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Ken Borland



Bavuma details his feelings of that all-significant century 0

Posted on July 08, 2016 by Ken

 

Temba Bavuma has not yet watched the highlights of his historic century against England at Newlands at the start of the year, but he has had the time now to mentally process the significance of it all and this week spoke for the first time about the details of how he felt during the innings.

It was fitting that Bavuma revealed his thoughts at the KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar at Kruger Park because that was the program that introduced him to the game back in the late 1990s.

“All the attention afterwards was quite overwhelming, when I went in to bat it was just another innings for me. But afterwards I began to understand the whole impact and significance of the knock a bit better and that it was actually quite a big thing. But I haven’t even watched the highlights because I just wanted to try and move on as quickly as I could. It’s very easy to get caught up in the whole emotion of it, when you just want to refresh, clear your mind and focus on the next one.

“But I’ve come to realise that I am a role-model for the masses, for the majority in this country. Prior to the milestone at Newlands, it was just another day of cricket for me, even though the batting unit as a whole was under pressure and at times it felt like my whole career was on the line.

“On the first day-and-a-half England smashed us around, then Hashim, AB and Faf all had good partnerships. I tried to be as calm as I could when I came in, just watch the ball, ball-by-ball. As the innings unfolded it got a bit easier and there was a moment early on between me and the England bowlers which spurred me on. I rolled with the energy it gave me and next thing I had 70.

“I began to look at the scoreboard a bit more and I started to get more nervous, my mind was racing and I just tried to slow things down. My celebration after reaching the hundred was just the culmination of all those emotions, relief and joy at seeing my parents’ delight. And for it to happen at Newlands, where I first learnt about cricket, where the seed was planted, was very special …

“KFC Mini-Cricket introduced me to the game at a young age, it was my first form of official, organised cricket, running around on Newlands. It’s about much more than just taking kids off the street, there’s a whole element of social upliftment, of building the nation, the whole program is excellent.

“And it’s not just about coaching the kids, it’s about nurturing them as well. So many of the coaches are mothers, so they instil discipline, they make sure you’re always neat, with your shirts tucked in, and you listen when you’re spoken to. It’s all hugely beneficial,” Bavuma said.

The 26-year-old Highveld Lions star had a more successful visit to India last year than many of his batting colleagues, impressing with his tenacious and adept approach to sharply-spinning pitches, but this summer will challenge him in different ways as South Africa play Tests against the powerful pace bowling attacks of both Australia and New Zealand.

“One of my biggest challenges to overcome has been my stature because I’m not the biggest guy, but I’m always fighting against that stereotype that I’m too short and you have to be a certain size to succeed. I use it as positive energy to motivate me to prove people wrong, to break through that stereotype. But I don’t consider myself as having a permanent place in the Test team now or having solidified my position, I’m always looking for ways to improve, to become a better person and cricketer, so that I can reach higher levels,” Bavuma said with refreshing candour.

 

Le Roux & Vermaak could start the spark for Springboks 0

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Ken

 

Coach Heyneke Meyer knows that he needs to add more attacking spark in year two of his tenure with the national team, and the two new caps chosen for the Test against Italy in Durban on Saturday could be the first steps in that process.

Cheetahs wizard Willie le Roux will start at fullback and Bulls scrumhalf Jano Vermaak in the number nine jersey, with three other uncapped players on the bench in prop Trevor Nyakane, loose forward Arno Botha and centre Jan Serfontein.

By the end of this quadrangular series also featuring Scotland and Samoa, we should know whether Le Roux’s roaming style of play and his dazzling trickery with ball in hand can be successful at Test level. It has certainly sparked something special for the Cheetahs and the 35 tries they have scored so far this season in SuperRugby is the best in the South African Conference and only the Chiefs, Waratahs and Rebels have scored more overall.

It is the Bulls, however, who are leading the South African Conference and it is in no small way thanks to Vermaak’s snappy clearing of the rucks and his speed off the mark on attack that they have 32 tries themselves and have impressed with the balance of their game between penetrative forward runners and a backline that is growing in confidence.

Replacement Ruan Pienaar may have been a star for Ulster again this year, but the 29-year-old has not been part of any of the Springbok training camps and Meyer said he had also gone for the established Morné Steyn/Vermaak combination at halfback.

This means there is no place for Francois Hougaard, even on the bench, with Pat Lambie and Serfontein the other backline reserves. Hougaard would appear to have paid the price for his scrappy service during a slow return from injury, although he was much-improved in the Bulls’ impressive win over the Cheetahs last weekend.

The 20-year-old Serfontein could even be in line for a start, coming in for Jean de Villiers at inside centre if the captain does not recover sufficiently from a hamstring niggle.

Meyer is well-known for his fondness for a big, strong ball-carrier at inside centre, but he has ignored, for the moment anyway, the exciting possibility of having the robust Serfontein at 12 and De Villiers at outside centre.

Instead, JJ Engelbrecht, who the jury is still out on (is he a better centre than a wing?) will wear the number 13 jersey having only played 10 previous minutes of Test rugby as a replacement on the wing against Argentina last year.

Bjorn Basson, so brilliant in the air, makes a return on the left wing to play his first Test since 2011, with the rest of the team pretty much as predicted.

Lourens Adriaanse, Gio Aplon, Marcell Coetzee, Robert Ebersohn, Bismarck du Plessis, Zane Kirchner, Siya Kolisi, Lappies Labuschagné, Lwazi Mvovo and Franco van der Merwe will be twiddling their thumbs next to Hougaard on the side of the field as Meyer goes for some continuity with 10 of the players who appeared in the last Test of 2012, the 16-15 win over England at Twickenham, featuring again this weekend.

The likes of Adriaanse, Aplon, Coetzee, Ebersohn, Kolisi, Labuschagné, Mvovo and Van der Merwe are likely to be given the opportunity of picking up some valuable experience later in the series, but for now Meyer wants to get his 2013 campaign up-and-running with a win over the tricky Italians.

Italian rugby is certainly on the up, as shown by a fourth-place finish in the Six Nations, and their physical pack has the ability to front up to the Springbok forwards.

But how pleasing it would be if it were the attacking skills of a Le Roux-inspired backline that proved the difference at King’s Park.

Team: Willie le Roux, Bryan Habana, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Juandré Kruger, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Arno Botha, Ruan Pienaar, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-06-06-springbok-team-the-proven-plus-a-pinch-of-pizzazz/#.Vxos5vl97IU

Top-class Cook scores ton & passes major landmark 0

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Ken

A top-class century by Stephen Cook, who passed a major landmark in the process, gave the bizhub Highveld Lions a firm grip on their top-of-the-log Sunfoil Series match against the Unlimited Titans after the first day at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Thursday.

The Lions had reached a commanding 264 for two when bad light stopped play at 4.15pm, with 25 overs still scheduled to be bowled, thanks to a great 108 not out from Cook after the visitors had won a good toss and elected to bat first on a brownish, dry pitch.

Cook has always brought a sober, methodical approach to opening the batting and he was content to let Rassie van der Dussen dominate the morning session, the youngster scoring an 84-ball half-century as the Lions went into lunch on 92 without loss.

The 32-year-old Cook did have a moment of rare celebration however when he became only the fourth batsman to score 10 000 runs in South African domestic first-class cricket, joining the hallowed trio of Graeme Pollock (12 409), Peter Kirsten (11835) and his own father, Jimmy Cook (11307).

Playing the anchor role suits Cook just fine and he brushed off being dropped the ball before lunch on 32 by Heino Kuhn at slip off left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe, as well as the departure of Van der Dussen, top-edging a hook off Rowan Richards, and being well-taken by Junior Dala running round from fine leg, for 65.

Cook and Van der Dussen had opened the innings with a stand of 114 off 230 balls and the captain and young Dominic Hendricks then added 115 for the second wicket in just over two hours, off 158 deliveries.

Hendricks played a dashing innings, hitting 11 fours and a six in his 63 off 87 balls before he pushed at a Richards delivery outside off stump and wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle took a good diving catch.

Cook and McKenzie then took the Lions through to stumps, with the centurion having batted for five-and-a-quarter hours and faced 211 deliveries.

It was a messy bowling display by the Titans and a top-class batsman like Cook duly capitalised, stroking 11 fours and seldom looking threatened.

Richards may have claimed a pair of wickets, but it came at a cost of more than four runs an over for the left-arm seamer, while Dala produced a barrage of short-pitched bowling on a placid pitch.

JP de Villiers also conceded a lot of boundaries, including four in one over by Hendricks as the left-hander brought up the 150.

Van der Merwe, who should have removed Cook on the stroke of lunch, was the best of the Titans bowlers, but the weather certainly saved the hosts from further punishment. The Lions hammered 125 runs in 28 overs between lunch and tea as the bowlers served up numerous poor deliveries, and Cook and McKenzie were just getting into their stride when play was halted.

 



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