Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
3 minute read
22 Jul 2022
3:12 pm

England Test series look ahead: Duanne Olivier relinquishes enforcer role

Ken Borland

'It’s important not to complicate things, it depends on the situation whether you can be more aggressive or must be defensive.'

Duanne Olivier bowls in the Proteas' previous Test match, against Bangladesh at St George's Park. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Duanne Olivier was a member of the South African Test squad on their previous tour of England in 2017, but he had just one Test under his belt then and is obviously a very different bowler to the rookie who played in two of the matches as the Proteas were beaten 3-1.

Having enjoyed match figures of 5/57 on debut against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers in January of that year, Olivier arrived in England in the role of enforcer; pace and bounce being his key weapons.

He played in the second Test, when South Africa levelled the series with an imposing 340-run win at Trent Bridge, and then in the last Test at Old Trafford, which the hosts won by 177 runs.

Olivier took seven wickets in the series at an average of 27.57.

Also read: Proteas skipper sidelined from UK tour with elbow injury

“The way I played in 2017 will be completely different to now,” Olivier told The Citizen. “England play swing quite well and you need to get the ball to nibble around over there.

“That’s what I worked on in my three years of county cricket. But there are times when you can’t do that because the pitches and conditions play a massive role in England.

“It’s important not to complicate things, it depends on the situation whether you can be more aggressive or must be defensive. Maybe my job is to get the run-rate down.

“The important thing is to bowl in partnerships, put pressure on the batsmen. But you have to graft to get wickets. You get pitches where you have to just sit in and build pressure,” Olivier said.

‘Try and hit length’

The previous incarnation of the Groblersdal-born paceman seldom drew the batsman forward, he preferred to bombard them, pushing them back and only using the fuller ball if he hadn’t yet found a glove or an edge. Olivier, who turned 30 in May, knows he has to have a more rounded strategy in England.

“At times you can be aggressive with short-pitched bowling, but you aim to be fuller, especially early on with the newer ball,” Olivier said. “I don’t mind the batsmen coming at me, I will just try and hit my length and stay there.

Also read: Fast bower Sipamla, the consistent relay man, will own his channel

“You have to stay within your game-plan and some days it goes for you, some days it doesn’t. We have to be patient, England play a risky game and if they lose two or three wickets early on then everything changes.

“Things happen quickly in Test cricket, and when you have that momentum, it’s about riding the wave, being ruthless when you’re on top. As bowlers, we also want to throw the first punch.

“We believe in our game-plan and we will stick to that, what we believe in, the simple things. Small things can make a big difference in the end and we know we have a world-class bowling unit,” Olivier said.

The Test series starts 17 August.