for quality writing

Ken Borland



Is everyone there on merit? One wonders … 0

Posted on November 17, 2016 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has assured their stakeholders that selection for the national team will only be on merit and this week signed a new transformation agreement with Sascoc and the Department of Sports and Recreation in which they are apparently the only sporting code that has not agreed to quotas at the highest level.

CSA’s attitude is that the system must provide the national team with black players on merit, which is why they are aggressively pursuing quotas at domestic level.

It is also believed that CSA have met with the Proteas and have clarified with them that there was no interference in selection at the World Cup and that there won’t be targets in future.

But the squads announced for the tour of Bangladesh in July do make one wonder.

Reeza Hendricks and Aaron Phangiso have been picked for the Test squad, while Kagiso Rabada has leapfrogged Kyle Abbott in the fast-bowling pecking order.

I have the utmost respect as cricketers for them, but logic suggests the selectors were not looking at purely on-field performance in making these decisions.

Hendricks is undoubtedly a bright talent and I fully support him being involved in the limited-overs squads. But the figures show that Hendricks is not yet ready to be a Test opener. His first-class franchise batting average is just 34.55 with three centuries in 20 matches. Last season he averaged just 31.76, half what Highveld Lions opener Stephen Cook managed.

Cook has scored 10 centuries in the last two seasons, while Cobras opener Andrew Puttick has averaged 49.27 and 40.23 in the last two Sunfoil Series season. The fact that these two prolific batsman can’t make the side when an opening batsman is required and yet someone whose performances in the same competition are far inferior only adds fuel to the fire that is raging around selection for the national team.

The cynic in me believes that Phangiso’s selection for the Test squad is to make up for the appalling manner in which he was treated at the World Cup that saw him not play a single game.

Both Phangiso and Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana have gone on record as saying that the 31-year-old still needs a lot of work in the longer format and five wickets at an average of 67 in the Sunfoil Series shows that is the case.

Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said that they wanted a left-arm spinner for the squad and there is a ready-made, experienced, proven option in Robin Peterson.

As far as Rabada goes, I am certain that he will be a great fast bowler for South Africa in all formats, but what has Abbott done wrong?

Lady Luck always has her say when it comes to cricket, but Abbott has been one of the most unfortunate players in the country for a while now.

As a unit, the Proteas have been exceptionally strong in the Test arena, but the pain of the World Cup loss was all too obvious and whether CSA’s clearing-the-air session with the players was enough remains to be seen. They maintain that the only affirmative action when it comes to selection is if there is a 50/50 choice between two players, then the player of colour will get the benefit.

Was Hendricks being preferred to Cook really a 50/50 call? Phangiso over Peterson and Rabada ahead of Abbott?

A Bangladesh tour was never exactly looked forward to and this time the challenges will be even greater on the field. The Proteas will be asked tougher questions than ever before by Bangladesh on their home turf, while questions still swirl around their selection.

 

What I’m looking forward to in the Springbok squad announcement 0

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Ken

The Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour to Europe will be announced on Monday and I will be looking forward to half-a-dozen Black Africans being named in the 36-man group, all of them entirely on merit.

The Springboks will be playing against Ireland, England, Italy and Wales and will be in action from November 8-29. The final Test, against Wales in Cardiff, will be played without any overseas-based players, but from the first-choice 23 that only rules out Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Schalk Burger and Bakkies Botha.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the tour will be whether the Springboks can adapt the fast-paced game they seemed to have mastered by beating the All Blacks in their last match to the heavier fields of Europe. It’s important to remember that this is a dress rehearsal for the World Cup because it’s the last time South Africa will play in the United Kingdom before that showpiece tournament starts next September, so there will be limited experimentation.

I’m looking forward to Lwazi Mvovo getting a run on the wing in that Test against Wales, which could also see Western Province flyer and former Springbok Sevens star Seabelo Senatla on the bench as he embarks on the next step of what will surely be a stellar international career.

After all the speculation and comments before the game against New Zealand, there’s no doubt Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje was on trial at Ellis Park and he came through with flying colours with a great all-round display. After plying his trade on the University of the Free State fields a year ago, he can now look forward to strutting his stuff on the famous turf of Twickenham, Lansdowne Road and the Millenium Stadium.

Trevor Nyakane should also be on the bench as cover for the estimable Tendai Mtawarira, while the third hooker behind Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss will surely be either Scarra Ntubeni or Bongi Mbonambi now that Schalk Brits is out injured.

The total number of players of colour should be 11 as the Springboks slowly but surely move towards properly representing the demographics of South Africa.

Coach Heyneke Meyer has held his cards close to his chest, but what he has divulged is that the selectors met two weeks ago to discuss the squad so brilliant displays out of the blue in the Currie Cup knockout rounds are unlikely to influence the composition of the squad. The fact that the squad will be announced on Monday and not directly after the Currie Cup final is further indication that Meyer wants to move away from selections based on a fortnight of brilliance.

Nevertheless, he could well want to gather more information on key Lions players like Jaco Kriel, Julian Redelinghuys, Schalk van der Merwe, Ruan Dreyer and Marnitz Boshoff.

He has already gathered some insight into the likes of Senatla, Rudy Paige, Nizaam Carr and Mbonambi at training camps in the last month and they are all in line for their first Springbok call-ups.

Questions that Meyer will also look to get answered during the tour are:

  • Is Handre Pollard still the best choice at flyhalf when conditions call for a more tactical game?;
  • if Ruan Pienaar is still struggling with injury, who is the next best scrumhalf?;
  • What is the best loose trio balance, both starting and on the bench?;
  • What depth exists at tighthead prop and outside centre?;
  • If Willie le Roux gets injured, who plays fullback?

 

Possible Springbok squad: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Damien de Allende, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Seabelo Senatla, Handre Pollard, Pat Lambie, Morne Steyn/Marnitz Boshoff, Francois Hougaard, Cobus Reinach, Ruan Pienaar/Rudy Paige, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley, Nizaam Carr, Teboho Mohoje, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Schalk Burger, Jaco Kriel, Victor Matfield, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Julian Redelinghuys, Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Scarra Ntubeni/Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk van der Merwe, Ruan Dreyer/Lourens Adriaanse.

 

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



↑ Top