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Ken Borland



Response of smaller wings to space the key factor – Paulse 0

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Ken

 

How a smaller wing responds when his opposite number is given space is the key factor when it comes to defence out wide, former Springbok great Breyton Paulse says.

Although the Springboks registered three convincing victories over France, questions have been raised over whether the relatively small back three of Raymond Rhule (1.87m, 83kg), Andries Coetzee (1.81m, 86kg) and Courtnall Skosan (1.83m, 92kg) will be able to handle the massive South Sea Islander wings that predominate in New Zealand and Australia.

It is a question Paulse, who stood just 1.78 metres tall and weighed 80kg during his playing days, often had to answer himself, but he was never disgraced during his 64 Tests for South Africa, despite having to play against man-mountains like Joeli Vidiri and Jonah Lomu.

“The key is to play smart and not be kamikaze. You have to anticipate very well and when you see space then you have to close that down as soon as possible. On the wing, you only have a one-on-one with the person you’re marking probably once or twice a game, so I’m not sure why people go on about it all the time.

“But you have to be aware all the time, and intelligent, like a Ben Smith. The big guys can run over you, but a smaller player has more speed so he must use it to close that space as soon as possible. But the outside centre is also key, I was fortunate to play with Jaque Fourie, who was one of the best defenders, and you get used to how each other defends,” Paulse told Saturday Citizen at a Players’ Fund and SA Rugby Legends Association training day for the Vuka development programme.

Paulse added that Coetzee, Rhule and Skosan faced all the All Blacks and Australian wingers in SuperRugby and that there had not been major problems at that level.

“I have no worries about our back three because they play against those guys in SuperRugby week in and week out. They’ve all faced massive wingers in that competition. Someone like Courtnall Skosan has proven himself to be lethal on both attack and defence and he’s very good in the air,” Paulse said.

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20170624/282355449747840

Proteas’ formula for success may come under threat 0

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Ken

Each highly successful Test team through the ages has had their specific formula for success  – think the West Indies and their fast bowlers or Australia and their aggressive batsmen setting the platform for Warne and McGrath to wheel away – and the current Proteas have always insisted that playing seven specialist batsmen has been a key factor in their climb to number one in the rankings.

But that philosophy may came under threat at SuperSport Park today when the first Test against the West Indies gets underway.

That’s largely due to the absence of the injured JP Duminy, which affects the balance of the Test side almost as much as the ODI outfit. An all-pace attack and seven specialist batsmen has been possible with Duminy there to bowl his tidy off-spin, but without him the options are either to have three pacemen and Robin Peterson, four quicks and no spinner save for Dean Elgar, or to go in with six specialist batsmen and play both the extra fast bowler and Peterson.

Although the seamers do traditionally bowl the bulk of the overs in Centurion, there have been occasions in the last five years when South Africa have relied heavily on spin – in both innings against Australia last season (22 and 31% of the overs bowled); in the second innings against India in 2010/11 (23%) and in both innings against England in 2009/10 (38 and 35%).

So there will be a reluctance to go into the Test, despite the rain around Gauteng on Tuesday and however grassy the pitch may be on the first day, without a specialist spinner.

“There might be a cracking blue sky at the game tomorrow so we’re not sure what our combination will be. We’ll see what happens on the day,” was all Hashim Amla, who will captain South Africa for the first time in a home Test, was willing to offer on Tuesday.

AB de Villiers was a bit more forthcoming, however.

“It’s the biggest decision management will have to make,” De Villiers said. “Centurion normally doesn’t turn that much which makes you feel that you can maybe go with that extra seamer, but with the team we are playing against, it might not be a bad idea to play a spinner. I’m pretty sure management will be tempted to play an all-pace attack though.”

For Dale Steyn, an extra batsman was important, despite the extra workload that would place on the stalwart fast bowler.

“It can be a bit sporty on day one, a bit slow, the last time we played here against Australia was crazy because it went up and down, but then in previous Tests it flattened out,” he said. “It was hard work to bowl teams out. Our batsmen were very dominant so it gave us enough time.”

The last time South Africa played the West Indies at SuperSport Park – in January 2004 – the tourists were tenderised by an opening stand of 301 between Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs, followed by a Jacques Kallis century. Makhaya Ntini then took eight wickets in the match as the follow-on was enforced, resulting in a 10-wicket victory. Part-timers Smith and Jacques Rudolph were the Proteas’ spinners, bowling just 19.4 overs in the Test.

Steyn wasn’t quite laughing when he said: “I don’t think it really matters whether we play the spinner or the seamer, I think we’ll still do okay” – but the formbook and history both suggest the West Indies should be outclassed.

They are a formidable limited-overs outfit, but targeting cow-corner doesn’t often work as a strategy in Test cricket and few people will stake a fortune on the West Indies winning. One well-known bookmaker is offering odds of 1/33 that South Africa will win if there is a result in the match.

Even West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin was not sounding hugely confident on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be very challenging, we’re up against the number one team so they must be doing something very good to be on top, plus they’re at home. We need to be more consistent, especially our batting which has not been up to scratch lately. In the field we need to minimise our mistakes, not bowl so many bad balls and make sure our slip catching is up to par. If we perform well against the number one team, we should get credit for that. We will take it one step at a time and do our best,” Ramdin said.

While the West Indies are an inexperienced team with seven of their squad having played less than 10 Tests, South Africa will have just one greenhorn in action.

Stiaan van Zyl has staked his claim for a Test berth with a Sunfoil Series average of 49.57 and Amla admitted there was “a very good chance” of him playing, although he won’t bat at seven.

Let’s hope the silky strokeplay of the left-hander is employed at number six – specialist batsmen need to have the responsibility of batting in the top six – with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock at seven.

There is speculation, however, that Van Zyl might replace Alviro Petersen at the top of the order, thereby enabling South Africa to play four pacemen and a spinner, with Vernon Philander batting at seven.

Petersen has put himself in the firing line by not exactly scoring a keg-full of runs lately, with just one half-century in his last 10 innings, and he has yet to play any four-day cricket for the Highveld Lions this season.

Squads

South Africa: Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Stiaan van Zyl, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada.

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith, Leon Johnson, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jason Holder, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Sulieman Benn, Shannon Gabriel, Asad Fudadin, Jermaine Blackwood, Chadwick Walton.

 

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.

http://citizen.co.za/269949/partnerships-key-says-master-blaster-gayle/

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