Proteas

Introducing 'Tokka', the man who can become Vernon Philander's successor

Glenton Stuurman. (Gallo Images)
Glenton Stuurman. (Gallo Images)
  • Glenton Stuurman is one of only two players in this weekend's Solidarity Cup not to have had a taste of international cricket.
  • The 27-year-old Warriors seamer has become better with age, with coach Robin Peterson comparing him to Vernon Philander.
  • Peterson believes Stuurman's knowledge of his own craft makes him an ideal player to consider for higher honours.

Of the 24 players assembled for Cricket South Africa's Solidarity Cup, only two haven't had a taste of international cricket yet. One is Glenton Stuurman.

You can call him the odd man out (uncapped Sisanda Magala was at least in two Proteas squads last season), but the Warriors seamer's franchise coach, Robin Peterson, isn't surprised he's made the cut.

"He's an exceptional bowler," the former Proteas left-arm spinner told Sport24.

"In my view, Glenton has the makings of becoming a Test cricketer. You can ask most of my colleagues at other franchises and they'll tell you he's a bowler in the mould of Vernon Philander or Australia's Josh Hazlewood."

While the comparison with the stocky Philander, who took 224 Test wickets in 64 matches before retiring from international cricket last season, is a flattering one, Stuurman is a closer resemblance to the Aussie.

While the 27-year-old from Oudsthoorn - affectionately nicknamed 'Tokka' - isn't as tall, he's leaner and quicker than Philander.

"Glenton is a dangerous bowler because he can combine some really good pace with accuracy," said Peterson.

"It's become his strength because for the majority of his career he's had to bowl on wickets that don't offer a lot of assistance, especially on those dry days in the Karoo.

"He's learnt to bowl long spells and take wickets on flat surfaces. That's a very appropriate skill to cultivate for international cricket because those pitches invariably don't offer much assistance."

Stuurman made his debut as a 21-year-old for South Western Districts back in 2013, but took a while to make his mark in the semi-professional arena.

Thirty-nine first-class wickets in 2016/17 saw him gain a foothold, though it required a move to Port Elizabeth in mid-2018 to really put himself on the map.

SWD might be known for its compact and competent administration, but the region still inherently lacks the resources to keep their top players in the dusty Western Cape town known for its ostriches.

Surrounded by Eastern Province's band of consistently successful semi-pro stalwarts, Stuurman flourished and scalped an eye-catching 39 victims at just 14.10.

It was the type of haul that was simply too good to ignore.

"To be really honest, I thought he was our best bowler last season. We're very relieved to have kept him for next season, but I'm not really sure how long we're going to hold onto him," said Peterson, who added that it would be unfair to judge him on one experimental, 36-over match.

"One thing he's really focused on the past few years is his fitness. I think he lacked a bit of proper guidance when it came to his conditioning early on in his career. But he's been in good nick for some time now and I wouldn't even be surprised if he can crack a nod in white ball cricket too."

Stuurman turns 28 next month, the type of age that leaves some sections of the local cricketing fraternity unsure about his suitability as a long-term option.

However, his trajectory undeniably suggests the South Africa 'A' seamer is one of those players who improves with age.

"His age really shouldn't be a barrier," said Peterson.

"In fact, (national coach) Mark Boucher told us previously that age wouldn't be held against any player if he continues to perform well in franchise cricket.

"The bonus with Glenton for any coach is that he's approached his prime, especially in terms of his knowledge of his craft and the game in general. He's intelligent and has really impressed me with how he thinks. He doesn't shy away from hard work and is always prepared for a serious chat about his game.

"That's surely what any national coach wants from his prospects: An understanding of their own game and what's going on around them." 

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