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Cricket | South Africa

Duanne Olivier © Gallo Images

‘Olivier similar to Donald and Lee’

An express fast bowler with predatory instincts makes batsmen forget life's mundane issues like bank overdrafts, relationship problems and mortgage bonds. Instead, they make them fear for their very lives.

Duanne Olivier, South Africa’s newest test debutant, is such a pace merchant, and two former South African bowlers have already compared some of his traits to those of Allan Donald and Brett Lee, which is high praise indeed.

Olivier (24) needs an introductory paragraph or two because not too many cricket fans know the extremely talented former South African under-19-bowler.

“He can bowl 147 kilometres per hour. What makes him so exciting is that Duanne can swing it both ways through the air,” said Donald, a former South African bowling coach and a legendary fast bowler who was affectionately known as White Lightning.

“KG Rabada and Duanne will complement each other well at test level.

“Where Kyle Abbott is a kiss-the-turf-bowler, Duanne hits the wicket very hard.

“I constantly remind him that he needs a fuller length at test cricket, especially at the Wanderers,” he added.

“Duanne is a very fit bowler. What I admire about him, is that he can come back for a third spell and still bowl at pace and take wickets. I remember Brett Lee bowling at 150 km/h at the end of the day, and Duanne is like that,” Donald said.

Robin Peterson, a former South African left-arm spinner and currently an astute TV-analyst, said Olivier’s stock and trade is his late swing away from the batsmen, but he could even get the odd one to swing back.

He is very relaxed off the field, but when he walks onto the turf, he is very aggressive and he makes the batsmen aware of his presence. He likes the bouncer. He is in your face.

“What I admire most about him, is that he can run in late in the day with the old ball and really bowl at express pace without losing much of the pace at which he started with the new ball.

“You notice a man’s character when he charges in on a dead surface. And I vividly saw that when we played at Kimberley and Bloemfontein recently on placid wickets.

“He made the (bizhub Highveld) Lions batsmen jump around on a flat surface (taking 6-93 in the second innings and taking the VKB Knights to the brink of a win),” said Peterson.

Werner Coetsee, a former VKB Knights captain, admires Olivier’s ability to swing the ball away through the air with a new-ball spell. The past season he also developed the ability to swing it back through the air.

“He is a very chilled off the field. When he gets onto the park, he can be very aggressive,” he said.

“Just remember he is very young. He is somebody who bowls at pace, but suddenly, his action just clicks that much more and he is truly operating at express pace.”

Olivier has captured 28 wickets in five Sunfoil Series-matches this season.

Arguably one of his greatest spells, was when he routed the defending champions, the Multiply Titans, for 57 in their second innings in the opening clash of the season.

Oliver took 3-30 to compliment Marchant de Lange’s seven-wicket haul, but his aggression unsettled the Titans and probably also contributed to De Lange’s success.

Johan van Heerden, chief executive of the Knights, remarked afterwards that he had never seen such sustained express pace and aggression during his long career as allrounder and later as administrator, as that session during which De Lange and Oliver caused havoc and panic in the opposition ranks.

Olivier operates at 147 km/h and KG has cranked it up at 150 km/h, which means that if you are a Sri Lankan batsman, is it advisable not to blink, and if you are a spectator, don’t miss the spells during which they operate in tandem at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in the third test.


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