The Olivier twist and World Cup dreams

At a time when South Africa is losing bowlers through the Kolpak deal with English counties, five-Test old Duanne Olivier is keen to cement his place in the national side despite a contract with Derbyshire. 

"The South African team is quite settled on the bowling front. When the season starts, I want to put in good performances and at the end of the day, it is up to the selectors," Olivier said about his chances to be picked for South Africa's senior side.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Coming from the Allan Donald school of fast bowling in Bloemfontein, Duanne Olivier possessed the pedigree to break into the international scene. When South Africa is losing speedsters like Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott through the Kolpak deal with English counties, the 26-year-old is dreaming of becoming a regular in the senior side despite a contract with Derbyshire.

Olivier has the height, pace and control needed to cause damage at the top level.  Currently in India, representing the Proteas A team against India A for the four-day games, the lanky pacer showed glimpses of his skill set when he took a six-for in the first innings of the second Test here on Saturday. 

“Like any other player, I want to play for the national side. For me, the key is to put in good performances. If the team does well, you feel good. It was quite a breakthrough season for me with the Knights back home. But it is an honour to play for your country. The step up is massive,” he told Sportstar.

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Olivier has five Test matches to flaunt in his resume, and he cherishes the time spent in the seniors’ dressing room with stars like Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada.

“There is a lot of knowledge-sharing that happens with the senior players. I get along quite well with Philander. KG is also there. I learnt quite a lot from the two of them. It is all about getting as much as I can to improve my bowling.

“The South African team is quite settled on the bowling front. When the season starts, I want to put in good performances and at the end of the day, it is up to the selectors,” he added.

Olivier has 17 wickets in red-ball cricket, but is yet to feature in a One Day International or a Twenty20 fixture.

“If possible, I want to play all formats for South Africa [keeping the World Cup in mind]. I haven’t played enough ODI cricket as yet. If I can get a good season back home, I may just get considered. It is an honour to play for the country and that’s my goal. I want to remain injury-free.”

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The pacer also does not mind an Indian Premier League contract to polish his credentials.

“It will be great if I can get an IPL gig. But for now, the focus is to do well in every tournament I play. If I am picked, it will be a bonus but the idea is to play good cricket throughout,” he said.

In First-Class cricket, Olivier has 333 wickets in 84 games at an average of 22.80.