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Ken Borland



Lorgat’s resignation understandable, but his denial is baffling 0

Posted on February 01, 2017 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat’s sense of resignation when it comes to the exodus of Kolpak players is understandable given the socio-economic factors that are ranged against him, but his continued denial that anything untoward happened before the 2015 World Cup semi-final is baffling and most troubling.

His own involvement in the selection fiasco that saw the in-form Kyle Abbott yanked from the team and replaced by a half-fit Vernon Philander has still not been totally clarified, but I would be extremely surprised if he was not acting on an ill-timed instruction from board level.

But just mention the 2015 World Cup semi-final and selection interference and Lorgat has his hackles up in an instant.

It happened again in Cape Town after the Proteas had won their Test against Sri Lanka to clinch the series,  their achievement totally overshadowed by the shock news that Abbott and Rilee Rossouw were shifting their loyalty to lucrative deals in county cricket.

When Abbott faced up to the media he was asked whether that fateful event in Auckland had anything to do with his decision to give up his international career, and he answered sincerely, saying there had been a lot of frustration, hurt and anger at the time, but that the team – including himself – had dealt with and moved on from all their negative emotions from that incident at their culture camp last August.

Lorgat was next up to be interviewed and, as soon as someone mentioned the words “World Cup semi-final”, they were scolded and the CEO launched into a tirade against the media for making things up. When one of the journalists, of colour, who happened to be at the World Cup and had done plenty to expose the selection shenanigans, pointed out to Lorgat that Abbott had sat in the same chair five minutes earlier and openly spoken about the issue, the CEO had to retreat and offered words along the lines of “I don’t want to talk about that now”.

But like reticent parents avoiding the sex-education talk, Lorgat is going to have to speak about it at some stage.

And the CSA National Team Review Panel report, that will be tabled before the members’ council on Saturday might just be the tool that gets Lorgat to open up, unless of course the relevant pages are lost somewhere in the toilets at head office at the Wanderers.

There has been talk of the report recommending that CSA and the board apologise to the players for what happened in Auckland. There is no confirmation of that, but I have it on record from someone who has read the findings that under the Team Culture section it indicates that it’s “strongly recommended that interaction happens either individually or in a group between players and senior members of the board and support staff”.

Speaking to members of the panel, none of them wanted to create anything controversial and all they hope is that something good comes out of their work.

The introduction of set targets has obviously helped because now the quotas are out in the open; but amongst the players there is still the lingering fear of an administrator again deciding to take the job of a selector upon himself and interfering in the make-up of the team.

The bungling of the transformation aspect of the 2015 World Cup needs to be put to bed – otherwise imagine how septic a boil it will be in the lead-up to 2019? – and an acknowledgement and apology from Lorgat for his role in the controversy would be a big step along that road.

Misfortune of Rossouw the joy of De Bruyn 0

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Ken

 

The continued misfortune of Rilee Rossouw has turned out to be the joy of Theunis de Bruyn, with the Knights captain called up to the South African Test squad for the first time on Wednesday, ahead of the three-Test series against Sri Lanka which starts on Boxing Day.

Rossouw, who toured Australia without playing in any of the Tests, has been ruled out of action by another foot injury and his place in the squad has been taken by uncapped Knights team-mate De Bruyn.

The tall 24-year-old has been considered an obvious future international for the last three seasons, boasting an impressive first-class average of 48.73 with six centuries in 32 matches including a double for  SA A against the England Lions. Convenor of selectors Linda Zondi told The Citizen that De Bruyn is considered a future star of all three formats.

“Theunis a good talent and has done well for both his franchise and SA A. Obviously we aren’t pleased with Rilee’s injury because he’s the next batsman in line, and Stiaan van Zyl would probably also have been in line had he not signed a Kolpak deal, but Theunis is next in the pecking order. It’s good to get him into the set-up because we definitely see him as a future star for the Proteas, playing in all the formats,” Zondi said.

“It’s obviously very disappointing for Rilee, I spoke to him in Australia and he really wants to do well for South Africa and was very happy with the way we backed him in the ODIs. He’s obviously an exceptional player and he will still do well in the future for South Africa and contribute immensely going forward because it’s still a long season ahead and he’s definitely still in our plans.”

Because the Proteas are now back on home soil, the squad has been reduced to 13 players, with Wayne Parnell the fast bowler called in to replace the injured Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. Wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius and reserve wicketkeeper Dane Vilas are no longer part of the squad.

The likelihood of De Bruyn making his debut will depend on whether captain Faf du Plessis escapes a ban from his appeal for ball-tampering on Monday, but just being in camp with the Test team will be of immense benefit to the development of the elegant right-hander.

“Even if he doesn’t make the starting XI, he’s going to gain more experience and fitting into those surroundings and the culture of the team will only enhance his belief that he will be able to fit in at international level,” Zondi said.

http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-kzn/20161215/282209420496484

Rabada merely continuing his amazing trend of excellence 0

Posted on February 01, 2016 by Ken

 

When Kagiso Rabada took a record-equalling 13 wickets in just his sixth Test match it may have astonished the cricket world, but it merely continued an amazing trend in his still youthful career of rapidly excelling at every new level he has been thrust into.

While he was a pupil at St Stithians, he made the Gauteng Schools side while still in Grade 11 and immediately made his mark with 3/26 and a brilliant final over to win a T20 game against North-West.

He was earmarked as a future star by being chosen for the SA Schools Colts side and by the time Rabada was in matric, he was already playing for the SA Under-19 team touring England.

SA Schools selection was a given in 2013 and he first announced himself to the global stage at the 2014 Under-19 World Cup when he destroyed Australia with 6/25 in the semifinal and played a major role in South Africa winning that prestigious ICC title for the first time.

He made his first-class debut for Gauteng in the same summer and, after just two games and seven wickets in the first-class three-day competition, he was promoted to the Highveld Lions senior franchise team, again taking seven wickets in two matches.

When the Highveld Lions won the Sunfoil Series in March 2015 – the first time they had won the four-day competition since the inception of the franchise system – Rabada was their joint leading wicket- taker with Hardus Viljoen, taking 39 wickets at 21.12, including a magnificent 14 wickets in the match against the Dolphins at the Wanderers. His nine for 33 in the second innings, setting up a 10-wicket win, were the second-best innings figures in the franchise era and his match haul of 14 for 105 beat Dale Steyn’s previous best of 14 for 110. They were the best figures ever recorded at the famous Bullring.

Despite his tender years, international cricket was the logical next step and, in his ODI debut against Bangladesh in Mirpur, in conditions that could not have been more foreign to the lush Highveld pitches he was used to, Rabada took six for 16, including a hat-trick.

While being able to swing the ball at high pace is an amazing gift, Rabada still seems to have an extraordinary knack for taking wickets. Former West Indies bowling all-rounder Ottis Gibson, the England bowling coach who spent many summers in South Africa playing for Border, Gauteng and Griqualand West, says that’s because Rabada bows a fuller length than most South African fast bowlers, meaning he will find the edge of the bat more often.

While the 20-year-old generally gets the ball up there to maximise movement, he does possess a slippery bouncer and uses it extremely well as a surprise delivery. At his pace, it’s more like a shock ball.

Because of his tremendous talent and his importance in socio-political terms, there has been plenty of noise about protecting Rabada from a too-heavy workload. But the bowler himself said this week that he prefers doing more bowling and he doesn’t feel that he needs treatment that is any different to the monitoring and managing the other Proteas quicks undergo.

The knees are good, he has a tremendously athletic build and, apparently, a perfectly-aligned spine, an absolute rarity that is a great gift for any fast bowler.

Gibson was also certain that Rabada would get quicker as he reaches full adulthood – a scary prospect – and, interestingly, that there were even technical tweaks he could do to give him some extra yards of pace.

Time will tell whether Rabada will break the records of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Steyn at international level, but they have all been mightily impressed by the level-headed young man who has the temperament to go with his physical attributes.

“His overall skill just blows me away and even his control is exceptional, it’s a bit freakish. I still think he’s going to get quicker and it stands him in good stead that he’s grooving that control for when the extra pace comes later. He’s already ahead of where he should be, his rhythm is good, he’s tall, athletic and can bowl a heavy ball, and when you combine all of that together, as he grows into his body he’s definitely going to get faster,” Donald, who was the bowling coach when Rabada was first included in the Proteas squad, said.

“He’s got all the raw ingredients. He has pace, control, heart and athleticism. And he is only 20. He has shown he can learn fast and has also bowled very well in the end overs, shown very good temperament,” was Pollock’s considered view.

Steyn is excited about someone he has been mentoring.

“KG has a very good attitude and is always asking a lot of questions – and the right questions. He has everything he needs to be a good fast bowler – pace, a good build, quite tall and intimidating,” Steyn said.

Ntini, for so long the lone Black African flagbearer, is delighted.

“I am so excited, happiness is an understatement. I am excited to watch him in the long run. He has put it out there that you should fear me now, not me being worried about who I am bowling to. If he can continue and have his head grounded, nothing will change. He is almost like a young apple tree that is growing very, very fast in a desert.”

http://citizen.co.za/967847/sky-the-limit-for-rising-star-rabada/

Overseas dominance of Sunshine Tour continues in first round of Africa Open 0

Posted on October 23, 2015 by Ken

 

The overseas dominance of this summer’s Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned events continued in the first round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Thursday as European golfers filled 10 of the top 13 places on the leaderboard.

Ireland’s Kevin Phelan and Englishman Matt Ford shot five-under-par 67s to put themselves at the top of that leaderboard, one stroke ahead of five golfers on four-under-par, with another six competitors on three-under.

Phelan teed off from the ninth hole at 7.30am and managed to put an early bogey on the 11th – which was really tough into the wind on Thursday – behind him with two birdies before the turn and then a superb front nine that featured a birdie on the par-five first and then a run of three successive birdies from the fifth.

Ford managed to keep bogeys entirely off his card, which was a highly impressive feat on a blustery day on the East Coast that definitely separated the men from the boys, and the 36-year-old was accurate in all facets of his play as he collected five birdies.

Phelan missed the cut in last year’s Africa Open after rounds of 69 and 70, and the 24-year-old said he made a conscious effort on Thursday to be aggressive on the short course, despite the treacherous wind, which led to some scintillating golf.

“I played conservatively last year, which didn’t work very well, so I was more aggressive today. It led to some easy birdies and I think my longest birdie putt today was from six feet. I managed to keep the momentum going and I went for it any chance I got. It’s great to be in contention because last year I didn’t really know I could compete on the European Tour,” Phelan, who was tied for second in last week’s Joburg Open, said.

Ford has not yet enjoyed such success on tour, although he did shoot a 66 on the first day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek. But that excellent round was the start of a pattern that has seen the son of a professional footballer post opening rounds of par or better in all six events this season but then shooting worse for the rest of all those tournaments. So Ford said he was trying to not get too excited about Thursday’s 67.

“I’ve made a few good starts to tournaments but then not taken them through all four rounds, so I’m not going to get too excited.

“I think maybe I try a bit too hard because I haven’t had huge success before. I’m trying so hard to be better, I want it so much and sometimes that just increases the pressure. So the key for me is to keep relaxed. The top guys almost play with a sort of nonchalance, they portray an image that it doesn’t really matter to them, and I find it difficult to do that,” Ford revealed.

Englishmen Richard Bland, David Howell and John Parry are all sitting on four-under-par alongside the leading South African, Neil Schietekat, and Spaniard Eduardo de la Riva.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, who is yet to celebrate his 21st birthday, and fellow Englishmen Tom Lewis and Chris Lloyd are all on three-under, tied with Frenchman Gregory Havret and South Africans Oliver Bekker and Trevor Fisher Junior.

The wind, blowing out of the south-west, was obviously a major factor on Thursday and it was fascinating to see the different approaches of the golfers. The aggression of Phelan was a successful approach, but so too was the conservative strategy taken by the likes of Howell and Bland.

“I love this place. It’s a thinker’s course, not a bomber’s course. You have to manage your way around, and that’s the type of course that I like. It takes away the main weapon of some of the guys, some of the clubs they hit into par-fives are ridiculous, but they can’t do that here this week. Everyone is playing from the same place, because that’s where you have to put the ball, so it makes it a more level playing field,” Bland said.

“It was a very decent wind out there today, it was really pumping at times, so you had to play good links golf at the end of the day. Your short game had to be tidy and there are a couple of driveable par-fours out there, but there’s also a lot of trouble around. So a lot of my game plan was staying away from mistakes,” Howell said.

Jaco van Zyl, one of the tournament favourites, produced the comeback of the day as he recovered from three bogeys on the front nine, finishing with five birdies in his last seven holes to post a two-under 70.

Darren Clarke, Andy Sullivan, Edoardo Molinari and Keith Horne were all back in the middle of the field after shooting level-par 72s.

http://www.elgc.co.za/ELGCNewsroom/tabid/41/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/107/Early-foreign-dominance-at-Africa-Open.aspx

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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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