for quality writing

Ken Borland

Abbott & Phangiso, victims of CSA’s transformation failures 0

Posted on May 31, 2016 by Ken


The tears and recriminations are flowing after yet another premature World Cup exit for South Africa’s cricketers, but spare a thought for Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso, who all have good reason to feel angry on top of the brutal disappointment they must be suffering after the semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Nobody selects himself to play for the Proteas, and while it was undeniably a poor decision to play Philander ahead of Abbott, the Cape Cobras man has been a wonderful bowler for South Africa, even if his ODI skills on flat pitches don’t match his Test brilliance, and he certainly deserves way better than to be scornfully dismissed as a “quota” selection.

There were so many good cricketing reasons to play Abbott – his superb form in the quarterfinal against Sri Lanka, the doubts over Philander’s fitness (made worse by Dale Steyn’s own niggles and the ridiculously arrogant decision to only play four frontline bowlers), and the fact that the strategy against Brendon McCullum and some of the other NZ batsmen revolved around digging the ball in short and targeting the ribcage, for which Abbott is suited and Philander, who bowls at a very hittable pace if there is no movement, is not.

There has been speculation that Abbott was left out in order to play another player of colour, with rumours coming from people close to the camp that the Dolphins fast bowler was extremely angry ahead of the semi-final.

Which begs the question – when will Cricket South Africa get transformation right?

For me, it is just as much of a disgrace that Phangiso did not play a single game at the World Cup as it is if Abbott was left out for political reasons.

Will young Black Africans believe CSA when they say the Proteas are for everyone or will they look at Phangiso’s treatment and say his selection in the squad was all just window-dressing of the worst kind?

Instead of bowing to political demands before a semi-final that will now leave fresh scars on the South African psyche, why did CSA not insist Phangiso play at least against the UAE?

South Africa have not bowled skilfully enough in limited-overs cricket for a while now and this is ultimately where the World Cup campaign was lost; the only good all-round bowling performance they produced was against Sri Lanka. And to think they thought going into a semi-final with just five bowlers was a wise move.

All AB de Villiers’ statements about the Proteas being “the best team in the tournament” now sounds like empty chest-beating, designed to cover their own doubts.

If Russell Domingo did not have any misgivings about his side, why did he say they could not play Phangiso against the UAE because it was vital they finish second in their pool? An SA A side should have no trouble beating the UAE!

Yes, the Proteas have given their all and played with tremendous courage in the semi-final. But they also seem to have had an over-inflated opinion of how good they were throughout the World Cup, only for the doubts that have so blighted them in previous tournaments to come back once that bubble was burst.

Phangiso confident he has important part to play 0

Posted on November 05, 2014 by Ken

Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso will be heading Down Under next week with the South African team confident that he now has an important part to play in their World Cup plans and that he can perform against the best in the world.

Tours to our Southern African neighbours Zimbabwe seldom produce much of huge significance for the Proteas, but this year it was different because they managed to freeze out great rivals Australia in the final of a hard-fought triangular series. That can only mean the ODI outfit is heading in the right direction and Phangiso got stuck in in the final and was South Africa’s most economical bowler in the tournament.

“It was a very important confidence-booster for me because I hadn’t got a lot of opportunity before that, although I did travel a lot. To do well against Australia, to play a role in beating them in the final was superb,” Phangiso said at the Wanderers yesterday, where he was attending the breakfast announcement of Rolux as new suppliers for Cricket South Africa.

The Garankuwa-born, Soshanguve-raised cricketer has toured Australia twice before, with the SA Emerging Players and SA A teams, but on both occasions it was in winter. Conditions could well be tougher for a spinner at the height of summer.

“Australia is the country of pace bowling, but watching previous games there on TV, there’s always bounce, which will be important for me as a spinner if there’s not much turn. I will try and contain as much as possible and give the other bowlers the chance to take wickets,” Phangiso said.

The Highveld Lions star is looking forward to the possibility of bowling in tandem with his former team-mate Imran Tahir, the attacking leg-spinner.

“It will depend on conditions, but I would like to see us bowl in tandem, one of us can attack and the other contain. You never know who will take the wickets in that situation. I like to think we will all get lots of opportunity before the World Cup, some game time before the tournament in pressure situations,” Phangiso said.

If the 30-year-old can produce the goods again against two of the favourites to win the World Cup (playing on their home turf) then the confidence levels will rise even higher. Which is what Dale Steyn, the leader of the South African attack, said was probably the most important thing the team want to gain from the tour.


Phangiso & Pietersen lock horns in semi-final thriller 0

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Ken

THE Highveld Lions meet the Delhi Daredevils in a clash of batting power versus bowling brilliance in Thursday night’s first Champions League Twenty20 semifinal in Durban, with no contest more eagerly awaited than that between Aaron Phangiso and Kevin Pietersen.

There is probably no more powerful batting line-up in this competition than Delhi’s — even Australian star David Warner battles to get a game — with Pietersen a key figure in a top order that also boasts Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardena and Ross Taylor.

Pietersen has had more than a few problems against left-arm spinners in the past and his personality is such that he will look to attack Phangiso from the outset. But the Lions’ spin bowling star is always up for the fight and Phangiso will relish the battle with Pietersen.

“Aaron’s from Soshanguve and they breed them tough there. The key is that he does not get overawed quickly. He’s a good kid, he has a good heart and he’s a fighter,” Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana said.

From humble beginnings, Phangiso scrapped his way into the South Africa under 19 side in 2003, a stint with the Titans, and now he is one of the top dogs at the Lions.

Phangiso’s performances in the tournament — 8/71 in 16 overs at a fabulous economy rate of just 4.43 — and how he has sucker-punched stars such as Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Watson, suggest he would not be out of place on the international limited-overs stage.

National selector and South Africa A coach Vincent Barnes is certainly a fan.

“Aaron went to Zimbabwe with the South Africa A side for a triangular series with Sri Lanka and bowled exceptionally well against some full internationals. He was then unbelievable in Ireland. He was outstanding the whole winter for South Africa A, averaging about 3/30 every bowling spell,” Barnes told Business Day.

“Aaron’s a very clever bowler, he gets turn and he has good variations, but his mind-set is also brilliant, he knows when to use those balls.

“He’s not getting tail-enders out, he’s getting good batsmen out with good balls. He reminds me of Johan Botha, and Robin Peterson too, in terms of his grit and determination. He’s in your face, he works bloody hard and he hates the batsman scoring a run off him.”

Barnes would still like to see Phangiso play more four-day cricket, as he only has a part-time role for Gauteng in the longer formats.

“He’s an exceptional cricketer, a fantastic fielder and no slouch with the bat either. I know he’s hungry for international cricket, but I would like to see him start to concentrate on the four-day game as well.

“I hope the Highveld Lions will play him, but they have Eddie Leie and Imran Tahir too, so it will be a challenge.”

While the Lions’ left-arm spinner will be a key weapon against the Delhi batting, Dirk Nannes, Sohail Tanvir and Chris Morris will have to play their part with the ball, while pressure will be on batsmen Alviro Petersen, Gulam Bodi, Quinton de Kock and Neil McKenzie to handle the Daredevils’ pace quartet of Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Andre Russell and Irfan Pathan.

In the other semifinal, the Titans take on the Sydney Sixers at Centurion on Friday.

↑ Top