Free State cricket franchise, VKB Knights, have congratulated the team’s fast bowler, Duanne Olivier, on a memorable return to the Proteas fold that saw him voted the Man of the Series at the conclusion of the three-match South Africa versus Pakistan Test series.
Olivier finished the Test series as the leading wicket-taker having claimed a record 24 scalps which included 1 six wicket haul, 2 five wicket hauls and 1 four wicket haul, shattering legendary fast bowler, Dale Steyn’s record of 20 against Pakistan.
Knights Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Johan van Heerden, expressed pride at the fast bowler’s exploits with the ball.
“We are exceptionally proud of Duanne on achieving this record. We identified Duanne five years ago as a Matriculant playing for Northerns Under 19 at the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week. We saw the raw talent and we knew we could work with it,” said Johan. “We approached Mr Paul Harris from Rand Mutual Bank for sponsorship for the High- Performance bowling unit in South Africa to which he agreed.”
In 2012, the Ewie & Hansie Cronje Fast Bowlers Project was launched with the objective of enrolling three swing bowlers in a 3-year controlled environment program to maximize their performance to bowl above 140km per hour, and to obtain an academic qualification during this period.
“Duanne Olivier was identified as one of the three seamers and has exceptionally outdone himself in the first principle of the project. He will also obtain his BA degree in two years’ time. I can now, with all sincerity, say the project was a huge success,” concluded the CEO.
Olivier was roped into the Proteas team as cover for an injured Vernon Philander in the first Test. So good was the Knights’ pace bowler that, when Philander regained fitness, the selectors decided to adopt a four-seam attack for the second and third Tests, dropping spinner, Keshav Maharaj, in the process.
Olivier’s star is too bright to ignore as he and Markram have been added to the Proteas squad that will face Pakistan in the ODIs from January 19. Quinton de Knock and Dale Steyn have been rested for the opening two ODIs.
Meanwhile, Olivier’s exploits with the ball have seen him rise to 24th on the ICC World bowling rankings, his highest ever position. Batsmen Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram also moved in the positive direction on the world rankings.