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Ken Borland

‘Faf able to make the tough calls’ – Rhodes 0

Posted on July 28, 2017 by Ken


Jonty Rhodes says his reluctance to make tough calls and decisions cancels out any desire to be a head coach, but he adds these exact qualities are what makes Faf du Plessis a great captain.

Rhodes captained Natal for a brief period during his playing days, but always served as a trusty lieutenant to Hansie Cronje and Shaun Pollock in the national team. Although he travels the world as a consultant coach, with fielding his area of expertise, these days, he says he has no desire to become a head coach.

“As captain I used to take things too personally. You have to make the tough calls and decisions and that’s just not my personality, I prefer being more of a motivator. And that’s also why I don’t qualify as head coach material.

“But Faf is a hard guy, he’s very strong mentally and you see it in his batting, anywhere from number three to number five. He brings that tenacity, he’s an unruffled batsman, he’s not flamboyant, he works flippen hard and plays to his strengths. He can block forever and maybe the comeback by the Proteas in the second Test, the way they just built and built the pressure on England, we didn’t give them an inch, we really grinded them, was a reflection of his character,” Rhodes told The Citizen on Wednesday at the CSA Centre of Excellence, where he was putting the national academy through their paces.

Rhodes added that with Jacques Kallis out of the picture, the Proteas had to make the tough decision to change the balance of the team by bringing in the extra frontline bowler in Chris Morris.

“For a long time we had Jacques, who was a frontline batsman at three and a frontline bowler, and not many teams have that. We maybe didn’t appreciate how blessed we were because he was like having an extra player.

“So the Proteas had to make that call. It depends on what’s best for the situation and conditions, I suppose if there’s a bit of juice in the pitch and you can afford to have one bowler less, then you can play the extra batsman. And the time to move Quinton de Kock up the order was also now, while he’s still young and strong enough to do that and keep wicket.

“He can bat with the tail as well, because he hits a high percentage of boundaries, but he can fulfil both roles. He’s totally different to the other grafters in the top-order, before you know it he has 30 and it doesn’t look like he’s taken any risks. Sometimes you just have to bat and other times you need someone to take the game away,” Rhodes said.

From Tzaneen to Tukkies, Koekemoer is relishing the step up 0

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Ken

As a boy growing up in the sub-tropical agricultural town of Tzaneen, Tian Koekemoer loved Jonty Rhodes and Dale Steyn and was used to enjoying plenty of success as one of the most talented cricketers at Merensky High School.

Despite Steyn and fellow pace bowlers Marchant de Lange and Ethy Mbhalati all coming from the Limpopo province at the northern edge of South Africa, the region is the poorest in the country, a large rural expanse of mostly tribal area, and is not known for producing many cricketers.

So despite dominating at local level and starring for the Limpopo U19 team, Koekemoer knew that he still needed to be really tested as a cricketer. That has come since he enrolled at the University of Pretoria and studied BA Languages, and started playing for the Assupol Tukkies team.

It’s a star-studded Tukkies team, the most powerful club side in the country, and Koekemoer often has to wait for an opportunity to bat or bowl.

In the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals against Steinhoff Maties, he once again sat patiently waiting for his chance to shine, bowling just two overs in each of the first two games and not getting the chance to bat.

And then the final game gave him his chance. Tukkies finally batted first, and the absence of an unwell Aiden Markram and a few errors by the top-order gave him his chance.

Koekemoer responded with a crucial innings of 19 off 11 balls that lifted Tukkies to a competitive total of 144 for nine, and he then ensured that it would be a day to really remember as he claimed three wickets to stop a strong Maties chase and win the man of the match award.

“I don’t often have to come in under pressure moments, but today I had to and I liked the challenge,” Koekemoer said after the game.

“There are only a few good cricketers in Limpopo, but in Pretoria you’re up against the whole Northerns Premier League and it was an eye-opener. I haven’t really been exposed to that level of cricket, you get used to being the only good player in your team, but this really pushes you.”

Another measure of how well Koekemoer adapts to whatever life throws at him is the fact that he has only been bowling seam since last July.

Prior to that he was an off-spinner, but he broke his finger and was unable to grip the ball and obtain as much turn as previously, so he changed to pace.

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