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Ken Borland



Is everyone there on merit? One wonders … 0

Posted on November 17, 2016 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has assured their stakeholders that selection for the national team will only be on merit and this week signed a new transformation agreement with Sascoc and the Department of Sports and Recreation in which they are apparently the only sporting code that has not agreed to quotas at the highest level.

CSA’s attitude is that the system must provide the national team with black players on merit, which is why they are aggressively pursuing quotas at domestic level.

It is also believed that CSA have met with the Proteas and have clarified with them that there was no interference in selection at the World Cup and that there won’t be targets in future.

But the squads announced for the tour of Bangladesh in July do make one wonder.

Reeza Hendricks and Aaron Phangiso have been picked for the Test squad, while Kagiso Rabada has leapfrogged Kyle Abbott in the fast-bowling pecking order.

I have the utmost respect as cricketers for them, but logic suggests the selectors were not looking at purely on-field performance in making these decisions.

Hendricks is undoubtedly a bright talent and I fully support him being involved in the limited-overs squads. But the figures show that Hendricks is not yet ready to be a Test opener. His first-class franchise batting average is just 34.55 with three centuries in 20 matches. Last season he averaged just 31.76, half what Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook managed.

Cook has scored 10 centuries in the last two seasons, while Cobras opener Andrew Puttick has averaged 49.27 and 40.23 in the last two Sunfoil Series season. The fact that these two prolific batsman can’t make the side when an opening batsman is required and yet someone whose performances in the same competition are far inferior only adds fuel to the fire that is raging around selection for the national team.

The cynic in me believes that Phangiso’s selection for the Test squad is to make up for the appalling manner in which he was treated at the World Cup that saw him not play a single game.

Both Phangiso and Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana have gone on record as saying that the 31-year-old still needs a lot of work in the longer format and five wickets at an average of 67 in the Sunfoil Series shows that is the case.

Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said that they wanted a left-arm spinner for the squad and there is a ready-made, experienced, proven option in Robin Peterson.

As far as Rabada goes, I am certain that he will be a great fast bowler for South Africa in all formats, but what has Abbott done wrong?

Lady Luck always has her say when it comes to cricket, but Abbott has been one of the most unfortunate players in the country for a while now.

As a unit, the Proteas have been exceptionally strong in the Test arena, but the pain of the World Cup loss was all too obvious and whether CSA’s clearing-the-air session with the players was enough remains to be seen. They maintain that the only affirmative action when it comes to selection is if there is a 50/50 choice between two players, then the player of colour will get the benefit.

Was Hendricks being preferred to Cook really a 50/50 call? Phangiso over Peterson and Rabada ahead of Abbott?

A Bangladesh tour was never exactly looked forward to and this time the challenges will be even greater on the field. The Proteas will be asked tougher questions than ever before by Bangladesh on their home turf, while questions still swirl around their selection.

 

CSA rise up against BCCI bullies with Lorgat appointment 0

Posted on July 18, 2016 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa’s appointment of Haroon Lorgat as their new chief executive is a welcome uprising against the bully-boy tactics and undue influence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The 53-year-old Lorgat, the former chief executive of the International Cricket Council, was announced as the new CEO of CSA on the weekend and is the first permanent appointment in the key role since the disgraced Gerald Majola was suspended (and later sacked) in March 2012 in the wake of the bonus scandal that followed South Africa’s hosting of the Indian Premier League in 2009.

But despite clearly being the best candidate for the job – Lorgat was a highly-respected former player, he was convenor of the national selection panel, he runs his own successful chartered accountancy business, he has cricket administration experience at the highest level – and although various members of the CSA board have been seeking his return for the last couple of years, Lorgat was only appointed on the weekend, three-and-a-half months later than the original April deadline for a new CEO.

That’s because the BCCI made it clear in February that they did not want Lorgat heading up South African cricket. He and the then-president of the BCCI, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, have history of the wrong sort.

The reasons for Srinivasan’s antagonism range from Lorgat’s backing of the Decision Review System, contrary to India’s wishes; his decision to move the 2011 World Cup match between India and England away from Eden Gardens in Kolkata because the stadium wasn’t ready; his refusal to entertain Srinivasan’s push for the ICC to move their headquarters from Dubai to Mumbai; and Lorgat’s backing of the findings of the Lord Woolf Commission, which warned about the unhealthy influence India had on the ICC.

The BCCI’s bully-boy tactics would impress the average corrupt South African cop and any country which has voted against their viewpoint at ICC meetings has suffered the fall-out – losing out on lucrative tours by the Indian team, being denied a place in the Champions League T20 or having their players banned from the IPL.

It was the unseemly wealth of the IPL that eventually caused the BCCI to be exposed as a den of iniquity from within: Srinivasan, who also happens to own the Chennai Super Kings, stood aside as president in June when he could no longer plead ignorance of the corruption and match-fixing within the IPL.

Because the BCCI generate by far the most revenue in global cricket, they have their hands in every pie and even something as noble as the ICC Cricket Committee has been commandeered to suit their vision of a DRS-less world.

The Daily Maverick reported as far back as February that although Lorgat was the favourite to be become permanent CEO, this was unlikely because the BCCI were opposed to his appointment.

But the sidelining of Srinivasan has enabled Cricket South Africa to grow some balls and appoint the best candidate for the position, even though president Chris Nenzani denied on Monday that events in India had had any influence on the process.

That after CSA missed promised deadlines for the appointment in both early April and June.

“When we went to India in February, we spoke to the president of the BCCI [Srinivasan] and he expressed certain concerns about Haroon’s possible appointment. We made clear to him that we would not ignore his concerns, but we would have to act in the best interests of cricket in South Africa.

“There’s no link between what has happened in India and Haroon’s appointment now. They are going through a period of challenges in India, but we can’t afford to get entangled in that and Haroon’s appointment was done in the best way for CSA,” Nenzani said.

Louis von Zeuner, one of the new independent directors on the CSA board and a former deputy CEO of Absa, made it clear that he would not allow outside influences to meddle with what’s best for South African cricket on his watch.

“We take decisions in the interests of South African cricket and we don’t allow influences that don’t follow sound governance,” Von Zeuner said. “There are several stakeholders in South African cricket and we listen to all opinions and then take the opinion that is right for the country.”

Lorgat ran the ICC between 2008 and 2012 with a steely focus on what was best for the game in general and, with the importance of the BCCI in mind, he said on Monday that he would sit down with his Indian detractors and try to find common ground.

“It’s probably right that I don’t speak too much about it, but I was particularly saddened by the inferences that came from India. I never expected to end with such a poor relationship with them. But I will do my level best to understand their concerns and do whatever it takes to mend things. If I need to apologise, I will do so with no hesitation.

“There’s no doubt India is a major player and we must respect India. We don’t want to be out-of-favour with them, but I did what I thought was best for cricket,” Lorgat said.

The incoming CEO, who will take office on August 1 and has signed a three-year contract, also said he was happy with the new composition of the CSA board, saying a change in structure as recommended by the Nicholson Commission was a prerequisite for him to accept the post.

“Many people cajoled me to get involved in South African cricket again but one aspect I wanted was for there to be a new board with a sufficient independent component. I offered my availability once that new board was in place in early February.

“The new board is operating well, from what I’ve seen. We had a 90-minute session on the weekend and I saw the manner in which they operate with contributions from both the independent and non-independent side. I’m a fan of independent involvement because they don’t serve vested interests and I saw that. I’m confident this board will function as a very good corporate board.

“They are very mindful of good corporate governance since being restructured in line with the recommendations of the Nicholson Commission. We must all be conscious of it, but I’m not too concerned with governance because the people on the board will ensure that. I come from that background, it’s second nature for me, I trained in it and it’s how we did things at the ICC,” the chartered accountant said.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-07-23-sa-cricket-all-hail-haroon-lorgat/#.V4zAFvl97IU

Eksteen recognises KFC mini-cricket is a cunning plan 0

Posted on July 07, 2016 by Ken

 

Eight months ago, Clive Eksteen was ‘just’ a former Test cricketer whose passion for the sport remained. But now he has to apply the same cunning he showed as a spin bowler to Cricket South Africa’s commercial operations and this week he was dishing out praise to the KFC Mini-Cricket programme where it all begins in terms of the game in this country.

“This is where it all starts, it would be so much harder for us to implement our plans without a program like this,” Eksteen told the KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar at Kruger Park. “This is not only about the pipeline, it goes way beyond that. We want to get cricket to all 55 million people in this country, to create a love for the game. Cricket has got to make a difference in this country, it has to play a crucial role, and it starts with the little kids. There are more than 100 000 involved in the programme, thanks to the more than 8000 coaches, which is enough to fill all six of our international stadia.”

“When Temba Bavuma played that awesome knock at Newlands, the TV ratings went through the roof and from that we can see how big this game can become in South Africa. We had 14 million unique viewers watching cricket last season and there were 500 000 tickets sold for people to go watch the cricket at the ground, which is 68% more than the previous year,” Eksteen said as he applied factual numbers rather than spin to his mode of attack.

For CSA, it is just as important to cultivate customers for their product: to have cricket fans going to the matches or watching on TV.

“We have the most diverse following of any sport in South Africa but we’re not finished yet, cricket must get to every part of the country, we want to create a passion for the game. It’s a hard sport, but it teaches you a lot and you make friends for life.

“There’s no doubt we have fantastic talent second to none, but not all the kids will become reasonable cricketers let alone internationals. But they can become passionate followers and that’s a win for us from a commercial point of view. Full stadia, people watching the game, that’s what drives the sport. For sponsors, it ultimately comes down to numbers and when your first program starts with over 100 000 kids, from very diverse backgrounds, then that’s a massive plus.

“Coaches make the biggest impact on kids and KFC Mini-Cricket creates that passion and love for the game, it’s our flagship program and the beginning of how we sustain the game,” Eksteen said.

How to make a star with KFC 0

Posted on July 05, 2016 by Ken

 

To make a star one needs enough heat and pressure to start nuclear fusion in a cloud of gas, but in a cricketing sense it’s all about CSA’s pipeline and KFC Mini-Cricket provides the masses of raw material that are necessary to find the ones that will glow brightly on fields around the country in the future.

KFC Marketing Director Thabisa Mkhwanazi says it is the biggest grassroots development program in the country, which is a big call, but the numbers back her up. More than 114 000 kids from 5584 schools were involved in the program last season, thanks to the dedication of nearly 9000 volunteer coaches and the excellent custodianship of CSA’s mass-participation manager, David Mokopanele.

Corrie van Zyl, CSA’s general manager of cricket, makes an even bigger call and says it is the best development program in the world. The fact that countries like Australia, India and England have been in contact wanting to know more about KFC Mini-Cricket, especially their marvellous Kids v Proteas Tour, suggests he may be correct.

I was privileged to attend the KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar held in Kruger Park this week, which is an incentive for the top coaches of the previous season, a celebration of what has been achieved and a focused look at their future targets.

It may surprise some to know that I don’t recall hearing the word “transformation” once over the two days and that’s simply because, at that level, both coaches and players are already predominantly Black. Colour is one thing, but fixing the socio-economic conditions that make it so hard for any talented boy or girl to make it from the vast rural areas of our country is another matter altogether and KFC Mini-Cricket is probably the best weapon we have when it comes to taking the game to greater portions of our population.

Van Zyl was one of the speakers who addressed the delegates drawn from all 16 affiliates of Cricket South Africa and he pointed out in no uncertain terms that excellence at the highest level was non-negotiable, but that it was also dependent on grassroots development and vice-versa.

The former international fast bowler and national coach used the example of The Oaks Cricket Club from a small village near Hoedspruit where Cavaan Moyakamela, a coach with an extraordinary love for the game, mentors 70 children on a concrete slab.

“Imagine if a guy from The Oaks is chosen for the Limpopo U13 side, he will bring great passion and we can use and enhance that. Our dream is that a kid from that area can become a Protea, but there will be performance gaps – socio-economic factors that affect his health, physical and psychological development and his lifestyle – that we need to close for him.

“We cannot change the benchmark of international cricket, we have to take the players to that standard, and the responsibility of our coaches is to get the player there. If we don’t maintain excellence at international level then the grassroots suffers because we need money to develop that. They both depend on each other because the grassroots is the base of our game.

“KFC Mini-Cricket is the biggest part of that base, it is strong and built on the passion and dedication of the coaches. If we are to maintain excellence then we need quality coaching, so we need to grow coaches so the kids can grow under them. The growth of the program has been so good that with that base, the cream will rise to the top,” Van Zyl said.

Temba Bavuma spoke movingly about how he was first introduced to cricket via the program, getting to run around on the same Newlands ground where he scored his historic maiden Test century last summer; AB de Villiers is also a product, while the program is going strong in the remote regions of the former Transkei and Limpopo. It’s reach will only increase thanks to the wonderful news that KFC have extended their sponsorship of the program for another 10 years.

When the Kids v Proteas Tour came to Umtata, it was like the world’s greatest bazaar had hit town, such was the reaction.

“It brought Umtata to a standstill! Their little school was playing against the Proteas and it was magical. Many of the communities we have stores in hunger for this sort of development and our dream is for young people to look back and remember ‘the day KFC came to my small town with cricket’,” Mkhwanazi says.

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    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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