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Ken Borland

Markram rumours wide of the mark, but 4 other Titans will leave 0

Posted on March 14, 2016 by Ken


The rumours that junior world cup winning captain Aiden Markram could be lost to South African cricket are wide of the mark with the 21-year-old confirming on Tuesday that he has signed a contract with the Titans, who will, however, be losing four of their talented youngsters ahead of next season.

Markram will be spending the off-season playing for Walkden in the Bolton League, but the promising top-order batsman will be back in time for what is already shaping up as a massive summer for him. Especially since Theunis de Bruyn and Graeme van Buuren, two of his team-mates in the all-conquering Tuks side, are moving on to fresh pastures. Corbin Bosch, the opening bowler for Markram’s triumphant SA U19 team, has already relocated to Australia, having failed to break into the Titans team this season.

The Titans have also lost out on the services of wicketkeeper/batsman Mangaliso Mosehle, who is moving to the Highveld Lions next season.

Van Buuren has earned a two-year contract with Gloucestershire and, because his wife Hannah, the former Tuks conditioning coach, was born in London and has a British passport, he will try to qualify for England.

De Bruyn, one of the brightest batting talents in the country, will be moving to the Knights for the 2016/17 season, opening the way for Markram to play more regular franchise cricket, having made just two Momentum One-Day Cup appearances this season.

“I’m looking forward to spending the off-season in different conditions and growing my game, but I’m happy with where I am in my career. Any opportunity I get for the Titans I’m just going to try and take, but at the moment I’m really focusing on my preparation. At school, there might be four or five good players in the opposition, but in senior cricket there’s a lot more good players, so it takes time to work out how to play at that level. But the more cricket you play, the faster you learn,” Markram told The Citizen on Tuesday.

Van Buuren has been a highly-valued performer for the Titans, averaging 45 in the Momentum One-Day Cup and 30 in the RamSlam T20 Challenge, as well as bowling economical left-arm spin, but with doors opening up for him in county cricket, it was only natural that he would seize the opportunity.

“I’m not going with any regrets, I’m not at all complaining about anything, I owe the Titans for everything I’ve achieved, having played for them since Northerns U7s 18 years ago. So I’m very thankful to them, but this is a great opportunity in terms of my career as a professional cricketer and not a lot of players have this chance.

“I’m excited for something new, an unbelievable opportunity and a new chapter. Obviously I want to play international cricket, that’s the main reason for playing because you always want to push yourself to be the best. I’ll qualify for England when I’m 29 and until then I’ll just let things take their course,” Van Buuren told The Citizen.

Porteous keeps the confidence but loses the arrogance … and wins 0

Posted on January 18, 2016 by Ken


Haydn Porteous said his mother Belinda always told him to sound confident but not be arrogant, and the 21-year-old heeded her advice both on and off the course, leading to a life-changing victory in the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Sunday.

Porteous claimed his maiden European Tour victory as he shot a rock-solid 69 on the final day to beat Zander Lombard, also a former South African amateur star, by two strokes. The measure of how well he played was that he hit all 18 greens in regulation, an astonishing achievement, but a cold putter made life difficult for Porteous as he only collected three birdies.

Coming a week after Brandon Stone’s triumph at the South African Open, Porteous’s victory just reinforced the feeling that the new generation of local golf stars has arrived.

But the Johannesburg-born golfer acknowledged that Stone’s win had also been the catalyst for him to take a good look at how he was approaching his golf.

“My mother always says that I must sound confident but not be arrogant, and there is a hint of arrogance in me. I needed to get into the right frame of mind, I knew I could practise more and gym harder. If you know you’re doing the right things, then your confidence increases.

“Brandon’s win gave me a big kick in the arse, he’s been doing all the right things, while I was not. It was very motivational and inspirational to see him win and I knew I couldn’t carry on the way I was. I definitely played more conservatively this week and I had a good game plan, just aiming for the middle of the green all the time,” Porteous said.

While golfers of lesser composure would have been tearing their hair out after all those missed putts, Stone and Lombard’s 2012 Eisenhower Trophy team-mate remained philosophical.

“I hit the ball incredibly all day, I missed a few fairways but not by much, and I really found my groove with my irons, especially on the back nine where I really flushed them. But every day is different and I putted well in the third round. Maybe I didn’t see the lines today, maybe I was reading too much into them, but 69 is not a terrible score,” Porteous said.

Lombard had a two-shot lead after six holes after two birdies, but a frustrating three-putt on the ninth and two further bogeys on the 11th and 14th holes saw him slip back. In the end, he had to birdie the last to sneak into second on 16-under and qualify, alongside Porteous, for the Open Championship, by a hair’s breadth, the day before he turns 21.

Englishman Anthony Wall claimed the third qualifying spot for the Open by virtue of his superior world ranking, after a frustrating level-par 72 left him in third place on 15-under tied with Sweden’s Bjorn Akesson, South African Justin Walters and Daniel Im of America.


Amla has had captaincy success before & balance of team in his favour too … 0

Posted on June 03, 2014 by Ken

Hashim Amla should have more to celebrate than just tons of runs

Hashim Amla has had one season of captaincy for the Dolphins nearly 10 years ago as a 21-year-old but is now set to be handed the reins of South Africa’s Test team as CSA’s board meet today in Sandton to decide the successor to Graeme Smith.

The fact that Amla had success in that solitary season in charge down in Durban, leading the Dolphins to a share of the 2004/5 SuperSport Series four-day title and the semi-finals of the 45-over Standard Bank Cup, will have little bearing on tomorrow’s decision, save for one important factor.

While Amla relinquished the captaincy after one season, and has been reluctant to lead ever since, the extra responsibility had no noticeable effect on his batting, as he averaged 54.38 in the four-day competition, scoring three centuries, including a superb 249 in the final against the Central Eagles, and went on to make his debut for South Africa that season.

Amla’s main rival for the Test captaincy is the early favourite, AB de Villiers, who has already led South Africa in 40 ODIs.

De Villiers has the advantage of added experience in the role, but if he does become Test captain, it could well force a change in the successful balance of the national team, with the wicketkeeping gloves likely to be taken away from him.

Former South African captain Shaun Pollock, who was Smith’s predecessor, admitted that it was a tough call between Amla and De Villiers.

“There’s no doubt Hashim is a very calm individual and I don’t think being captain will affect his batting too much, but it’s difficult to comment on his tactical awareness unless you’ve played under him. The advantage Hashim has is that he’s just a batsman and there’s not too much on his plate,” Pollock told The Pretoria News yesterday.

“AB has the experience, having led in ODIs already, and knows what the role entails. I’ve been impressed with some of his captaincy, he’s shown some flair and managed things well. But would he have to change his role and give up the gloves because there’s a lot on his plate?” Pollock added.

Faf du Plessis has also been mentioned as a candidate, but he is likely to be left to concentrate on cementing his place in the Test side as a specialist batsman.

Both Amla and De Villiers are going to be key batsmen as South Africa move into the post-Smith-and-Kallis era, and there’s no doubt both will be able to lead from the front and command the respect of their team-mates. Both are universally respected in the cricketing world and both enjoy a good relationship with the media, handling their PR duties with aplomb.

But the factors that are likely to tip the vote Amla’s way are the lesser disruption it would cause to the balance of the team and the strong transformation message it would send out on behalf of Cricket South Africa, who were recently accused of only paying lip-service to affirmative action by the sports minister.

The fact that Amla, a devout Muslim and the first Protea of Indian heritage, has been able to develop into such a key person in the national camp on and off the field suggests he will also be able to pull the different threads of the several cultures within the squad together into a strong unit.

The national selectors will also today announce the squads to tour Sri Lanka next month for three ODIs and two Tests and are likely to reel in Stiaan van Zyl and one of two off-spinners Dane Piedt or Simon Harmer, as new caps for the five-day games. The other off-spinner is still likely to travel to Sri Lanka as a net bowler to gain experience of sub-continental conditions.

Whoever the Test captain is will be mindful of South Africa’s previous tour to Sri Lanka in 2006 where Ashwell Prince wound up losing 2-0 and never captained the Proteas again.

Probable Test squad: Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Quinton de Kock, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell/Beuran Hendricks.

Probable ODI squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Wayne Parnell, Beuran Hendricks, Ryan McLaren, Simon Harmer.



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