Captain Faf du Plessis praised fast bowler Anrich Nortje and bade farewell to all-rounder Vernon Philander, after South Africa slipped to a three-one Test series defeat to England on Monday.
The Proteas beat England in the first Test in Centurion. They lost the next three, though, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
Despite the string of losses, the hosts had the leading wicket-taker and top-run scorer of the series. Fast bowler Anrich Nortje took 18 wickets and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock struck 380 runs.
De Kock and du Plessis will play in the Indian Premier League later this year. The former will play for the Mumbai Indians and the latter the Chennai Super Kings. Bet65 have Mumbai and Chennai priced at 5.00 and 6.00, respectively, to win the 2020 IPL.
What Faf said
“We did play well in that first Test. Right through the series, England were a little bit better than us in every compartment – consistent with the ball, and putting big runs on the board with the bat,” said du Plessis.
“Anrich came through shining for us in this series. We need pace in SA, to fill the shoes of Morkel and Steyn. He's landed the ball in the same area, so he's got pace and control.”
The Test in Johannesburg was Philander's last. He has retired from international cricket – and will join Somerset on a Kolpak contract in English county cricket later this year.
Farewell to Philander
“Thanks to Vernon for his services to the Proteas. I'm also very sad that this game wasn't the fairytale ending that he deserves. We'd like to sit in the dressing room and cherish this moment, and celebrate his career for South Africa. Ten-plus years away from family, that's a lot of time away and a lot of dedication for South African cricket,” added du Plessis.
The veteran Philander is South Africa's seven-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Only the retired Dale Steyn, Shaun Pollock, Morne Morkel, Jacques Kallis, Allan Donald and Makhaya Ntini.
“That's not the way I wanted to end it. It's all in the hands of the man above. The English have played excellent cricket in the month that just went by. We fight hard on the park, but we remain gentlemen, and to my guys, thanks for making it such a privilege for me to play for South Africa,” said Philander.