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Ken Borland



Time for the Cape Cobras to learn to ‘tai’ 0

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Ken

 

The Kalenjin tribe of Kenya’s Rift Valley are famous for their dominance of long-distance running, numerous world and Olympic champions having come from their population of about five million, a staggering statistical anomaly that has had sports scientists scrambling to study them.

While scientists have pointed to a complex interaction between genetic and socio-economic factors for their success, the Kalenjin runners are also famous for their stoicism and endurance. It is that combined with natural abilities, that makes them world-beaters. They use the word ‘tai’ as an exhortation to keep going forward and they certainly do just that.

Much of the work on the persevering, “no gain without pain” Kalenjin has been done at the University of Cape Town and perhaps the cricket fraternity based in the city that enjoys the best standard of living in the country needs to go and study up on key traits for sporting success like determination and not blaming your failures on your opposition.

The RamSlam T20 Challenge final takes place on Saturday in Centurion and some of the Cape Cobras management and media seem to believe that they are not there due to some incredible conspiracy that involves the Titans and the weather conspiring against them. Never mind the fact that the star-studded Cobras team did not win their first three games and then threw away a winning position in their last round-robin match, where victory would have seen them hosting the semi-final against the Dolphins that was washed out on Thursday evening in Durban.

As the 2019 World Cup nears and the mental fortitude of our players is once again put under the most ruthless of microscopes, it is alarming that many of our Proteas are playing in an environment where excuse-making, blaming others and even accusing other teams of matchfixing is encouraged.

The Titans, by topping the log by miles, earned the right to prepare for their semi-final in whatever manner they saw fit, and they decided to spare their leading players the exertions of travelling to Cape Town to play on Friday, then to Durban to play on Sunday and then returning to Centurion on Monday, leaving just one day to prepare for the knockout match.

Such are the rewards for performance and they should be praised for the high standards they have brought to the competition, not tainted by slanderous allegations in the Cape that they were involved in some sort of matchfixing.

Instead of trying to bring everyone down to their under-performing standards, the Cobras, who have a wealth of talent at their disposal, should rather be focused on bridging the gap between themselves and the Titans.

In keeping with the sore-losers image they are cultivating so well in Cape Town, some of their media were quick to jump all over the Titans for only fielding five players of colour in their semi-final win over the Warriors, due to Henry Davids mangling his knee shortly before the toss.

The word from Cricket South Africa is that there will be no action taken against the Titans because the move was cleared by the head of their transformation committee, Max Jordaan, beforehand. It was a common sense decision because four minutes before the toss is hardly the time to rush someone in from outside the squad, without a warm-up.

There was no complaint from the Warriors, either, but there will always be that element in the Western Cape that knows better, watching from their vantage point behind the Mountain.

It seems there will always be the haters in South African sport when a team enjoys prolonged success.

 

https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-citizen-gauteng/20171216/282570198460108

Between AB & Atta, all we need is just a little patience 0

Posted on September 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Between them, Adriaan Strauss and AB de Villiers have generated numerous headlines and many words of copy over the last couple of days, but whatever one thinks of their sporting achievements, what is more important is that they are both fine men who enjoy enormous respect from everyone who works with them.
Unfortunately, South African sports fans being what they are, both have also had to face enormous vitriol and unfair denigration on social media, especially Strauss in the last couple of weeks.

Of course we are all disappointed with how the Springboks have been performing lately and Strauss’s own form has not exactly been inspirational, but so much of the criticism is uninformed and ignores the core roles he performs in the scrums and lineouts. As for his leadership, the players go out of their way to say what a good captain he is.

With so many veteran Springboks departing the scene in between the Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee eras, this is a new-look team that is going to take time to settle, especially since they are trying to forge a new game plan. The side that started in Salta had only six players with more than 40 caps in the 23.

Even the Lions took three years to settle into their new style of play, so the most important thing the Springboks need right now is patience. They are in a transitional period, which is perhaps why Coetzee chose someone like Strauss to be the captain for the first year, seeing as though he knew at the time of the appointment that the hooker would be retiring from Test rugby at the end of 2016.

By the end of this year, Warren Whiteley could have made himself a definite starter at eighthman plus Pat Lambie could well have returned.

I know patience is not something South African sports fans are particularly known for, but there are very few successful teams who don’t go through bad patches. Before they won the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks were no great shakes either and Jake White nearly lost his job in 2006, a year before lifting the biggest prize in rugby.

Removing Coetzee from his post anytime soon will serve absolutely no purpose and should not even be considered.

Such bad patches also happen on an individual level as De Villiers, now considered by many to be the best batsman in the world, himself described at the launch of his autobiography this week. Between 2005 and 2008, he played 17 Tests without scoring a century and made just six half-centuries.

“I’m always very scared of failing before I go out to bat and there used to be ducks at international level and I’d be in tears in the shower. One of the low points came in 2006 at SuperSport Park, my home ground, when coach Mickey Arthur told me I was running out of chances after another soft dismissal, and in 2007 I was just surviving, I probably should have been dropped.

“I’d had a taste of the dream and I was going to throw it away. But then came a huge moment in 2007 when Jacques Kallis approached me and told me that to earn his respect I have to find some consistency. He was willing to work with me, especially on my defence,” De Villiers said.

Even the most naturally gifted, world-conquering sports stars have their dips in form. The Proteas have seen their patience with De Villiers rewarded many, many times over, never mind how many spectators he has thrilled beyond measure in that time.

Similarly, Allister Coetzee and the Springboks need to be allowed time to find their groove together. Hysteria and short-term thinking will do their cause no good at all.

Marabastad & Laudium cricket: a community surviving the shameful past 0

Posted on January 08, 2015 by Ken

The forced removals that destroyed the culturally-diverse Marabastad community count amongst the most shameful incidents in Pretoria history, separating the Black, Indian and Coloured communities that lived in the area.  They all played cricket together in an association presided over by the famous Mr Sooboo and in the mid-1930s there were numerous teams playing like Azads, Old Boys, Navyugas, Sheffield, Rangers, Foresters, Burma Lads, Districts, Olympians Kismet and Clydes.

 

But these teams were largely mono-cultural, with Azads comprising mainly Gujaratis, Rangers being a Coloured team, Burma Lads made up of Tamils and Districts largely comprising Surtees. However race never played a part in sport as competitions were mixed.  Black cricket played at Bantulie was curtailed with the forced removal of Blacks to Atteridgeville.  But by then the Group Areas Act had further condemned Indians to Laudium and Coloureds to Eersterust.

 

Facilities in Marabastad comprised only two fields which were used for soccer and cricket. One had a grass pitch and the other a matting wicket which was known as the Razor’s Edge because of the rough sand and stones that cut up anyone foolhardy enough to leave his feet. The uneven pitch was bouncy and dangerous and Dhiraj Soma (Sapa), perhaps the Father of Sport in Marabastad, once had his front teeth knocked out batting on it.Teams from the Marabastad region, including Bantulie (the current site of the Tech grounds), where Black cricket was centred, were selected to play against sides from Johannesburg and the Western Transvaal, as well as Brits.  Even the great Basil d’Oliveira turned out to represent Northern Transvaal in an interprovincial game.

 

By then Marabastad had all but closed down and Laudium had become its successor for cricket.  The complex history of Marabastad cricket included a mass folding of clubs in the early 1970s, with the survivors, Foresters, Sheffield and Burma Lads, going to play in the SACBOC leagues, which was not a simple task as it meant travelling to places like Bosmont, Newclare, Lenasia, Ermelo, Potchefstroom and Germiston.

 

Rashid Varachia’s attempt at unifying cricket in 1976 also failed as Foresters and Rangers initially joined the White leagues but pulled out after a couple of years, with various on-field incidents reflecting racial undertones. It was clear true integration was still far off.  In 1975, Foresters were allowed to use the ground in Laudium as their home base, but in 1978 they pulled out of the league and the venue became derelict. Burma Lads and Shefield continued playing in the SACBOC league.

 

It wasn’t until 1984 when an attempt to rekindle cricket was made. Cricket resurfaced after a few years in the doldrums. Although the area was given a turf sports ground, the facilities remained ill-prepared with long grass and cooking flour used to mark the pitch and stones for boundaries!.  New teams were formed: Cavaliers, Delfos, Trishul, and Kent. Brits, Rangers, Districts and Sheffield re-surfaced. But that only lasted a couple of years before fizzling out again as facilities were non-existent.

 

After the SA tour to India during 1991 interest in cricket was renewed.  A further attempt was made in 1991 to rekindle cricket in Laudium, by Nilesh Mistry and Harry Karsen, with Delfos, Foresters, Leeds (ex-Sheffield), Kent, Brits Al-Amien and Districts all playing a part in what was to become the Sunday League.

In 1998, unity talks with the Northerns Cricket Union, saw Laudium, one of the previously disadvantaged teams, nominated to play in the Northerns Premier League.  That was always going to be a huge challenge and someone needed to guide them through these turbulent waters. That someone was Aniel Soma and by 1999 he had masterminded the participation at the highest level by deserving players as well as development of the new Oval in Laudium and the upgrading of the derelict building to a clubhouse to meet the demands of cricket.

 

When Soma was a young player, techniques were learnt mainly by listening to radio commentary, But professional coaches were brought into Laudium to assist, like Anton Ferreira and Gerhard Maree. The township south-west of the CBD can now be considered a cricketing stronghold, having hosted matches in the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2005 and India A tour matches, but it has taken a lot of effort and determination to achieve that.

 

The current team, evenly split between Black and Indian players, will continue to honour the tradition of great Marabastad and Laudium figures like the disciplined Arthur Karodia, the deft Eddie Naidoo, the brute Dhiraj Soma (Sapa), the fearless Viggie Naidoo, the guile of Jerry Makan, the stylish touches of  Rashid Bhikha, the cunningness of G Pillay, the power of Solly May, the all-round capability of Julian Weideman and the pace of Ameen Nagdee.  How can we ever forget the likes of Chandoo Ramjee, Mohamed Mia, Dhanraj Soma, Ramesh Nathoo, Hira Soma, Nithia Pillay,  Ebrahim Ebrahim, Ragie Moodley, Gopal Chetty, Deenen Padiachy, Hama Ahmed or Yusuf Ismail, Deshi Bhaktawer, Yogendra Naran, Gaffar Ahmed and their contribution to our cricket.

 

We pay tribute to those who paved the way.

 

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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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