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Ken Borland

CSA & anti-corruption unit have been methodical & efficient 0

Posted on December 26, 2016 by Ken


Cricket South Africa and the chairman of their anti-corruption unit, former Judge President Bernard Ngoepe, need to be congratulated for the methodical and efficient manner in which they have dealt with the attempts to fix matches during last season’s T20 competition, resulting this week in Alviro Petersen joining ringleader Gulam Bodi and Jean Symes, Pumelela Matshikwe, Ethy Mbhalati and Thami Tsolekile as players who have received bans.

Petersen accepted a ban of two years this week and his was the most complex of the cases, the former Proteas batsman being both whistleblower and conspirator, both helpful and obstructive to the investigators.

That half-a-dozen players have now successfully been prosecuted – with just one more high-profile name believed to be on the radar – points to the systematic, detailed work of Ngoepe’s anti-corruption unit. There had been pressure on them early on in the investigations to speed up the process and some of the guilty were also politically-sensitive figures, but they ensured they followed due process every step of the way, even if it meant there was no news for a baying public for periods of time.

The acquittal of former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns on matchfixing charges last November really upped the ante in terms of the evidence required by cricket administrators looking to pursue successful prosecutions of those involved in corruption and CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat and Ngoepe and his staff have handled the latest South African case with the delicacy and precision of a surgeon.

While Petersen claims he raised the alarm about the nefarious activities Bodi was putting into play, the investigators always had questions about the 36-year-old’s continued involvement in the scheme. Did he pull out because he wasn’t going to get enough money out of the scam?

Petersen was implicated by the evidence of his co-accused as well as his actions in destroying key evidence, believed to be his cellphone records, and has basically been found guilty of that and of not immediately reporting the suspicious activities. Perhaps by trying to be the hero and bypassing the rules which all cricketers should know, he has probably ended his professional career.

It is fair to say Petersen is not well-liked by most of his team-mates, I have heard him referred to as “Lord Voldemort”, and, probably due to a really tough upbringing in the Port Elizabeth township of Gelvandale, he is a bristly, difficult character, always on the defensive.

Coming from a really poor background, perhaps the drive to make “easy” money was too strong; or perhaps his desire to be the hero and singlehandedly destroy Bodi’s matchfixing ring turned into hubris.

Perhaps he is guilty of merely showing poor judgement, something all of us suffer from at times, but he has paid a terrible price in his name being tarnished and losing two of his twilight years as a player, particularly in English county cricket, where he has been a prolific and highly-valued run-scorer for Lancashire.

But that’s the penalty under a system that rightly operates under a zero tolerance principle and no professional cricketer can claim that they are uneducated about the anti-corruption measures.

Petersen’s punishment is par for the course for what he did and thankfully he has accepted it without the need for protracted hearings and appeals. This frees up the anti-corruption unit to now zoom in on a former international pace bowler with especially strong political connections.

Perhaps they have left the toughest case to last.

Gayle & Symes say their partnership was key 0

Posted on December 07, 2014 by Ken

Chris Gayle and Jean Symes each have their own way of going about things but both batsmen agreed that it was their partnership that was the key factor in the Highveld Lions opening their RamSlam T20 Challenge campaign with a victory over the defending champions, the Dolphins, in the triple-header at the Wanderers last weekend.

While everyone sympathises with bowlers in the shortest version of the game, there is tremendous pressure on batsmen as well, with double-figure run-rates expected as a norm even under the pressure of a chase. Gayle, arguably the foremost T20 batsman in the world, says partnerships are the key despite his own reputation for single-handedly destroying teams.

“When you lose a couple of early wickets then there’s always even more pressure, but with Symes we were able to build a big partnership, which is very important. If you have a large partnership, then you have a good chance of winning the game,” Gayle said at the Wanderers nets on Wednesday..

“But then I got out at a crucial time, which could’ve cost us the game, and as batsmen we need to maintain our discipline as much as possible. But thanks to Symes we managed to get there in the end.”

“It was a bit different batting with a world-class batsman like Chris, he didn’t say much, just ‘keep batting mon’. We chased well though and getting a partnership going is the key. I just wanted to get him on strike and watch from the other end as he unleashed the fury,” Symes said.

The pair came together in the fourth over with the home side struggling on 36 for three, with Gayle belting 56 off 38 balls to set up victory, but it was Symes who took the Lions home with a beautifully-paced 58 not out off 50 balls.

“It’s nice to come in earlier and have more time to construct an innings, it’s not that easy just coming in and swinging. I’m not really that sort of player, I like more time. For me cricket is about playing decent shots and getting rewarded for them,” Symes said.

The Lions, who have made a strong start to the season with just three defeats in nine matches, next play the Chevrolet Warriors on Friday, with the struggling Eastern Cape side suffering a 74-run thrashing at the hands of the Knights at the Wanderers.

But before writing off the Warriors’ chances, it’s important to note that the match will be played in East London, where conditions are far removed from what the Lions are used to up on the Highveld.

“The type of decks you get on the coast, especially in East London or Port Elizabeth, suit the Warriors better, they know the right lengths and areas to bowl on those pitches,” Symes pointed out.

The fans at Buffalo Park will no doubt be looking forward to the match as they get the chance to experience the magic and charm of Chris Gayle first-hand.

The laid-back Jamaican knows his job is not only to win matches for the Lions, who have been very welcoming, but also to entertain.

“They are like family now and I have picked up a few dance moves from them, it’s a very jovial bunch. I was actually fined for my performance after the first game (Gayle also took four wickets) and was the first one to drink a beer in the fines meeting.

“I’m hungry to perform for the franchise, to take the team to the Champions League and make the fans happy. They have given me a fantastic reception. They come to be entertained and I’m very sad when that does not happen. I want to give back to them as much as possible,” Gayle said.

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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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    "I wait upon God to renew my mind, to make me creative, instead of becoming the clanging cymbal that Paul spoke of." - Paul Tournier

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