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Ken Borland

Nella says he won’t be roaring off the field as new Easterns coach 0

Posted on February 02, 2017 by Ken


Former Proteas pace bowler Andre Nel is the new coach of the Easterns team and says you’re not nearly as likely to hear him roaring from off the field as you were likely to hear him on the field during his playing days.

“It’s hard not being as fiery, but my job is to understand and manage the players, look after them well and get the best out of them. I’m pretty laid back, but discipline, respect and never giving up are things I won’t compromise on. I want them to be fiery,” Nel says.

The 37-year-old, who played 36 Tests and 79 ODIs for South Africa, has been coaching at school and academy level and sees the Easterns appointment as his breakthrough first job at senior level.

“When you’ve played with that much passion, it’s hard to just take yourself out of competition. For me it was more about passion than aggression and so once I stopped playing I started coaching at schools and the academy. My biggest advantage is that I know and understand how the players think and what their needs are. And they respect me too because they know I’ve done it myself, I know how cricket works,” Nel says.


Nel said his long-time mentor, Ray Jennings, would be helping him at Easterns, especially in terms of setting up structures and improving the discipline.

“The big thing at Easterns is that there’s no special schools identified, we need to pick three or four feeders and try and develop those. Plus we need tertiary institutions to keep players in the system and create an academy that works.

“It will take time, but it’s a lot more than just coaching, we’ve got to get the structures right. We’ve also already spoken about club facilities, which are poor and don’t give players the best opportunity to show what they can do. And we need to make Willowmoore Park somewhere where we can proud of too. Others hate coming there, but we must be proud of our office,” Nel says.

And, in terms of on-the-field action and his own area of expertise – bowling, Nel says for him the yorker is a much under-utilised skill.

“Batting skill has moved so far forward with guys playing reverse-sweeps and laps, but bowling skill seems to be standing still. The slower-ball bouncer and slower yorker are both old news and we need to try and figure out what we can do to bring a different dimension to bowling.

“We need to be able to nail the yorker, but nobody in South Africa seems able to bowl it on demand. We’re a bit predictable; yes, the yorker is hard to bowl, but it’s a dying art.

“The laws are all conducive to batting, so maybe in the powerplay the bowlers should be able to choose whether they want to bowl with a new or an old ball … ” Nel says.


Black cricket in Titans area dates back to 19th century 0

Posted on January 01, 2015 by Ken

Black cricket was already being played in the Titans’ catchment area of Northerns and Easterns in the 19th century, with a record of a match between the Elandsfontein Diggers from Germiston and Doornfontein in 1898.

In 1932, Brakpan and Sub Nigel were playing in the first league for the Mangena Cup, while Brakpan East were in the second division. By 1937 there were more than 50 black clubs in the area between Randfontein and Nigel and the Transvaal Coloured Cricket Union featured a team from Pretoria – Brotherly United – as one of the six affiliates that competed for the Shahabodien Cup.

The 1940s saw the formation of the North-Eastern Transvaal African Board and they won the Transvaal Inter-Race Trophy in 1952/53 as well as their interprovincial tournament in 1953/54 and 1954/55. By then the North-Eastern Transvaal Bantu Cricket Union, the Eastern Transvaal Indian and Coloured Cricket Association, the Eastern Transvaal Indian Cricket Union and the Northern Transvaal Indian Cricket Union were all playing under the auspices of the Johannesburg Inter-Race Board.

If there was one person who epitomised the strength of black cricket in those days, it was Julius ‘Genius’ Mahanjana of North-Eastern Transvaal, who captained the national African team from 1955-1958. Born in Middledrift, in the heartland of Black African cricket in the Eastern Cape, he grew up at Modder B in Benoni, where his father worked. Julius excelled in all sports and his brothers Justin and Japhta also played for the national team.

The name Mahanjana actually entered into the local cricketing lexicon thanks to Japhtha ‘Super’ Mahanjana, who salvaged a famous draw for Natal against his brother Julius’s North-Eastern Transvaal side in the IPT in December 1956 in Port Elizabeth. Natal were set 245 to win in four hours, but a draw would deny North-Eastern Transvaal a place in the final and ‘Super’ Mahanjana opened the batting and batted through to secure the draw. He usually used to change to a long-handled bat once he was set at the crease, but on that occasion he stuck with the short handle to sum up his defiant mood. The saying Yi draw Mahanjana,“It is a Mahanjana draw”, comes from that day.

Their star contemporaries were batsman Eric Fihla and the fast bowling pair of Gidi and Mashinqana.

But the oppression of Apartheid and forced removals was starting to gather momentum and black cricket became isolated and fragmented. Places such as Hammanskraal, Mamelodi, Marabastad, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and Eersterus would become the homes of the game in the black community.

The end of Apartheid and the unity process would bring cricketers from all those places back into the fold and the likes of Nqaba Matoti, Ernest Mokoenenyane and the Mokonyamas were the trailblazers who appeared in provincial cricket for Northerns in the 1990s.


Geopolitical boundaries likely to be used in SA cricket 0

Posted on December 13, 2014 by Ken

Residents of Gauteng have become accustomed to three different cricket unions – the Gauteng Cricket Board, Northerns Cricket Union and Easterns Cricket Union – controlling the game in the province, but this is likely to change as Cricket South Africa accede to Sascoc’s demand that the sport be administered along the same lines as the geopolitical boundaries of the country.

People in the Cape can expect the same change as Eastern Province, Border and Kei will need to merge into a single Eastern Cape controlling body, while Western Province, Boland and South-Western Districts will need to do the same in the Western Cape.

That change is along already-existing franchise lines, and KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Northern Cape (Griqualand West team) will be in a similar position. But Gauteng will need to reorganise itself because there are two franchises – the Highveld Lions and Titans – based in that province.

CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat confirmed that the change is in the offing, but added that they can still keep their same franchise and competition structure.

“That’s the next big thing we are planning, we might have to change the demarcations of our unions to mirror the geopolitical boundaries. But we can still have the same franchises and semi-professional teams and it won’t affect our competitions.

“But we’ll need to have nine controlling bodies from each of the provinces. So the Lions and Titans can still play and be run as separate teams, but they’ll need to have an overall Gauteng board above them,” Lorgat explained to The Citizen at the announcement of Momentum’s R475 000 backing of the academy at the University of Fort Hare in Alice.

Lorgat was critical of government’s support for grassroots development at that function but said the new geopolitically-aligned structure can improve the relationship between CSA and the state.

“It can be beneficial because then the unions can go to provincial government as one entity. I think it will help because then the provincial government is just dealing with one board. At the moment, the Titans, Lions and Easterns all go to the Gauteng provincial government for assistance and maybe they don’t know who to help?” Lorgat said.

At the moment, government expects CSA to fill their teams with previously disadvantaged players, but offers scant support in terms of the infrastructure that is essential to achieving that. Even the academy at Fort Hare, in the heartland of Black African cricket, has received nothing from the state.

“People think transformation is about black and white, but in my view Lance Klusener and Dale Steyn are both transformation products because they come from remote, rural areas. If it wasn’t for these programs, like our joint venture at the University of Fort Hare, then these jewels would not be found. We have not yet unlocked the potential in our country,” Lorgat said.


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