kulkarni may not be as well known as Anil Kumble or Harbhajan Singh, but his effectiveness as a spinner is underscored by a first class career that totalled 101 matches in which he picked up 357 wickets.

He played three Tests, the last of those against Australia in 2001.Central to Phangiso’s effectiveness throughout his career has been the ability to keep it tight - a policy that’s part of a broader theme for South African spinners - but one not to be found in India.”A lot of times we look to be defensive, but the Indian mentality is to attack, they look to get wickets.

”Kulkarni had a question for Phangiso that has stuck with the 32 year old left-arm spinner. “‘Would you take 10 overs for 23 runs and one wicket’ or ‘would you take 10 overs, 60 runs but take three wickets?’

Of course I will take 10 overs for 23 runs,” Phangiso replied.”(Kulkarni) said no, he’d rather take the wickets, because every time he takes a wicket, it allows the guy bowling at the other end to bowl well too. He’s more attack oriented, he’s thinking wickets.

”Phangiso’s not sure how this new philosophy will be applied when South Africa play in the One-Day Tri-series against the West Indies and Australia around the Caribbean starting next week.

“I’ll have to talk to AB (de Villiers) about game plans, I can’t just all of a sudden change my style of bowling. But there is a way of slowly bringing that into my game I think.

”I’ve been a defensive spinner throughout my career, I’ve always kept it tight, and got the wickets through building pressure. But now maybe I’ll look to attack a bit more, with fielders in attacking positions.

”Last season was by no means easy for Phangiso. From a drunken escapade on a flight back from India, to pretending to sniff cocaine off his hand that was caught by television cameras and being cited for ‘chucking,’ it was as Phangiso described a “tough” period for him.

”It was four months of newspapers with ‘Phangi this’ and ‘Phangi that,’ but ya man, I’ve got a strong family, support-wise my family are very Christian people and that helped a lot.

”There are a lot of lessons to be learned from those kinds of things. A lot of times the public gets a story that is not 100 percent, but the fact that the story is out there means people starting thinking other stuff about you.

”Obviously he wants to the public to be more focused on his bowling, and that means playing regularly, something he’s hoping to do in the West Indies.

”I’m just hoping for a bit of consistency in terms of playing time.”

”The fact that Russell (Domingo) and the selectors chose three spinners, means there’s a chance that two spinners, will always play. It’s hard to play with someone like Imran (Tahir) because he’s so good, he does so well.

For me to get a chance - on other tours - was hard, because he was performing very well and we almost always went with that mentality of using just one spinner, and backing the seamers more.

”I think on this tour it’s going to be different… hopefully I can put in some good performances like I’ve done for the Lions and the last time I played for the country.

”Phangiso claimed the Man of the Match Award for his 2/26 against Sri Lanka in Delhi in a ‘dead-rubber’ in the World T20 tournament in March.Phangiso is keen to get some game time under his belt in the warm-up match against a West Indies President’s XI in Port-of-Spain on Sunday.

South Africa then head to Guyana ahead of the opening match against the hosts on Friday.

The Star

Aaron Phangiso wants to be a wicket taker rather than just a defensive spinner, writes Start Hess.

Original source: Attack the new game-plan for Phangiso