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The birthday boys, Stuart Broad and Vernon Philander

Quite a coincidence,  two top class bowlers of England and South Africa share their birthday.  Both Stuart Broad ( 485 wkts in 138 tests) and Vernon Philander ( 224 wkts in 64 tests) had been world class performers this last decade and are extremely lethal in favourable seaming and swinging conditions.

Stuart Broad , had a worst possible start to his career being taken apart by Yuvraj Singh’s 6 sixes in World cup T20 2007. However ,with his tall frame and decent pace and bounce ,he soon turned it around and rapidly became a class bowler who could take wickets in most conditions but most lethal in England and South Africa. His 8/15 ,skittling out Aussies for 60  in 2015 Ashes remains the high point of his bowling career. A swashbuckling lower order batsman, he was initially shaping up as a genuine test allrounder , till his batting started to go downhill as he scaled new bowling heights. He has a brutal test 100 vs India (169). Just currently 15 short of 500 test wickets , Broad’s status as an England bowling great is more than secure.

Vernon Philander on the contrary , had a rousing start to his test career getting 5 wicket hauls in each of his first 3 tests. He was man of the series in his maiden test series vs Australia and continued his high bowling strike rate in his entire career . 224 wickets in 64 tests at 22 average and a mindboggling 44 strike rate speaks volumes of his accuracy and lethal movement in favourable seaming conditions.  He was much slower in speed than his other bowling teammates but more than made up with his ability to strangle the batsmen to desperation with probing length and played with their patience. He is very difficult to handle if he gets into his groove. However he used to struggle in drier subcontinental conditions and hence not a master of all conditions.  A very useful lower order batsman who scored 1779 runs at 24 average, he played many crucial knocks in lower order . Nicknamed the ‘ surgeon ‘ for his surgical precision in bowling the uncomfortable length to the batsmen relentlessly.

 

We wish both the legends , a happy birthday.

 

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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