You could forgive Mat Pillans for feeling a little nervous about Duanne Olivier’s impending arrival into the Yorkshire squad. After all, in a previous encounter in South African domestic cricket, Pillans broke Olivier’s toe!
The two big fast bowlers have played against each other quite a bit, both during their school days in Pretoria and also in state and franchise cricket.
They both have a need for speed when it comes to fast bowling, with Pillans stressing that one of his main goals is to consistently hit the 90mph mark.
Well, he may just want to watch his step – pardon the pun – when Olivier is bowling in the nets over the next few months following a previous clash between Pillans’ KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Free State at Bloemfontein.
“One of scariest overs I’ve faced was against him,” explained Pillans.
“It was kind of up at my throat, and I thought he’d be expecting that when he faced me, so I chucked in the yorker and broke his toe.
“I hope there’s no hard feelings!”
In seriousness, Pillans can’t wait to welcome his compatriot into White Rose ranks, firstly in Potchefstroom over the next few days and then at Emerald Headingley later this month.
“It will be good to see him again,” said the former Surrey man.
“Duanne’s been bowling really well and has scared a couple of people.
“He’s at international level and has what it takes to do that for Yorkshire.
“It will be good to learn from someone like that and take some advice, to chat between each other and see what I can work on to get a bit extra from myself.”
2019 will mark Pillans’ first full campaign in a Yorkshire shirt having moved from Surrey during the latter stages of last summer. He debuted in a Championship draw against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
This winter has been a busy one, both personally and professionally.
He married his now wife Cara in Durban in October and has also moved to Ilkley: “I’m loving it up North,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of walks.
“London has got the busy hustle and bustle, so moving to where I’m at is more relaxed. I’ve settled in really well.
“From a cricketing point of view, the guys have been so welcoming, and it’s made it that much smoother. It’s made me feel at home.
“I decided to come and meet the blokes during the final month (of last season). I didn’t want to be the new face when pre-season came about. That was great.
“I’ve been working on things like swing and seam with my bowling to try and get that right, and it’s come on really well with Rich Pyrah.
“One of the bigger goals is pace.
“I want to be up there at the 90mph mark consistently. It all feels good at the moment.”
Pillans is currently in Potch as Yorkshire’s preparations for the summer ramp up. They face Cardiff MCC Universities in a 50-over game at the Senwes Park international ground tomorrow (Wednesday).
Like many of his team-mates, he is hoping to stake a claim for a place in the team to face Notts at Trent Bridge on April 5.
“I’m very excited,” he added.
“I think we’ve spent enough time indoors, and it’s time to get going now.
“There’s a lot of talent in the dressing room, so at the moment it’s just about pushing to see if I can get a place in the squad for Notts. We’ll see.”