Cricket International Test Series 2019/20 Day 3 South Africa V England Newlands Cricket Ground

Vernon Philander retires: His career by the numbers

Vernon Philander has officially retired from Test cricket and when looking at his numbers, it’s quite evident the Proteas will miss him.

Nicknamed the Ravensmead Wrecker, he leaves the game as one of the most outrageously skilled seam bowlers to ever play for South Africa.

It was a pretty grim exit for Philander. South Africa ended their four-match Test series against England with a whimper, losing by 191 runs at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday. He was also fined for an expletive-filled exchange with Jos Buttler.

He first announced that he would call time on his career before the series against England. While there was no fairytale ending for the seamer, he has had an incredible career. As the man himself once said: “stats don’t lie”.

The 34-year old is somewhat unique in the South African context in that he does not have the raw pace which so many of the country’s great bowlers are known for.

Instead, he operated with accuracy and relied on skilful and canny bowling to fox opponents.

Vernon Philander: Average at its best

One of Philander’s most notable stats is his Test bowling average, an eye-watering 22.32.

Since he made his debut in 2011, no other Test bowler (minimum 150 wickets) has a better average.

Vernon Philander: Average and strike rates for bowlers since his debut
Vernon Philander: Average and strike rates for bowlers since his debut

Three bowlers took more wickets than him in that period – James Anderson, Ravi Aswhin and Rangana Herath. Philander played just 64 Tests in that time period compared to Anderson’s 88 and Herath’s and Ashwin 69. Herath played 61 Tests.

Vernon Philander: Bowlers with most wickets since his debut.
Vernon Philander: Bowlers with most wickets since his debut.

On the list of all-time best averages (minimum 200 wickets), Philander holds his own and is one of just two South Africans in the top ten. Allan Donald is the other.

Vernon Philander: Career By The Numbers - all-time best averages
Vernon Philander: Career By The Numbers – all-time best averages

He ends his career as South Africa’s seventh-highest wicket-taker, behind Dale Steyn, Shaul Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Allan Donald, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis.