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Ken Borland



Batsmen can bank on being unsettled – Elgar 0

Posted on April 12, 2017 by Ken

 

South Africa opener Dean Elgar said on Thursday night that the one thing a batsman can bank on at international level is that your head is always on the chopping block following what he described as the “unsettling” axing of his opening partner Stephen Cook for the last Test against New Zealand.

The Proteas returned to Johannesburg on Thursday night after rain spared them the likelihood of defeat on the final day of the third Test, allowing them to win the series 1-0, but there are still rumblings over the controversial decision to drop Cook, who scored only 17 runs in four innings but had made three centuries in his previous nine Tests.

Theunis de Bruyn was then forced to make his Test debut as a makeshift opener, without success.

“We had a good thing going but selection is out of the players’ control, it’s one of those things. It’s not easy for Stephen, I’ve been through it before and you can go into a dark place. The team has still been winning though, so it’s very difficult, especially when you know how much hard work he has put in and he’s a massive team guy.

“But the general thing with batsmen is that if you think you’re safe, you’re not. Your head is always on the chopping block and a good ball or a bad decision could cost you your spot. It’s unsettling that a guy like him can be left out when he’s been working his butt off,” Elgar said at O.R. Tambo International Airport upon the team’s return.

South Africa’s success – they won the T20, ODI and Test series – in New Zealand on pitches that closely approximate the conditions they will find in England for the Champions Trophy and a much-anticipated Test series, suggest they are on track to do well on that tour in mid-year.

“We feel we are nicely set up for England having won all three series, which doesn’t happen often in New Zealand,” assistant coach Adrian Birrell said. “Obviously we’re all gearing up for the Champions Trophy and the fact that we won the ODI series 3-2 by winning what was like a final at Eden Park will be good going forward.

“Conditions were probably closest to what we will find on the England tour, there was always seam movement but not excessive bounce, which is what we expect in England. We’ve used various combinations and we have an idea for what works. We’re particularly pleased that all-rounders came to the fore and that batsmen in the lower-order were winning us games.”

http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170401/282419874094770

 

CSA slammed out the park too often 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken

 

If Cricket South Africa were a bowler, they would be the type that gives you an over comprising three great deliveries, beating the bat a couple of times and maybe bowling the batsman, and three rank full tosses that are hammered out of the park, and are no-balls just to make matters worse!

There are so many good things going on in CSA, so many people within that organisation who have a deep love for the game and are faithful servants of it, often at considerable cost to themselves. While those good balls are being bowled, it is easy to believe that everything in South African cricket is hunky dory and the future is bright.

Like when you go to the Centre of Excellence and National Academy in Pretoria. This is a superb facility where national teams can prepare with the latest technology at their fingertips.

The gadgets have recently been improved with the world’s most advanced batting simulator – the PitchVision Batting Studio – now installed. The high-tech bowling machine and smart lane equipped with sensors takes net batting to the next level. The simulator features a moveable bowling machine that can bowl over or around the wicket, videos of bowlers, shot-tracking, field setting and tracking of runs scored. The system also records technique for video analysis.

The batsman can set up any match scenario and bat with the realistic pressures of finding the gaps and trying to chase down a score at the death.

The technology even showed that I was planting my front leg when batting, but then a good coach could probably have pointed that out anyway. And, as I told coaches Shukri Conrad and Vincent Barnes, nobody has trapped me lbw for a long time! (Now I’m just tempting fate!)

There are lots of other good news stories around CSA at the moment, such as the thawing of relations with India. According to Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, the BCCI are keen on the idea of South Africa and India developing an icon series like the Ashes. The Proteas will be playing four Tests in India this year and the next tour to South Africa is not going to be the thoroughly inadequate shortened series which was foisted upon CSA in December 2013.

Sadly, however, there are still people in CSA who seem more intent on furthering their own agendas than the good of the game.

Despite CSA continuing to swear blind that there was nothing untoward in the selection of the team for the World Cup semi-final, that merit is the only criterion for the Proteas (except when the call is 50/50), the gathering of the cricket family this week for the CSA Awards (another example of how well they can do things) meant I was given yet more snippets of information that would seem to confirm that the side that took the field at Eden Park was not the one Russell Domingo, AB de Villiers or the selectors initially wanted.

And now, an event as happy and well-organised as the awards banquet has also been marred by the same faceless, cowardly interferers as allegations of the judges’ decisions being changed rear their ugly heads.

Two members of the judging panel confirmed to me that one of the franchise award-winners had been changed – that when they left their selection meeting, they were under the impression that a different player had won.

The last thing I want to do is cast aspersions on the ability and class of Robin Peterson (poor Vernon Philander was shamefully treated by the World Cup fiasco), whom I rate highly and believe should be in the Test squad ahead of Aaron Phangiso, but apparently he was the third-choice for the Momentum One-Day Cup Player of the Season, behind Dean Elgar and Andrew Puttick.

So the last week has pretty much summed up CSA’s performance in general: leading the field in many ways, like the centre of excellence in Pretoria, enjoying the support of an ever-growing list of sponsors and putting on superb events, but then also shooting themselves in the foot through dishonesty and backroom dealings. It felt like a family gathering this week, even if the family is dysfunctional at times, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some members who really would be better suited to Fifa than cricket administration.

A moving farewell for a Titan of the game 0

Posted on November 09, 2015 by Ken

 

The Titans recently took leave of one of their most inspirational players when they held a farewell function for batsman Jacques Rudolph, who has ended his South African career in order to focus on his commitments as captain of Glamorgan.

Rudolph, a compact left-hander whose 49 first-class centuries show his ability perhaps better than his Test average of 35, gave a moving address in which he was often in tears and which showed why he was one of the most popular players on the domestic circuit.

“One can dedicate one’s life to an institution and walk away with only a handshake, so this is a great evening to end a great journey,” Rudolph said. “The agreement is that next October I will be sitting on the grass embankment with my son, who will hopefully be starting to walk, and hear Loslappie [the Titans’ team song] roaring out from the changeroom.”

The 34-year-old tried his hand at international cricket with decent success, scoring six Test centuries and 11 fifties in 48 Tests, as well as averaging 35 in 45 ODIs, but what happened at the very start of his career with the national team, when he was pulled from the team by then UCB president Percy Sonn on the eve of his debut Test, probably did not help the confidence of a 21-year-old as he was back then in Sydney.

“There’s a strong perception that my career was marred by politics, what with the interference in selection in 2001/02, but I’m thankful for that because it gave me resilience and perseverance, it enabled me to overcome any adversity. I have no regrets, it only made me stronger,” Rudolph said with typical magnanimity.

He was indeed able to handle any attack on his day, but he has also made a massive difference off the field at Centurion.

“The stats only tell half the story. He’s one of the nicest okes to work with and there are so many people he’s touched while he’s been here. Junior players come to me and say what an inspiration he’s been. Scoring 20 000 runs is one thing, but he’s also provided a much-needed lift in the changeroom,” Titans CEO Jacques Faul said.

The inspiration continued in his parting words as Rudolph gave some worthy advice to the young cricketers present.

“Arrogance comes before a fall. I remember when I was 21 and I had just scored a double-century for South Africa and I came back to the Titans. Gerald Dros had to call me aside and tell me that I needed to come down a peg or two before I had become arrogant. That was life-changing.

“You won’t succeed if you are arrogant. The All Blacks are a great example, they beat a lot of teams but they are very humble and always spend time with the opposition. Make friends and learn from them, treat people with dignity and respect, South Africa creates a certain environment, but we need to break barriers and reach out.

“You can’t start soon enough to save money because before you know it, your career can be taken away. I learnt too late sadly about financial discipline because life is expensive.

“Teams win championships and not individuals – individuals win you games. And your identity musn’t be linked to how you perform or your abilities. The best batsmen only reach fifty once in every three innings, so you fail a lot more than you succeed in this game. Don’t link your value as a person to how you perform or what people think of you,” Rudolph said.

The applause should ring out for Jacques Rudolph for all the pleasure he gave local cricket fans and the contribution he made to South African cricket.

 

A dream come true for Morkel … & a timely reminder for pigeon-holers 0

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Ken

 

Albie Morkel’s top-class century to win the Momentum One-Day Cup final for the Unlimited Titans was not only a dream come true for the all-rounder but also a strong reminder to coaches that being a brilliant finisher does not mean a batsman should be consigned to a role only in the closing overs of a limited-overs match.

Morkel came to the crease in the final at Newlands with the Titans in trouble on 60 for four chasing 286, but he and Dean Elgar, who also scored a century, shared a record-breaking partnership of 195 off 189 balls to set up a phenomenal victory which the veteran finished off in style with a magnificent 134 not out off 103 balls.

“It was a big day in my life, I was quite emotional but I kept it deep inside on the field. Coach Rob Walter and I had discussed at the start of the season what’s left for me in my career and I reset my goals. One of them was to score a 50-over century and another was to be man of the match in a final.

“Batting at six or seven, you don’t often get the opportunity to score a hundred, it has to be quick, but to do it in a final and to be man of the match, both of them together was really special, a dream come true. I scratched around a bit at the beginning, but then something clicked and I just seemed to be in the zone, my senses all became so clear and I was seeing the ball really well,” Morkel told The Citizen on Monday.

The left-hander’s innings was similar to that of David Miller’s in South Africa’s World Cup opener against Zimbabwe and Morkel said he hoped these performances helped convince coaches to give so-called power-hitters a greater piece of the action.

“With the new batting powerplay and only four fielders allowed out at the end, coaches tend to keep key batsmen back for that but I’ve never understood it because as a batsman you like to get in and you need the opportunity to do that. Your success rate drops when you have less time at the crease and David Miller showed what can be done when you give a batsman enough time and don’t keep him back.

“Both David and I came in in a situation where the team was in big trouble, but it gives you the luxury to just go in and bat. I knew I must just not get out, I must be there at the end and then you can really cash in,” Morkel said.

The 33-year-old also showed the value of his experience in a Titans side full of youngsters and Morkel said he is determined to return the franchise to the heights of the mid-to-late 2000s, when they won seven domestic trophies.

“The Titans needed that win because we’ve had a seesaw season and it was even more important for the changeroom because obviously they will now believe they can win more trophies. I still want to play my best cricket, in the past I made the mistake of putting too much emphasis on getting into the national team. My focus now is on getting myself back to my best form and winning games for the Titans. That’s where the enjoyment comes, in that changeroom environment.

“At this stage, I’m playing the role of a senior, there are lots of young guys coming through and they need a lot of help. I often chat with David Wiese and the young bowlers,” Morkel said.

 

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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