Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Duanne Olivier signs for first half of summer
There is much to like in a fast medium bowler who has nearly 300 first-class wickets at just 22, as well as 17 at a similar average in a fledgling Test career. He isn't especially fast, perhaps of similar pace to Vernon Philander, and his run up is not really a thing of beauty, more arms and legs than aesthetics. But when he gets the ball down the other end it is usually nipping around and making the batsman play. For me, functional wins every time
He has lost a little ground in the South African pace stakes and perhaps sits around six or seven in the rankings of their seamers, assuming all are fit. Yet he is a very fine bowler and, unlike players like Morkel, Steyn and Philander, has time on his side, at 25, to get better.
Having been told by Barnett that our two overseas targets were bowlers who could bat, I think it threw a lot of us, me included off the scent of Olivier. I suppose my one concern in what could prove a very astute signing is that none of the four I name above have any major pretension to batting. The first three all average around 13/14 with the bat, which will place greater onus on the batsmen and wicket-keeper to get some runs on the board. You could always argue, of course, that if the top seven don't do it, should there be any major expectation of the bottom four doing so?
On paper though, that is a proper attack. A Derbyshire attack, albeit largely fashioned in far-flung foreign fields.
If they all stay fit, you will have to work for your runs against us this summer.