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Ken Borland

Charlton & the semi-pro competitions: promoting excellence 0

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Ken


Mark Charlton has been promoted to high performance manager for the Titans, having won four trophies in the last three years with the Northerns team, and he says the rapid progress of players who have spent time in the amateur provincial competitions shows how important the second tier of domestic cricket is for the pipeline.

The Grahamstown product was understandably delighted with the recent news that Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat had said they were aiming to uplift the semi-professional level rather than create a seventh franchise.

“If you look at the senior provincial teams and what they do in the South African landscape, it’s a brilliant job. Guys like Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen spent four seasons with me at Northerns and then after one franchise season they’re on the verge of the national squad. A guy like Lungi Ngidi spent one-and-a-half seasons with me, one-and-a-half with the Titans and then made the national team. Tabraiz Shamsi is another guy who played a lot of semi-pro cricket, there are a lot of guys like that.

“The profile of that level needs to be lifted, the Africa Cup has been brilliant in that respect, we need to raise the level of their exposure. So it’s great news if CSA back that, because the second tier produces some really hard, tough cricket. We [Northerns] tested ourselves against Leicestershire recently, with just nine of our regular players and we beat them, plus we’ve beaten the whole Ireland team before. So the standard is pretty good and we do our job when it comes to producing players,” Charlton told The Citizen.

Charlton subscribes to the belief that good people make better sportsmen, and says a key part of Northerns’ success was ensuring the players were as honourable off the field as they were excellent on it.

“We tried five years ago to put the building blocks in place with a code of behaviour and ethics that was about how we were seen and how we saw ourselves. It was our core policy, about how we operate. The basis of the team was very young and inexperienced back then, but I felt they could be champions and they’ve showed it.

“Since that start five years ago, we’ve produced eight Titans players. My job was to look at young talent and take them to the next level. In terms of selection, I tried to stay as consistent as possible, to give guys opportunities to perform. We’re very lucky with players from the local universities and schools, there’s always a lot of quality coming through. Cobus Pienaar, Shershan Naidoo, Markram, Klaasen and captain Thomas Kaber have all been brilliant and I’ve just tried to keep players together and moving in the same direction,” Charlton said.

Selectors will seldom see Marchant de Lange in action … 0

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Ken


Marchant de Lange is one of the most promising fast bowlers in the country, but the new quotas that will be in force for domestic cricket from next season will ensure that the national selectors will seldom get a chance to see him in action, unless it’s in amateur or club cricket.

The new quotas demand that every franchise field six players of colour, including three Black Africans, in every starting XI, which is no doubt a worthy gesture towards ensuring cricket is representative of the country’s demographics, but, as with most attempts to fiddle with finely balanced systems, it will have unintended consequences.

One of these is that a 24-year-old strike bowler who has already taken 24 wickets in 10 matches across all three formats for South Africa is unlikely to play much franchise cricket next season.

De Lange plays for the Titans, who will in all likelihood fill their quota of Black Africans with two pace bowlers – Ethy Mbhalati and Junior Dala – and wicketkeeper/batsman Mangaliso Mosehle, who incidentally averaged 20 in the Sunfoil Series, 24 in the Momentum One-Day Cup and just six in the RamSlam T20 Challenge last season.

Cricket teams, much like food chains in nature, are a delicate balance and few teams will field more than four pace bowlers, with the Titans surely giving one of their other spots to Rowan Richards, the left-arm swing bowler and player of colour. De Lange is also competing with David Wiese and new signing Chris Morris, and the Titans are unlikely to pick him ahead of those two quality all-rounders.

Cricket South Africa already stand accused of trying to con the South African public that they really care about transformation after the World Cup shambles involving Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso not playing a single game, and now they have rushed to implement a system that they didn’t even research.

I have it on good authority that Corrie van Zyl, the general manager of cricket, was caught totally unawares by the new quota proposal – it wasn’t even on the agenda – and I am certain that CSA did not even do the research I’ve done on what franchise teams will look like next season, because they then would have picked up that highly promising players of colour like Diego Rosier, Beuran Hendricks, Dane Paterson and Dane Piedt are also going to be negatively affected.

Hendricks and Paterson, who are both surely looking to play international cricket, are going to struggle to get into the Cape Cobras side for the same reason as De Lange – two pace bowlers’ slots will be taken by Mthokozisi Shezi and probably Tshepo Moreki.

Across all the franchises, it seems inevitable that teams will play two Black African pacemen, which is going to create an imbalance.

Some of the other talented cricketers who will not get regular franchise cricket are Sybrand Engelbrecht, Shaheen Khan, Keegan Petersen, Lizaad Williams, Daryn Smit, Calvin Savage, Daryn Dupavillon, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corne Dry, Duanne Olivier, Gerhardt Abrahams, JP de Villiers, Roelof van der Merwe, Heino Kuhn, Graeme van Buuren, Shaun von Berg, Qaasim Adams, Andrew Birch, Ryan Bailey and Colin Ackermann. That is a major loss of strength for the competitions that feed into the national team.

The Highveld Lions are the one franchise that is not going to be affected by the new policy because they are already ahead of the curve when it comes to transformation. I went to their annual awards dinner this week and what a fabulous night it was with all the different communities in South Africa strongly represented.

But we are not going to succeed in making all our teams look like that and enjoy the on-field success of the Lions when administrators decide to implement drastic policies without even subjecting them to prior research or consulting the leading cricket brains in the country.

Walter sees quality depth & no extra pressure for Titans 0

Posted on July 01, 2014 by Ken

While some critics are warning that Cricket South Africa’s new increased “targets” for players of colour – and specifically Black Africans – will curdle the milk of domestic cricket, Unlimited Titans coach Rob Walter says the new quotas won’t place him under extra pressure when it comes to selection in the season ahead.

Franchises will now be required to field at least five players of colour in all competitions, two of whom must be Black Africans, an increase of one for 2014/15.

The Titans have only contracted three Black Africans – pacemen Junior Dala and Ethy Mbhalati and wicketkeeper/batsman Mangaliso Mosehle – for next season, alongside six other players of colour – Qaasim Adams, Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Eden Links, Rowan Richards and Tabraiz Shamsi.

“We have quality depth in all positions and we’re not sitting around thinking we’re going to be under pressure because of the new requirements. In fact we have to find a way of playing all these guys. A lot of our players of colour are actually pushing for places in the national side and they’re all there entirely on merit,” Walter said at the weekend during the launch of the new IXU brand of cricket equipment, for which he is an ambassador.

While there will obviously be more pressure on Mosehle, Mbhalati and Dala to perform, Walter said he thinks the added expectation will bring out the best in them.

“I have massive faith in Mangi. He’s had two stand-out 50-over campaigns and I’ve seen him make hundreds. In four-day cricket, he fell short last season, but I absolutely believe that he can score runs at that level.

“The pressure might actually be good for him, he’s occupying a hugely important position in four-day cricket. That number six/seven position has been key to many of the Proteas’ successes in recent years.

“Junior Dala has worked unbelievably hard in the off season after not having the best start to his Titans’ career, but we saw flashes of what he can do. He can bowl quickly and he’s clearly got something. Ethy was always going to be around anyway for another season, but having Junior in the squad has pushed him and he’s been working very hard,” Walter said.

With David Wiese, Marchant de Lange and Richards also being key bowlers, and JP de Villiers and Vincent Moore in reserve, Walter is confident the Titans have the attack to win trophies next season, but he is hoping his senior batsmen dish up many more runs than in 2013/14.

“I think Rowan is going to do great things, he has pace and he’s a left-hander, it was just sad that he was injured last season; Marchant is doing nicely and he delivered some real heat when he played at the end of last season; and David was unbelievable with the new ball and showed real skill. So all of a sudden the seam attack looks very good, plus JP has come a long way and Vince Moore bowled particularly well in the four games he played.

“But first and foremost what we need to improve is the performances of our senior players. We’ve added Dean Elgar, who will be key as another senior player, but the guys already there – Davids, Behardien, Albie Morkel, Kuhn – they’ve been performing year in, year out and I’ll be looking to them to really deliver,” Walter said.

Apart from those established batsmen, there is real talent waiting in the wings in Graeme van Buuren, Cobus Pienaar, Adams, Theunis de Bruyn and Ernest Kemm, and that meant there was cover available should there be injuries, national call-ups or loss of form.

“The great thing is that if we lose a player, it’s not the end of the world. The young guys have been performing, showing no fear and just revelling in the opportunity to play. Graeme was a standout batsman when it came to playing under pressure and that’s huge, a really great thing. Theunis showed in his first outing that he’s ready for franchise cricket and Ernest made a fifty in his second game. So depth is not something I’m worried about,” Walter said.

The Titans started training for the new season on May 1 and have been working hard on improving their skills.

“We fell short on our ability to deliver our skills so we started training earlier and have been doing that every day,” Walter said.

And the Titans will start playing competitive cricket as early as August, with the eKasi Challenge against the Highveld Lions, two three-day practice games and the Global Softech Sixes and Northerns Bash.

Titans contracted squad 2014/15: Qaasim Adams, Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Marchant de Lange, JP de Villiers, Heino Kuhn, Eden Links, Ethy Mbhalati, Albie Morkel, Mangaliso Mosehle, Cobus Pienaar, Rowan Richards, Tabraiz Shamsi, Graeme van Buuren (rookie contract), Roelof van der Merwe, Shaun von Berg, David Wiese, Jacques Rudolph (One-Day Cup only). CSA-contracted – Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel.


Titans announce fixtures for pre-season Sixes tournament 0

Posted on June 06, 2014 by Ken


The Titans’ bold efforts to reorganise pre-season domestic cricket moved a step closer on Thursday with the announcement of the fixtures for the inaugural Global Softech Sixes to be played at SuperSport Park from September 4-7.

The Sixes tournament is the brainchild of Titans CEO Jacques Faul and is an attempt to attract a new audience to an enterprising brand of cricket, with an emphasis on corporate hospitality.

The first Global Softech Sixes will bring the six domestic franchises and six African countries including South Africa to Centurion for an event that Faul is hoping will grow to rival the famous Hong Kong Sixes.

There are going to be eight five-overs-a-side games on each of the four days and the South African team to play in Hong Kong this year will be announced after the tournament.

A major attraction of the event is the chance it will provide for leading players in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to play top-class cricket against the stars of the South African game.

“This is exciting for Africa cricket and our 23 member countries. It has never happened before in Africa, it is a special and unique concept, and it will be televised through the whole continent,” Cassim Suleman, the CEO of the Africa Cricket Association, said.

Africa Cricket CEO Cassim Suleman

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener said the Global Softech Sixes will provide some competitive preparation for his team ahead of their participation in the Champions League T20.

“Any time out in the middle before the Champions League will be like gold. It’s only five overs, so our batsmen can get used to swiping from ball one, and it will be even more useful to the bowlers, who get a chance to bowl an over of yorkers. We’ll be able to see where we are in terms of our skills,” Klusener said.


Thursday, September 4: 10h00 Cobras v Knights; 10h50 Titans v Warriors; 11h40 Dolphins v Lions; 12h30 Warriors v Cobras; 13h20 Lions v Titans; 14h10 Knights v Dolphins; 15h00 Cobras v Lions; 15h50 Titans v Dolphins.

Friday, September 5: 10h00 Warriors v Knights; 10h50 Dolphins v Cobras; 11h40 Knights v Titans; 12h30 Warriors v Lions; 13h20 Titans v Cobras; 14h10 Warriors v Dolphins; 15h00 Knights v Lions; 16h10 Franchise Sixes final.

Saturday, September 6: 10h00 Kenya v Namibia; 10h50 Uganda v Tanzania; 11h40 South Africa v Zimbabwe; 12h30 Tanzania v Kenya; 13h20 Zimbabwe v Uganda; 14h10 Namibia v South Africa; 15h00 Kenya v Zimbabwe; 15h50 Uganda v South Africa.

Sunday, September 7: 10h00 Tanzania v Namibia; 10h50 South Africa v Kenya; 11h40 Namibia v Uganda; 12h30 Tanzania v Zimbabwe; 13h20 Uganda v Kenya; 14h10 Tanzania v South Africa; 15h00 Namibia v Zimbabwe; 16h10 Africa Sixes final.


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    James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

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