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Ken Borland


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Proteas end high up in rankings but hardly inspired in 2017 0

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Ken

 

South Africa ended last year ranked second in Tests and first in one-day internationals in the International Cricket Council rankings, but they were hardly inspired in 2017.

In fact, the Proteas were more like the bully in the schoolyard, bolstering their self-esteem, and rankings, by picking on easy-beats like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at home. But when they were up against the big boys, most notably in the Champions Trophy and in the four-Test series in England, they folded in a heap.

Although they won in New Zealand, the ODIs were tightly-contested and they had good fortune in the Tests, rain washing out the final game when the Black Caps were in an excellent position to level the series.

In terms of individual performances, Hashim Amla and Kagiso Rabada continued to deliver world-class performances on a consistent basis, with the batting of AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis helping to make the ODI batting unit a dominant force.

Imran Tahir was their best white-ball bowler but it was the Test spinner, Keshav Maharaj, who perhaps made the greatest strides in 2017 and, at the age of 27, he is clearly a future star for the Proteas.

The arrival of Aiden Markram as a technically solid opening partner for Dean Elgar, who was the mainstay of the Test batting with 1128 runs, behind only India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Aussie maestro Steve Smith in the year’s tally, helped bolster a batting line-up that was exposed in England, especially during De Villiers’ hiatus from Test cricket.

Markram will obviously face far sterner challenges than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2018, but he couldn’t have been expected to do much better than 380 runs in his first four innings, including two centuries.

But that there were more question marks than answers over the Proteas’ performance was borne out by the departure of Russell Domingo as coach before the start of the summer and the arrival of former West Indies head coach and England assistant Ottis Gibson.

After a gentle introduction into the job, his charges feasting on minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, Gibson faces his first real test in the new year as world number ones India arrive.

He will need to keep De Villiers available for Tests just to settle the batting line-up, while the bowlers are certainly there to challenge for the number one ranking, the only problem being keeping them fit and getting the right balance in selection due to the transformation targets.

Most importantly, Gibson will be focused on the creation of a steely edge in the team, and has already created expectation for the 2019 World Cup by declaring that winning that elusive trophy is his goal.

When put under proper pressure by the likes of England, and by Pakistan and India in the Champions Trophy, the old signs of muddled thinking and near-panic were once again there. Gibson will want to make the Proteas a side that plays the big moments well and seizes every opportunity that comes their way.

The South African women’s team provided some of the highlights of the year and captured the imagination of cricket fans back home by narrowly missing out on a place in the Women’s World Cup final, hosts and eventual champions England just sneaking through in a pulsating semi-final.

Players such as Marizanne Kapp, the number one ODI bowler in the world, and Dane van Niekerk became global stars.

 

CSA board ignore their own dire mismanagement to take on players 0

Posted on January 07, 2018 by Ken

 

Despite their dire mismanagement of the postponed T20 Global League, Cricket South Africa (CSA) look set to take on the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca) in the new year in a bid to weaken what they perceive as the players’ undue influence on the game in this country.

Speaking with CSA president Chris Nenzani alongside him, acting CEO Thabang Moroe said on Wednesday that CSA would be pushing towards plans to dictate to the Proteas what franchise they should play for and to renegotiate the revenue-sharing deal which has been in place with the players for several years.

Given the level of uncertainty surrounding the majority of players in South Africa, and the numerous lucrative offers they are tempted with from overseas, any aggressive moves by CSA are likely to antagonise their most valuable assets and chase them away to greener pastures.

“The Proteas need to be allocated to franchise teams or there could even be a draft system. We want all our Proteas to participate domestically. We were very happy with the RamSlam T20 Challenge, but it could have been even better if all the Proteas were playing at once in different teams.

“Change is definitely needed and it’s unfair on those unions that work so hard to develop players and then lose them, what are these franchises doing in their own provinces? We might not even consult Saca. The players are our employees and in the corporate world, when you are an employee, you just get an e-mail saying ‘this is the new direction, this is the way it’s going to go’.

“A trade union doesn’t have a say in our view of how our company should be run and how we engage with trade unions. There is no room for a union to intervene if CSA decide to go in a different direction. There is nothing to stop us from moving away from revenue-sharing. CSA makes the money for cricket in this country and not the players’ union,” Moroe said in Port Elizabeth.

When asked about how much money CSA had lost due to the postponement of the T20 Global League, Moroe could not resist another attack on the players.

“The money we spent on upgrading facilities has not been lost, the money we spent on buying the trophy has not been lost. The only money we’ve lost is what we paid to players for not even bowling a ball,” he said.

Moroe and Nenzani defended the board’s handling of former CEO Haroon Lorgat and his failed business plan for the T20 Global League, saying they had to resist the urges to interfere until it became absolutely necessary.

“We had management that had performed extremely well in the past and the board had complete trust in them. They drive the projects and the board does not want to interfere in daily operations, but we do get regular reports. We only became uncomfortable with the details in June/July,” Nenzani said.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1769502/1769502/

Disappointing in the context of finals, but joy for ruthlessly efficient Titans 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Ken

 

In the context of thrilling T20 finals it was a disappointment, but for the Titans it was the sheer joy of ruthlessly-efficient accomplishment as they strolled to a hat-trick of RamSlam T20 Challenge titles on Saturday night with a thumping seven-wicket win, with 53 balls to spare, over the Dolphins in Centurion.

Their victory was set up by a magnificent display in the field, Chris Morris leading the attack with four for 13, the best ever figures in a franchise T20 final, as the Dolphins were shot out for just 100, the lowest ever total in a final.

Against a batting line-up as powerful as the Titans, it was never going to be enough and the home side knocked off their target of 101 in just 11.1 overs, with Quinton de Kock leading the way with 39 off 27 balls and AB de Villiers blazing a cameo of 27 off 13 deliveries.

The Titans had won the toss and sent the Dolphins in to bat, and the visitors started well enough, the opening batsmen, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne van Wyk, both collecting a boundary in the opening over bowled by Albie Morkel.

Full report – https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-cricket-sport/1761380/magic-morris-finds-his-mojo-as-titans-win-3-in-a-row/

Time for the Cape Cobras to learn to ‘tai’ 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Ken

 

The Kalenjin tribe of Kenya’s Rift Valley are famous for their dominance of long-distance running, numerous world and Olympic champions having come from their population of about five million, a staggering statistical anomaly that has had sports scientists scrambling to study them.

While scientists have pointed to a complex interaction between genetic and socio-economic factors for their success, the Kalenjin runners are also famous for their stoicism and endurance. It is that combined with natural abilities, that makes them world-beaters. They use the word ‘tai’ as an exhortation to keep going forward and they certainly do just that.

Much of the work on the persevering, “no gain without pain” Kalenjin has been done at the University of Cape Town and perhaps the cricket fraternity based in the city that enjoys the best standard of living in the country needs to go and study up on key traits for sporting success like determination and not blaming your failures on your opposition.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge final takes place on Saturday in Centurion and some of the Cape Cobras management and media seem to believe that they are not there due to some incredible conspiracy that involves the Titans and the weather conspiring against them. Never mind the fact that the star-studded Cobras team did not win their first three games and then threw away a winning position in their last round-robin match, where victory would have seen them hosting the semi-final against the Dolphins that was washed out on Thursday evening in Durban.

As the 2019 World Cup nears and the mental fortitude of our players is once again put under the most ruthless of microscopes, it is alarming that many of our Proteas are playing in an environment where excuse-making, blaming others and even accusing other teams of matchfixing is encouraged.

The Titans, by topping the log by miles, earned the right to prepare for their semi-final in whatever manner they saw fit, and they decided to spare their leading players the exertions of travelling to Cape Town to play on Friday, then to Durban to play on Sunday and then returning to Centurion on Monday, leaving just one day to prepare for the knockout match.

Such are the rewards for performance and they should be praised for the high standards they have brought to the competition, not tainted by slanderous allegations in the Cape that they were involved in some sort of matchfixing.

Instead of trying to bring everyone down to their under-performing standards, the Cobras, who have a wealth of talent at their disposal, should rather be focused on bridging the gap between themselves and the Titans.

In keeping with the sore-losers image they are cultivating so well in Cape Town, some of their media were quick to jump all over the Titans for only fielding five players of colour in their semi-final win over the Warriors, due to Henry Davids mangling his knee shortly before the toss.

The word from Cricket South Africa is that there will be no action taken against the Titans because the move was cleared by the head of their transformation committee, Max Jordaan, beforehand. It was a common sense decision because four minutes before the toss is hardly the time to rush someone in from outside the squad, without a warm-up.

There was no complaint from the Warriors, either, but there will always be that element in the Western Cape that knows better, watching from their vantage point behind the Mountain.

It seems there will always be the haters in South African sport when a team enjoys prolonged success.

 

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20171216/282570198460108

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