Cricket

'Enforcer' Duanne Olivier given licence to destroy for Proteas

06 January 2019 - 00:00 By LIAM DEL CARME


Duanne Olivier's rise in the series against Pakistan can in a large part be attributed to him being cast in a role that fits him like a glove. An iron one at that.
His newly acquired licence to kill and his wicket-taking spike is no coincidence, argues Vinnie Barnes, Cricket South Africa's high performance manager.
"I think the role they've identified for him is almost perfect for him," said Barnes. "Don't worry about having beautiful shape and stuff like that. He can do that anyway. His role now, as Faf (du Plessis) calls him, is the enforcer."
That he certainly has become. Olivier has terrorised the Pakistan top order in this series, returning career-best match figures of 11/96 in the first Test in Centurion.
In the second Test at Newlands he continued to keep them on their toes, bagging 4/48 in the Pakistan first innings.
Coming into the Newlands Test he averaged a shade over 17 per wicket.
"You basically bowl two lengths, similar to what Neil Wagner does for New Zealand. He just runs up and he bowls short or he bowls full," said Barnes.
"You can't do that throughout the game, you'll kill yourself. While there is that type of bounce and pace in the wicket it is perfect for him."
Not that Olivier, who took the most wickets in the Mzansi Super League, is a one-trick pony.
"He is going to be bowling in different parts of the world where there isn't pace and bounce. He has the ability to adjust and bowl fuller into good areas. I just like what they are doing with him at the moment.
"He shapes the new ball. His game isn't just about running in and banging it in. He's got the skill. He swings the ball. We haven't seen it because he hasn't needed it.
"He's always had pace. His action is a little awkward. He reminds me a little of Pat Cummins when you look at his posture but they run in and they can bowl quick.
"I've always enjoyed working with him and having him in the teams that I have coached," said Barnes, who was quick to add that Olivier's newish devotion to Manchester United hardly sits well with his lifelong allegiance to Manchester City.
Barnes, himself a former tearaway fast bowler of some repute, is most impressed by Olivier's approach to the game.
"He's got unbelievable attitude. He just gets stuck in. There's no baggage. I spoke to his coach at the Knights about his bowling loads and whether he is bowling too much. But that is what he wants to do.
"Fortunately, he has stayed injury-free for a long time and hopefully that will continue. He has been on a couple of A-tours with us as well. When you get into the A-side we have to rotate - he doesn't get the game time that he should but he's been around."
Although Olivier is the man of the moment his place in the side is far from secure.
"We just have so many fantastic bowlers," said Barnes. "At some stage they are going to have to make a decision. (Lungi) Ngidi is still to come back and Keshav's (Maharaj) got to play at some point.
"Who sits out? Maybe he'll miss out here and there. He's played international cricket and he has performed and that will stand him in good stead."

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