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Ken Borland

The ICC: Growing and promoting cricket and making all the wrong decisions 0

Posted on July 26, 2017 by Ken


On their own website, the International Cricket Council state their vision as custodians and administrators of the game.

They say it is to “lead the continued drive towards more competitive, entertaining and meaningful cricket for players and fans. We will grow the sport by creating more opportunities for more people and nations to enjoy it and increase the competitiveness of international cricket at all levels. We will promote cricket by delivering exciting and engaging global events, attracting new and diverse fans and building long-term successful commercial partnerships. And finally, we will continue to make considerable efforts to protect the integrity of the sport.”

It’s all good and well that that is their vision, but unfortunately the ICC have a notorious history of almost inevitably making the wrong decision when it comes to the good of cricket.

The citing and subsequent suspension of Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for the second Test against England, which started in Nottingham on Friday, is a case in point.

Yes, Rabada was a naughty boy for swearing on the field. Thank heavens the ICC are stamping down on such behaviour that clearly poses a major threat to the game. I look forward to the day when they have undercover agents patrolling the stands, banning spectators who swear. I am sure, too, that the ICC will be putting pressure on their beloved broadcast partners to ensure they do not show movies with any of that vile language on their channels. Standards are standards after all.

Rabada was not suspended for swearing per se, of course, but rather because the one demerit point he was given took him to the threshold of four points that brings with it a one-match ban. The majority of those four points came from an incident in January when he shoved Sri Lankan batsman Niroshan Dickwella.

It is important, of course, to ensure decent standards of player behaviour, but there are better remedies than removing a star player from a crucial game in a high-profile series. Cricket is ultimately the loser this week as those watching the Trent Bridge clash are denied the joy of watching a great fast bowler locking horns with some fine batsmen. Rabada versus the combative Ben Stokes is always compelling viewing, and a fast bowler with fire has always been one of the best sights in cricket.

Instead of devaluing their own product, which is in desperate need of proper marketing, why does the ICC not rather fine players for their misdemeanours? I know some people will say the cricketers earn so much they don’t care about paying thousands of Rands in fines, but my experience of contract negotiations and the general behaviour of players shows they care just as much about money as the rest of us do.

The ICC have far more important things to worry about than a swear word uttered in the heat of combat.

Justice has been swift in Rabada’s case, but when are the ICC going to put in place a proper structure and context for international cricket? Their incompetence in this regard is putting their premier product – Test cricket – at risk. They have put their heads together innumerable times to discuss this issue and yet they have still come up with nothing. It’s enough to make a puritan want to swear.

In England, at this time of year, the sun stays up right into what we (except for those living in Cape Town, which is part of Europe anyway) would consider night – at 8pm it is still quite bright enough to play cricket. But in the first Test at Lord’s, those in the paying seats and those watching in their lounges did not see the prescribed 90 overs of play on any of the four days of play.

I get a little tired of some of the obsession about over-rates, because, if it’s a gripping contest, nobody cares if a team is bowling 12 overs per hour or 14. But if the conditions allow it, then play should continue for as long as necessary to get the prescribed overs in.

What brought the game of cricket more into disrepute – Rabada’s outburst or the actions of the match officials in Durban in 2016 when a Test against New Zealand was abandoned in bright sunshine with both teams keen to play?

The ICC, in their ivory tower, are firmly in the corner of their officials even when they are ensuring there is no cricket.

Impossible for the ICC Awards to ignore AB 0

Posted on December 06, 2014 by Ken

AB de Villiers made it impossible for the International Cricket Council’s enumerators who decide on the nominees for their annual awards to ignore him and South Africa’s ODI captain was yesterday duly announced as one of four candidates for the ICC Cricketer of the Year award as well as being shortlisted in the individual one-day international category.

De Villiers will go up against Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and Sri Lankan run-machines Angelo Mathews and Kumar Sangakkara for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy that goes to the best cricketer overall between August 26, 2013 and September 17, 2014.

Fellow South Africans Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn, as well as Indian batting star Virat Kohli, will be his rivals for the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award.

Hopefully the judges will also take into account the fact that De Villiers has been keeping wicket exceptionally well while starring with the bat. Scoring 932 runs in 10 Tests at an average of 54.80 and 963 runs in 20 ODIs at an average of over 60 is great work in anyone’s book.

The fiery Johnson enjoyed a phenomenal haul of 59 wickets from his eight Tests in the period under review, three of which were against world number ones South Africa, while Sangakkara gathered 1502 runs from 11 Tests, with four centuries, and Mathews, who took over the Sri Lankan captaincy from Mahela Jayawardene, averaged 92 in Tests and just under 54 in ODIs.

De Kock’s five centuries in ODIs during the qualifying period, including three in a row against India, made him a certainty for the ODI shortlist but how he was not named amongst the four for the Emerging Player of the Year award is a mystery. Instead Kiwis and Englishmen dominate that category, with Jimmy Neesham, Corey Anderson, Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes nominated.

Steyn ended the visits to the crease of 36 batsmen in 16 ODIs and had an economy rate of just 4.32 runs-per-over, and was selected to the ICC Test Team of the Year for a record seventh successive year, while the honour has gone to De Villiers for the fifth time.

De Kock has joined that duo in the ICC ODI XI of the year to give South Africa equal-most representation with India – captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami.

Amazingly, Hashim Amla has failed to crack the nod for any ICC awards this year.


Exonerated Lorgat objects to media treatment 0

Posted on March 14, 2014 by Ken

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on Thursday that he objected to sections of the media finding him guilty without trial after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that they had exonerated him of any wrongdoing surrounding the media statement criticising ICC governance made last October by their former legal advisor David Becker.

An independent adjudicator commissioned by the ICC cleared Lorgat of knowing about the Becker media statement and its contents prior to its initial distribution; of being

involved in the preparation of the statement; or of attempting to persuade a number of different journalists to delay or withdraw the Becker story by offering to do something for them in return, allegedly bribing and eventually threatening the journalists.

“Being exonerated is no surprise to me because I knew exactly what I had done and what I had not done, and I knew that I would not fail myself nor cricket in South Africa,” Lorgat told a news conference at the Wanderers on Thursday.

“But I am gravely disappointed that I was found guilty in the media and I seriously expect an apology and then we can move on. A lot of things were said about me even before the investigation began.

“It’s an opportunity for the media to reflect on how fairly and accurately they have done their job. I call on the media to report fairly on Cricket South Africa, some people just use a sledgehammer and it brings their own organisations into disrepute. The media ought to be accountable for what they write, just like I am accountable for what I do,” Lorgat continued.

While Lorgat did not want to ascribe the investigation to the machinations surrounding the so-called takeover of the ICC by the ‘Big Three’, he confirmed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had been one of the parties that offered to drop the charges during the debate over the changes in the structure of world cricket’s governing body.

“The CSA president, Chris Nenzani, was involved in those talks and he has confirmed that offers to drop the investigation were made at the time of the ICC revamp discussions. We made it very clear though that there would be no deals, but it showed that the BCCI and many other board members had already moved on because they knew what the outcome of the investigation would be. Thankfully we continued with it, however, because now my name has been cleared,” Lorgat said.

Lorgat is now free to involve himself fully in all ICC business and dealings with the BCCI, but he said his suspension from these activities had not particularly affected CSA.

“I don’t believe that it affected South African cricket to a great extent. I was involved in many discussions on the sidelines and I missed just one chief executives’ meeting, but I was in Dubai at the time and was discussing all the issues outside the meeting,” Lorgat said.

Nenzani said in the CSA statement released earlier on Thursday that the board had maintained the utmost confidence in Lorgat throughout the investigation.

“As we expected, all the allegations have been dismissed and the board would like to reiterate its full trust and confidence in Mr. Lorgat as its chief executive. To date the board has been satisfied and indeed impressed with the progress made under his leadership.

“It is also clear that allegations and insinuations made against Mr. Lorgat by certain journalists were unprofessional and do not fall within the bounds of fair or justifiable comment. I hope these individuals or their organisations will now have the courage to issue an apology to both Mr. Lorgat and CSA,” Nenzani said.

Subrayen’s rapid recovery after falling foul of ICC rules 0

Posted on July 15, 2013 by Ken

With all the varieties of delivery being bowled today – and the pressure to develop them – spinners these days run the risk of falling foul of the International Cricket Council’s rules on fair actions and specifically the 15 degree stipulation.

Sunfoil Dolphins off-spinner Prenelan Subrayen was the latest to be reported for a suspicious action, leading to remedial work and a rapid return to the field for the KwaZulu-Natal side, the 19-year-old playing an important role in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge campaign.

Subrayen’s problems started last August when he went to the ICC U19 World Cup in Australia. His action came under scrutiny after he played all six of South Africa’s matches on their way to the semi-finals, taking seven wickets at an average of just 14.42 and conceding only 2.43 runs per over.

Tests by both the Australian Institute of Sport and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa deemed Subrayen’s action to be illegal and in December he was sent back to his province to undergo rehabilitation.

The doosra is normally the delivery that causes problems, but in the case of Subrayen, it was his changes of pace that caused his elbow to bend beyond 15 degrees when bowling.

“I have the leggie, but no I don’t have the doosra. I only have three different balls and it was my variation of pace that was causing my elbow to bend,” Subrayen said.

The youngster took what is quite probably the worst news a bowler can get in his stride, and the fact that he was able to play for his club and the Dolphins side in the Franchise Cubs Week as a specialist batsman made all the difference.

“It was a shock, but not in a bad way. I took it as positive criticism and it made me work harder. I’ve had issues before, I’ve been tested before and it helped in a big way that I was still able to play as a batsman. I wasn’t totally torn away from the cricket field and I was able to keep my mind fresh and in the game,” Subrayen said.

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener, who worked with assistant coach Rivash Gobind and former Natal coach Phil Russell in rectifying Subrayen’s action, said the fact that the Glenwood High School product is so mature and has a very good understanding of his action ensured that the process took less than two months.

“Prenelan’s extremely mature for a 19-year-old and he knows exactly how his body works in terms of his action. That made the corrective work much easier and enabled the problem to get sorted ASAP.

“Normally it only happens when a bowler is 25 or 26 that they work out how their body feels, whether they’re falling over or not, whether they can self-correct or not. I get the feeling that Prenelan can already do that,” Klusener said.

After spending some time under the watchful eye of the trio of KZN coaches, Subrayen then travelled to Cape Town with the Dolphins as the 12th man for a four-day game against the Cobras, allowing High Performance Manager Vincent Barnes the chance to work with him and give the go-ahead for the Verulam lad to be tested again.

“Initially the testing is done at their home base with every bowling session being videoed and every change being monitored. You can’t do it with the naked eye, you have to go back and compare the videos. The High Performance staff then work with the bowler for four to six days and when we think he’s ready for the final test, only then do we use the better cameras at the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town,” Barnes said.

“The bowler has to groove his new action, he has to learn it, he has to feel it,” the former Proteas bowling coach said.

“It wasn’t something very difficult to change, it was more about my feet positioning. The younger you are, the better you can change because as you get older, you get more used to your illegal action,” Subrayen said.

Apart from the hard work of Klusener, Gobind, Russell and Barnes, as well as previous input from specialist spin coaches Shafiek Abrahams and Paul Adams, Subrayen said he couldn’t have sailed through the process without the support of his parents, especially father Kugan, the Level III-certified head coach of Verulam Cricket Club.

But it clearly helps that Subrayen is a player who understands his action so well and Klusener has high hopes for his young charge.

“He potentially has 20 years of spin bowling left and he’s exceptionally talented. He knows what he wants to achieve and he’s a good batsman too, people will see that in time. The key is that he knows what he’s doing with the ball,” Klusener said.

The Subrayen case was complicated by the badly dislocated shoulder he suffered several years ago, but with the shoulder now at pretty much 100%, the jerkiness in his action gone and the experience from the hard school of knocks adding to the natural talent he undoubtedly has, the future is bright for the disciplined, but passionate youngster.




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