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Ken Borland



Faf says the ball-tampering saga showed the unity in the Proteas squad 0

Posted on December 04, 2016 by Ken

 

Triumphant Proteas captain Faf du Plessis returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday and described the whole ball-tampering saga as a ploy by the Australian media to disrupt the South African team, but said the farce had served as a powerful indicator of the unity within the squad.

A video of Du Plessis doing two entirely legal things at once – sucking a mint and using his saliva to shine the ball – went viral in Australia between the second and third Tests, leading to the International Cricket Council charging the captain with ball-tampering and later finding him guilty and fining him his entire match fee from the Hobart game, during which South Africa won the series.

“The Australian media used it as a ploy to derail us, they speak of themselves as the Australian team’s 12th man. The challenge was to fight back and it was remarkable the way the team fought the battle so firmly for me, it shows where we are as a team in terms of our strong culture.

“At first we didn’t think it was anything really serious, but the media made it a big issue until nobody could control it. It was very disappointing the way it turned out, but my character was tested and against all odds I was able to make a play, it showed I can withstand those tests,” Du Plessis, who made a century in the third Test, said.

Team manager Mohammed Moosajee said they will be arranging a date for the appeal hearing, at which Du Plessis will have his own legal representation from South Africa, with the ICC and it should be set by the end of this week.

Moosajee also revealed that Cricket South Africa had laid an official complaint with their Australian counterparts and broadcasters Channel 9 had apologised for the behaviour of their aggressive reporter who sparked a scuffle at Adelaide Airport.

While admitting that captaincy brought out the best in him, Du Plessis reiterated that he sees himself as the stand-in skipper for AB de Villiers, who is set to return for the Sri Lanka series next month.

“I’ve always enjoyed it, I feel it does bring out the best in me, but AB knows that I am 100% behind him. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a leader and the great thing is that the team has three guys – myself, Hashim Amla and AB – who have been captains and we are all very similar in the way we want the culture of the team to move forward,” Du Plessis said.

South Africa are still only fifth in the Test rankings, however, with Australia third.

“Going up the rankings is a goal of ours but it won’t just happen, we need to take really small steps to get back to number one. But all the signs are there that we can get back there; Sri Lanka are a good team, they’re playing well, but if we beat them then I reckon we’ll be close to number two,” Du Plessis said.

Jannie Dup says criticism made him tough but hurt his loved ones 0

Posted on September 03, 2015 by Ken

 

Stalwart Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis described the criticism he has had to face this year as character-building for him but extremely hurtful for his loved ones despite earning his place in the squad for a third World Cup appearance.

Du Plessis struggled for form during the Super Rugby competition as part of a dismal Sharks’ campaign, but as soon as the international season began, the 32-year-old confirmed that he is indisputably South Africa’s number one tighthead prop with a couple of powerful displays. He shrugged off suggestions that he was merely peaking at the right time.

“I think it’s by grace that I’m playing well now, I didn’t try any less hard at the start of the season. I want to see any player that doesn’t try his best whenever he runs out on to the field. I thought that the Sharks would actually win Super Rugby, we were experienced enough and we worked incredibly hard. Things just didn’t happen for us, so many games we could’ve won but it’s an unforgiving competition and just one missed tackle can mean you lose by two points. And then you play another top team and before you know it you’ve lost three in a row …

“So it was a disappointing Super Rugby season even though I put my heart and soul into it. You try not to listen when people call you too old or terrible. The humiliation makes you tough but it’s very hard for the people you care about; people say such bad things. So you do sit and reflect and think maybe it’s time to call it quits …

“But at the start of the Test season, the coach [Heyneke Meyer] told us a story about how things have different value for different people – a ring might just be stainless steel, but if it was your father’s wedding ring then it will have immense value for you. My effort has been no different and I’m happy with the faith the coach has shown in me and I believe we will win the World Cup,” Du Plessis said.

The veteran of 64 Tests said the thought of proving the critics wrong was also part of the motivation he felt before the tournament, where he and Bismarck will become the first pair of brothers to appear in three World Cups.

“You always feel under pressure because people have expectations and as a rugby player you always want to make people feel better. Everyone reacts in a similar way to criticism and that is to prove it wrong. But you learn how to discern between good criticism and bad criticism the older you get. Some people just don’t like the way you look, the way you talk or even just your hairstyle, so they’re going to criticise regardless,” Du Plessis said.

 

West Indies fold to Steyn, but no free pass for SA 0

Posted on March 04, 2015 by Ken

Hashim Amla confirmed he was surprised by how quickly the West Indies folded and Dale Steyn described his bowling as “nothing special”, but there was no way South Africa were merely given a free pass on their way to their crushing innings and 220-run victory at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.

It took fast bowling of the highest quality from Steyn, the sort of intense, destructive spell that he and so few other fast bowlers are capable of at Test level.

Steyn’s quick mopping up of the West Indies second innings has ensured some extra, much-needed rest for a South African side that was beleaguered by injury during their first Test in four months.

“We’re glad to have an extra one-and-a-half days rest because this felt like a long Test, being the first one we have played in a long time. I was surprised by how quickly the match finished, I didn’t expect to get seven wickets in the session, but the pitch was getting quite difficult to bat on and it was exceptional bowling from Dale. Any team in the world would have found him very difficult to handle today,” Amla said after winning his first Test at home as captain in the most convincing fashion.

“We were standing behind the stumps, AB de Villiers and I, and we could feel that things were going to happen after he hit the left-hander [Leon Johnson] early on. The pitch had quickened up and when Dale gets a sniff he runs through teams, we’ve seen it many, many times before. We’re just glad he’s on our side … “ Amla added.

Steyn had gone wicket-less in the first innings and, although he denied he was particularly striving to make up for it, there seemed a determination and an extra intensity about his performance on Saturday morning.

“I’m never upset as long as we bowl the opposition out and then I’m happy. I thought Vernon [Philander] and Morne [Morkel] bowled beautifully yesterday and even Dean Elgar got a wicket, which made me a bit bummed!

“There was nothing special about today, maybe I was a bit more consistent with my line and length and I got rewarded. Some days you find the edge, other days you go past it, that’s cricket. I deserved it today, but yesterday I didn’t.

“The ball came out nicely and today I got the first edge and then you tend to make the batsman play more and get on a roll,” Steyn said.

The world’s number one fast bowler also gave credit to the fantastic catching behind the wicket, with Alviro Petersen a stand-out at second slip.

For their part, West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin said his team are going to have to show more application if they are going to keep the series alive in Port Elizabeth from Boxing Day.

“We need more application, it was disappointing the way the batsmen got out once they had got starts. It’s very important for us to bat longer sessions, we have to be smart, leave the ball alone, sway away, myself included. We’re up against a very good bowling attack, number one in the world, and they hit very good areas. They don’t give many opportunities and it’s very difficult to get starts on these pitches,” Ramdin said.

In terms of application and skill, the West Indies can do no better than to try and emulate Amla (208) and De Villiers (152), whose record partnership set up South Africa’s impressive victory.

 

Wire-to-wire Leopard Creek win ‘something special’ for Grace 0

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Ken

Branden Grace described it as “something special” as he became the first golfer to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship wire-to-wire when he cruised to a seven-stroke victory at Leopard Creek on Sunday.

The 26-year-old is a tremendous front-runner, all four of his previous European Tour wins coming after he led going into the final round, and Sunday was no exception as he produced an exceptionally solid 68, with just two bogeys, to finish on 20-under-par.

Fellow South African and close friend Louis Oosthuizen was the runner-up, shooting 69 on Sunday to finish on 13-under, while Grace’s nearest challengers, Lucas Bjerregaard and Danny Willett, endured horrible final rounds that saw them plummet down the leaderboard.

“It’s something special going wire-to-wire because this is one of the tournaments every South African golfer wants to win, especially because of what Mr and Mrs Rupert do for golf,” Grace said.

The Fancourt-based golfer made it look easy as he was superb off the tee, accurate with his irons and solid with the putter, collecting six birdies, four of them on the par-fives.

“The par-fives were the big turnaround today, I played them in one-over yesterday [Saturday], but today I was four-under. The other big thing was that I was great off the tee, on a course where you really need to be. I felt so comfortable with my driver,” Grace said.

It was a day of immense trauma for Bjerregaard, the Dane starting the day with high hopes, just one shot behind Grace. He was level-par after birdieing the sixth hole, but then the wheels fell off after a triple-bogey six at the seventh.

His drive was far left into long grass but his chip seemed to be a good one; unfortunately it just kept rolling on the hard and fast green, past the hole and into the water.

Bjerregaard bogeyed eight and was out in 39, but then the horror show really began: double-bogey at 10, quadruple-bogey at 11 and another dropped shot at 12. He came in with a double-bogey at 15 and four other bogeys – an astonishing 50 for the back nine and a round of 89 that dropped him to two-over-par and a tie for 49th.

Willett looked to be gearing himself up for a charge with back-to-back birdies around the turn and on 13 and 14, but a rare mis-hit iron shot on 16 found the water and led to a double-bogey. That was followed by a bogey at 17 and a demoralised Willett then bombed out with a triple-bogey eight on the last, to finish in a tie for fourth with Trevor Fisher Jnr, who carded a fine 69 on Sunday.

Andrew Johnston shot a one-over-par 73, but it was good enough for the Englishman to hang on to third place on 11-under.

It was a top-class display, however, by Grace. Having wowed the tartan brigade at St Andrew’s with his wire-to-wire win in the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2012, he now reminded the Lowvelders clad in shades of khaki of his pedigree.

He has spoken all week of feeling near to his best again – 2012 when he claimed all four of his European Tour triumphs – and that makes him one of South Africa’s best golfers.

“It’s a great start to the new season after a hard year. My game was spot-on today, there weren’t a lot of misses, maybe two bad shots all day. To win so convincingly is really nice,” Grace said.

 

 



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