Cape Town - Vernon
Philander says the first Test match against India starting at Newlands on Friday will 'set the tone' ahead of a busy summer of
cricket for the Proteas Test squad.
The Proteas will follow the three-match Freedom
Series against the No 1 ranked India with a four-match contest against
Australia, which sets up one of the most challenging home season's for
the Test squad.
all-rounder says he is relishing the prospect of making a return to his
home ground after the latter part of his 2017 season was curtailed by
READ: 'Big Vern' at No 7 for Proteas?
"I think it is a spectacular event every year to be down in Cape Town,"
he said at Newlands on Wednesday.
"There are a lot of holiday-makers
down here celebrating
the festive season. To have a fully packed Newlands crowd, it doesn't
get better than that. Hopefully this one will be sold out, if not close
to it. It will be a spectacular event, hopefully the cricket will keep
the stakes up and set the tone for the rest
of the summer.
"It is a big summer ahead, there is a lot of Test match cricket to be
played," he added.
"The guys will need to top up on their rehab and
fitness work that needs
to be done. If we can do that most of us will stay injury free but
unfortunately injuries are part of the game, some of those things you
can't account for. We have to control the things that we can and
hopefully we will have a Test summer with few injuries."
has played in all but one New Year's Test match at Newlands since his
debut in 2011, only missing out against England in 2016 due to injury.
He returns to
a happy hunting ground, where he is bolstered by an exceptional bowling
record of 38 wickets in seven matches with an impressive average of 18.
"For me it is about being the best that I can possibly be," he said of
his goals for the season.
"I want to contribute in every way that I
can, be it taking wickets,
scoring runs or getting the team across the line. For me it is about
fitting in with what the team needs from me on a regular basis."
READ: Philander: Proteas not playing against 'names'
says the squad is managing their expectations around the green-tinged
pitch two days out of the match, and insists there are many factors that
can play a role on
how it behaves on Friday morning.
"There is a little bit of grass," he said of the pitch. "Today and
tomorrow will be hot so by the time the Test match starts it will be a
little bit drier. The wicket
changes quite quickly here, it also depends on the type of wind that
blows here. By Friday morning it could be a different looking pitch."
Play starts at 10:30 on Friday.