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Ken Borland



CSA slammed out the park too often 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken

 

If Cricket South Africa were a bowler, they would be the type that gives you an over comprising three great deliveries, beating the bat a couple of times and maybe bowling the batsman, and three rank full tosses that are hammered out of the park, and are no-balls just to make matters worse!

There are so many good things going on in CSA, so many people within that organisation who have a deep love for the game and are faithful servants of it, often at considerable cost to themselves. While those good balls are being bowled, it is easy to believe that everything in South African cricket is hunky dory and the future is bright.

Like when you go to the Centre of Excellence and National Academy in Pretoria. This is a superb facility where national teams can prepare with the latest technology at their fingertips.

The gadgets have recently been improved with the world’s most advanced batting simulator – the PitchVision Batting Studio – now installed. The high-tech bowling machine and smart lane equipped with sensors takes net batting to the next level. The simulator features a moveable bowling machine that can bowl over or around the wicket, videos of bowlers, shot-tracking, field setting and tracking of runs scored. The system also records technique for video analysis.

The batsman can set up any match scenario and bat with the realistic pressures of finding the gaps and trying to chase down a score at the death.

The technology even showed that I was planting my front leg when batting, but then a good coach could probably have pointed that out anyway. And, as I told coaches Shukri Conrad and Vincent Barnes, nobody has trapped me lbw for a long time! (Now I’m just tempting fate!)

There are lots of other good news stories around CSA at the moment, such as the thawing of relations with India. According to Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, the BCCI are keen on the idea of South Africa and India developing an icon series like the Ashes. The Proteas will be playing four Tests in India this year and the next tour to South Africa is not going to be the thoroughly inadequate shortened series which was foisted upon CSA in December 2013.

Sadly, however, there are still people in CSA who seem more intent on furthering their own agendas than the good of the game.

Despite CSA continuing to swear blind that there was nothing untoward in the selection of the team for the World Cup semi-final, that merit is the only criterion for the Proteas (except when the call is 50/50), the gathering of the cricket family this week for the CSA Awards (another example of how well they can do things) meant I was given yet more snippets of information that would seem to confirm that the side that took the field at Eden Park was not the one Russell Domingo, AB de Villiers or the selectors initially wanted.

And now, an event as happy and well-organised as the awards banquet has also been marred by the same faceless, cowardly interferers as allegations of the judges’ decisions being changed rear their ugly heads.

Two members of the judging panel confirmed to me that one of the franchise award-winners had been changed – that when they left their selection meeting, they were under the impression that a different player had won.

The last thing I want to do is cast aspersions on the ability and class of Robin Peterson (poor Vernon Philander was shamefully treated by the World Cup fiasco), whom I rate highly and believe should be in the Test squad ahead of Aaron Phangiso, but apparently he was the third-choice for the Momentum One-Day Cup Player of the Season, behind Dean Elgar and Andrew Puttick.

So the last week has pretty much summed up CSA’s performance in general: leading the field in many ways, like the centre of excellence in Pretoria, enjoying the support of an ever-growing list of sponsors and putting on superb events, but then also shooting themselves in the foot through dishonesty and backroom dealings. It felt like a family gathering this week, even if the family is dysfunctional at times, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some members who really would be better suited to Fifa than cricket administration.

Experience will matter a great deal at Sun City 0

Posted on January 09, 2015 by Ken

Defending champion Thomas Bjorn says that as middle age nears for golfers, so thoughts begin of when their careers will end, but if the last half-dozen years at Sun City have shown anything, it’s that experience matters a great deal when it comes to winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge that starts today.

In that time, Henrik Stenson, Robert Allenby, Lee Westwood and Bjorn himself have all triumphed at Gary Player Country Club and the Dane said the confidence and self-belief he gained from last year’s win was a massive boost for his career.

“It was certainly a big boost for me, it gave me the belief that I could make another Ryder Cup team, that on really tough courses I can still compete with the best, the game is still there.

“I have a good eye for the course and hopefully I can put up a strong defence, but somebody will kick-start the 2015 year in a great way here,” the 43-year-old Bjorn said yesterday.

The previous two winners of the title, Kaymer and Westwood, are both in the elite 30-man field that tees off this morning at 10.10am and the Englishman is certainly in a confident mood.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win it a couple of times and it’s a great title to win. I’ve been coming here since 1997 and it’s a championship I’ve always held in very high regard and wanted to win. Ernie Els beat me in a play-off in 2000, and my worst finish is sixth in the nine times I’ve played here, so I seem to have played well. I’ve shot some low scores, such as the 62 in 2011 when I won. I was 17-under-par in 2010 when I also won. And I think Ernie and I were tied at 20-under when we played off in 2000.

“So my scoring average is pretty good round here and I’ve been looking forward to this week for a while. Hopefully I can play as well as I did a few years ago,” Westwood said.

There’s no doubt 2012 winner Kaymer would like to add to his collection of titles which includes two major crowns and 11 European Tour wins, while South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Tim Clark are desperate to win on home soil in what amounts to their home major.

Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson, who finished tied second last year, is amongst the other contenders to watch, along with former world number one Luke Donald and the in-form Brooks Koepka and Joost Luiten.

 

 



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