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Ken Borland



Why such negativity in the season of hope? 0

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Ken

 

This is the season of hope and our cricketers have certainly given cause for much optimism for the rest of the summer, and yet there are still people spreading negativity about the game in this country.

It started up again when Keaton Jennings, son of former Transvaal Mean Machine great Ray, made a century on debut for England against India last week. The South African-born expat is 24 years old and has been playing for Durham since 2012.

Following his brilliant 112 in the first innings in Mumbai, the nonsense talk started about Jennings being ignored by the South African system, without honour in his own land, if you like, with “quotas” receiving their normal share of the blame.

Just to set the record straight, young Jennings was the captain of the SA U19 team in 2011 and made his first-class debut for Gauteng later that same year. So Jennings was in the system, playing in the same side as Quinton de Kock at that stage, but to expect him just to waltz into the Highveld Lions team ahead of players like Alviro Petersen, Neil McKenzie, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook and Zander de Bruyn would have been naïve.

So Jennings was not denied fair opportunity, he merely made a personal decision, good luck to him, and it in no way reflects badly on Cricket South Africa.

The other bizarre negativity at the moment surrounds AB de Villiers’ selfless decision to give up the Test captaincy.

From being the blue-eyed boy of South African cricket, suddenly certain people are reading all sorts of sinister motives and reasons into De Villiers’ decision. It’s disgraceful that aspersions are now being cast on the honourable Faf du Plessis and his long-time friendship with De Villiers.

The person crying foul the most has been Fanie de Villiers, but then he has had an axe to grind with South African cricket for some time, and is persona non grata around the Proteas so he doesn’t really know what is going on inside that camp.

Sit down Fanie and follow the wise advice that says: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, rather don’t say anything!”

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.

CSA to raise quotas 0

Posted on May 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Johannesburg-raised Grant Elliott, the star of New Zealand’s World Cup semi-final victory over South Africa on Tuesday, was a refugee from the quota system and there are fears of a fresh exodus of players after it was revealed Cricket South Africa (CSA) will raise the targets for players of colour and Black African cricketers for next season.

CSA’s plan to increase the number of players of colour required to feature in all franchise cricket to six from next season, including at least three Black Africans, and to make the quota seven players of colour, including four Black Africans, in the semi-professional teams has been slammed by the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and the franchises, not least of all because they were not consulted before the announcement was made after they had done almost all of their contracting already for next season.

“We’re very unhappy, not with the decision itself because we represent all players and stay out of transformation decisions, but with the way it was done,” Tony Irish, the SACA chief executive, told The Citizen on Tuesday. “Our agreement with CSA requires them to consult with us and the franchises before doing things like that, and they have to do it before the franchise window for contracts starts on January 1.

“But they did this with two weeks left in the three-month window for transfers and 90% of the franchise contracts have been finalised based on the old numbers from last season. It means that players with contracts won’t be playing and the players that are playing won’t have contracts.”

The move, the second increase in the quota in successive seasons, will also have serious consequences for the pipeline of talent in South Africa because it effectively means that each union can only offer regular first-class cricket to 9 white players every season. Talented players on the fringes of their franchise sides like George Linde, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Daryn Smit, Calvin Savage, Duanne Olivier, Quinton Friend, Devon Conway, Sean Jamison, JP de Villiers, Shaun von Berg, Jon-Jon Smuts and David White could find themselves relegated to club cricket.

Players who have piqued the interest of the national selectors like Marchant de Lange, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corne Dry, Hardus Viljoen and Heino Kuhn could find themselves languishing in semi-professional cricket.

“This is exactly why consultation is so important, but CSA have completely disregarded us despite the agreements being clear. We are considering our options,” Irish said.

CSA spokesman Altaaf Kazi confirmed they had received a letter from SACA and “we are aware of their concerns and they are being addressed by the board”.

Elliott’s winning hand for New Zealand has once again put the spotlight on how much international-calibre talent South Africa loses, making a balanced, well thought-out response to the demands of transformation a necessity.

IPL – a circus, a get-rich-quick scheme … and a jamboree of top-class cricketers 0

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Ken

 

The Indian Premier League is a circus, a jamboree, a get-rich-quick scheme and a money-laundering device according to some people, but it is also a gathering of top-class cricketers from the world over, a cacophony of entertainment and a two-month explosion of non-stop action.

Coming from South Africa (how many times a day do you hear a plaintive “only in Africa”?), we should understand that the IPL does things differently and just because the English don’t get it, it doesn’t mean we should turn our noses up at it either.

The best approach to the IPL is probably to just enjoy it for what it is – pretty mindless entertainment and a wonderful way for our marvellous cricketers to be financially rewarded – and not try to fathom how it all works, whether it is financially viable or whether good standards of corporate governance are being followed.

Because if you do probe beneath the garishly-coloured uniforms, skimpy cheerleader outfits and Shah Rukh Khan’s shiny suits, you are going to find controversies aplenty.

The IPL has tentacles that reach as high as the Indian government: When the Kochi Tuskers were dumped in 2011 for defaulting on payments to the governing body, it led to an Indian minister resigning from the cabinet because he had been using his influence improperly.

This year’s major controversy has been the banning of Sri Lankan players from Chennai, the home of the Super Kings, because the chief minister of Tamil Nadu has said she cannot guarantee their security in the wake of protests over the treatment of Tamils in the island just to the south of the mainland.

How a vote-seeking politician, pandering to populist interests, has been able to hold a multi-billion dollar international tournament to hostage has baffled many people. But then the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who own the IPL, is Narayanaswami Srinivasan, whose cement company just happens to be based in Chennai and which owns the Super Kings.

The conflicts of interest are glaring, but that’s just how things operate in Indian cricket and the Super Kings are certainly not the only team to have stakeholders with interests in the administration as a whole.

Cricket South Africa have shown a tendency to believe this is how things can be run over here as well, but hopefully the public outrage that forced them to ditch former chief executive Gerald Majola, who was corrupted by the IPL millions, will keep the current board on the straight and narrow.

Although the IPL has attracted much more money than any other cricket tournament in the history of the game, there are strong indications that the current largesse is not financially sustainable.

The last two seasons have seen the lowest television viewership figures of the six years the event has been in existence, while the base price the new Hyderabad Sunrisers paid for the bankrupt Deccan Chargers was roughly half as much as the BCCI charged for the Pune and Kochi franchises in 2010.

And Venky Mysore, the chief executive of the Kolkata Knight Riders, admitted recently that, “Everybody has become conscious that player costs are going up and clearly it is not sustainable from a franchise point of view.”

Allegations of match-fixing and black money (unaccounted for) payments saw five players banned last year, but those in the know suggest there is much more malfeasance waiting to be uncovered.

In other embarrassments, Shah Rukh, the owner of the Knight Riders, was given a five-year ban from the Wankhede Stadium by the Mumbai Indians after he was involved in an unseemly altercation with security there last year, while Dale Steyn was threatened with a law suit by the Chargers for not fulfilling his contract, even though they no longer existed as a franchise!

This was also after Steyn, and Bangalore Royal Challengers star AB de Villiers, were both paid several months late by their franchises.

While Steyn and De Villiers are in the prime of their careers and obviously command top dollar, one of the charms of the IPL is that it allows international stars to keep entertaining their fans late in their careers.

Instead of sitting in their rocking chairs, the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee are still out there performing for two months a year.

It was Lee who began IPL 6 on the perfect note by bowling India U19 star Unmukt Chand with a cracking first ball of the tournament; and was then clobbered for four by Mahela Jayawardene off the second delivery.

And who cannot be thrilled with the sight of Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar opening the batting together for the Mumbai Indians?

There are 76 matches in all, so there will no doubt be many more oohs and aahs to come.

South Africa is well-represented by Albie Morkel, Chris Morris and Faf du Plessis at the Chennai Super Kings; Johan Botha, Morné Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe at the Delhi Daredevils; David Miller (Punjab Kings XI), Jacques Kallis and Ryan McLaren at KKR, Wayne Parnell (Pune Warriors), De Villiers with the Royal Challengers and Steyn, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock with rookies Hyderabad Sunrisers.

The Delhi Daredevils and Bangalore Royal Challengers, both consistent challengers for the title, are coached by South Africans in Eric Simons and Ray Jennings respectively, while Allan Donald is Pune’s bowling coach.

Interference by team owners – one coach famously had to field a player who could hardly walk – is a hardship they have to put up with. But if the dollars they are earning don’t compensate sufficiently, then they can always take a cue from the rest of us and just realise that it’s two months of cricket that doesn’t really mean a whole lot.

It’s more about entertainment than sporting excellence, and we can be thrilled by that too.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-04-10-ipl-enjoy-it-while-it-lasts/#.VcH4hfmqqko

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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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