Tours to our Southern African neighbours Zimbabwe seldom produce much of huge significance for the Proteas, but this year it was different because they managed to freeze out great rivals Australia in the final of a hard-fought triangular series. That can only mean the ODI outfit is heading in the right direction and Phangiso got stuck in in the final and was South Africa’s most economical bowler in the tournament.
“It was a very important confidence-booster for me because I hadn’t got a lot of opportunity before that, although I did travel a lot. To do well against Australia, to play a role in beating them in the final was superb,” Phangiso said at the Wanderers yesterday, where he was attending the breakfast announcement of Rolux as new suppliers for Cricket South Africa.
The Garankuwa-born, Soshanguve-raised cricketer has toured Australia twice before, with the SA Emerging Players and SA A teams, but on both occasions it was in winter. Conditions could well be tougher for a spinner at the height of summer.
“Australia is the country of pace bowling, but watching previous games there on TV, there’s always bounce, which will be important for me as a spinner if there’s not much turn. I will try and contain as much as possible and give the other bowlers the chance to take wickets,” Phangiso said.
The Highveld Lions star is looking forward to the possibility of bowling in tandem with his former team-mate Imran Tahir, the attacking leg-spinner.
“It will depend on conditions, but I would like to see us bowl in tandem, one of us can attack and the other contain. You never know who will take the wickets in that situation. I like to think we will all get lots of opportunity before the World Cup, some game time before the tournament in pressure situations,” Phangiso said.
If the 30-year-old can produce the goods again against two of the favourites to win the World Cup (playing on their home turf) then the confidence levels will rise even higher. Which is what Dale Steyn, the leader of the South African attack, said was probably the most important thing the team want to gain from the tour.