Olivier: It felt like 20 million people were watching

2017-01-16 12:01
Duanne Olivier (Gallo)

Johannesburg - There is one glaringly obvious difference between Test cricket and first-class cricket in South Africa. 

And, for a young debutant, that difference can be a lot to take in at first.

"If I play four day cricket, there is no-one watching. Here, it feels like there are 20 million people watching," Proteas debutant Duanne Olivier told media on Saturday after South Africa had taken 16 wickets in the day's play to secure an innings and 118-run win over Sri Lanka to claim a 3-0 series triumph.

There were a little of 13 000 people at Wanderers on Saturday, but the 24-year-old can be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed, especially given that his first participation in the match was to come in at No 5 as a nightwatchman on day 1.

"They asked me if I wanted to do it, and I decided 'why not'? It was an opportunity," Olivier said.

"I was nervous going out there, batting with a guy like Hashim (Amla). So it was an unbelievable experience for me. 

"My hands were sweating."

Olivier had bowled six overs without reward on Friday, but he picked up a few on Saturday to leave with impressive match figures of 5/57.

"It's intense, it's crazy. You need to concentrate, you need to be on the ball, you cant wander off ... watching at the screen to see what happens," he continued.

"It is exciting, it's also challenging. The level is much different. You cant compare. At the end, their 8, 9 and 10 can bat. That doesn’t mean our franchise players can't, but you feel like you have a chance with those franchise players."

Olivier can crank it up to bowl at over 140 km/h and he is a bowler that runs in hard.

With his shirt untucked - he has to have it that way - he doesn't have the smoothest of actions. He starts from out wide, and almost loops around towards the wicket, coming in at an angle before getting it down at a good pace.

He doesn't have the control of Vernon Philander, nor the pace of Kagiso Rabada, but initial signs are that he does possess both of those things.  

Captain Faf du Plessis has made a point of making young newcomers feel immediately at home in this Proteas set-up. Gone are the days of the newbies running chores for their senior team-mates.

"At first, everything happened quickly," Olivier continued.

"I was up and down. Everyone welcomed me and it felt like I was part of the family.

"I am very new to everything. Not used to doing this (press conference) at all. It is fun ... a memory I will treasure forever."

It was rare for the Proteas to field four seamers in a Test match, and that is unlikely to happen again for a while. 

With Wayne Parnell (6/89) rightfully ahead of Olivier in the pecking order, and with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel eyeing returns to the set-up, Olivier could have a battle on his hands. 

Kyle Abbott, after all, took 9 wickets on his Test debut and would have to wait longer than a year to get another crack. 

Olivier, the leading wicket-taker in the Sunfoil Series this season, knows that he may have to be patient. 

"I know they (Steyn and Morkel) are coming back," said Olivier.

"If i get the opportunity to play again, of course I want to play. Who doesn’t want to play for the country?

"But I do also understand they have been performing well for the last 10 years so I cant expect that I must play.

"I will get my opportunity and I will wait for it, whenever it comes, as long as I can contribute to the team now."

Olivier is 24-years-old. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  duanne olivier  |  johannesburg  |  cricket

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