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Ken Borland

All-rounder Phehlukwayo anointed for greater things 0

Posted on March 15, 2016 by Ken


Andile Phehlukwayo turned 20 last week and has already been anointed as a Dolphins bowling all-rounder fit to follow in the footsteps of legends like Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener, but he has already achieved so much as one of the successes of South African cricket’s development pipeline.

There was clearly something special about Phehlukwayo when he played for the Dolphins in the 2014 Champions League while he was still in his matric year at Glenwood High School. He scored 22 off 17 balls against the powerhouse Chennai Super Kings in his first game and then 37 off just 18 deliveries against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Since then, his bowling has become his strongest suit, especially in limited-overs matches, and he has produced several match-winning performances for the Dolphins, most notably with his nerveless, skilful death bowling in the RamSlam T20 Challenge playoff against the Cape Cobras.

He certainly does not want to be pigeon-holed, however, as a limited-overs specialist and the work he has been putting into his long-format game is bearing fruit, with Phehlukwayo taking a career-best four for 39 against the Warriors in East London last weekend.

“I was thrown in the deep end playing in the Champions League while I was still at school, which was a tough one, but I’m grateful for the experience and there’s no pressure on me. I’m my own player, different to other all-rounders, but obviously I would like to try and be like guys like Jacques Kallis and Lance Klusener. I need to perform for  SA A first, and there are lots of guys performing as all-rounders in South African cricket, like Chris Morris and David Wiese. I just need to be consistent, I know there will always be chances for me and I believe one day I will play for South Africa, even if maybe not in the next two or four years,” Phehlukwayo says.

The son of a domestic worker in Margate, who earned a hockey scholarship to Glenwood and was then noticed when he went to cricket trials, Phehlukwayo has every reason to be proud of what he has already achieved despite such humble beginnings.

“My big goal is for my mom to come and watch me play. I was fortunate to have good support in the background and my coaches believed in me. For me it’s just about working hard and not giving up on my dream. I never thought that I would be playing franchise cricket at this age and at some stages I thought I would never play professional cricket.

“I’ve made quick progress as a bowler, T20 does fast-track you, you need to adapt quickly in that format and practise your skills. Playing for SA A over the last couple of months, bowling to people like Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan, taught me that you’ve got to be on-song and stay on your game-plan, back yourself, always believe in yourself. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget, especially bowling a couple of long-hops to Morgan!”


Glorious day for AB at SCG bucks trend for SA captains at World Cup 0

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Ken


South African captains have generally been through the mill at World Cups – the deep pain of Graeme Smith in 2011, Shaun Pollock’s stunned expression in 2003, Hansie Cronje’s tears at Edgbaston in 1999 are all still vivid memories – so it was wonderful to see AB de Villiers enjoy a glorious day at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

Just five weeks after lashing 149 off 44 balls against the West Indies at the Wanderers – his 31-ball century being the fastest in ODI history – De Villiers made 162 not out off 66 deliveries to destroy the same side at another great cathedral of the game.

In the process, the South African captain reached 150 off a record 64 balls, and De Villiers now holds the records for the fastest 50, century and 150 in ODI history, sealing his status as one of the greatest batsmen to have ever played limited-overs cricket.

The Sydney Cricket Ground rose as one for De Villiers after one of the most scintillating displays of batting ever seen on the global stage, and the likeable 31-year-old now has a beautiful World Cup memory to cherish, replacing the nasty scenes of 2011 when New Zealand substitute Kyle Mills was shouting in his face after a mix up with Faf du Plessis accelerated a South African collapse.

In terms of batting excellence, De Villiers’ innings ticked all the boxes.

He came in under pressure with South Africa having lost both set batsmen, Hashim Amla and Du Plessis, for solid half-centuries in the space of three deliveries from Chris Gayle. De Villiers weathered that storm and was able to rotate the strike for the impressive Rilee Rossouw to capitalise on his own brisk start.

It was only once Rossouw had been dismissed – for a momentum-changing 61 off 39 balls – that De Villiers really took the game away from the West Indies.

There was tremendous skill, innovation, some brute force, wonderful placement and brilliant thinking in De Villiers’ innings. Probably the most impressive feature of his batting is the amount of time he has, even against the quick bowlers, to get any delivery away to the area he has pre-identified as a scoring region.

To say that De Villiers has a tremendous eye for the ball is a bit like saying Imran Tahir (South Africa’s best bowler in the tournament) likes to acknowledge taking a wicket with some sort of celebration; combine that with quick feet, lovely wrists, superb timing and placement, plus tactical nous, and bowling to AB becomes a nightmare for even the best bowlers.

For me, there are probably two more things I’d like to see AB de Villiers do.

One is obviously play the match-winning innings in the World Cup final.

For the other, I’m going to dig up the legend of Barry Richards, arguably the greatest South African batsman ever.

The destructive power of Graeme Pollock, the prolific elegance of Jacques Kallis and the silky skills of Hashim Amla all feature in that debate, but for sheer brilliance in being able to fashion any stroke for any ball, Richards and De Villiers probably come out tops.

In the days of Richards, there was no international cricket for South Africans and the club game was of a very high standard, with provincial players in action most of the time. The legend goes that Richards, bored of the humdrum challenges of plundering hundreds, sometimes used to make it more interesting by only using the side of the bat. And the pitches were generally quite juicy in Natal club cricket.

On one famous occasion at the Collegians Club in Pietermaritzburg, Richards used the side of the bat for an over bowled with the new ball by Pat Trimborn, who played four Tests for South Africa!

Given the extraordinary brilliance of De Villiers, perhaps he should take on the bowlers with only the side of the bat just to even the contest a bit!


Amla has had captaincy success before & balance of team in his favour too … 0

Posted on June 03, 2014 by Ken

Hashim Amla should have more to celebrate than just tons of runs

Hashim Amla has had one season of captaincy for the Dolphins nearly 10 years ago as a 21-year-old but is now set to be handed the reins of South Africa’s Test team as CSA’s board meet today in Sandton to decide the successor to Graeme Smith.

The fact that Amla had success in that solitary season in charge down in Durban, leading the Dolphins to a share of the 2004/5 SuperSport Series four-day title and the semi-finals of the 45-over Standard Bank Cup, will have little bearing on tomorrow’s decision, save for one important factor.

While Amla relinquished the captaincy after one season, and has been reluctant to lead ever since, the extra responsibility had no noticeable effect on his batting, as he averaged 54.38 in the four-day competition, scoring three centuries, including a superb 249 in the final against the Central Eagles, and went on to make his debut for South Africa that season.

Amla’s main rival for the Test captaincy is the early favourite, AB de Villiers, who has already led South Africa in 40 ODIs.

De Villiers has the advantage of added experience in the role, but if he does become Test captain, it could well force a change in the successful balance of the national team, with the wicketkeeping gloves likely to be taken away from him.

Former South African captain Shaun Pollock, who was Smith’s predecessor, admitted that it was a tough call between Amla and De Villiers.

“There’s no doubt Hashim is a very calm individual and I don’t think being captain will affect his batting too much, but it’s difficult to comment on his tactical awareness unless you’ve played under him. The advantage Hashim has is that he’s just a batsman and there’s not too much on his plate,” Pollock told The Pretoria News yesterday.

“AB has the experience, having led in ODIs already, and knows what the role entails. I’ve been impressed with some of his captaincy, he’s shown some flair and managed things well. But would he have to change his role and give up the gloves because there’s a lot on his plate?” Pollock added.

Faf du Plessis has also been mentioned as a candidate, but he is likely to be left to concentrate on cementing his place in the Test side as a specialist batsman.

Both Amla and De Villiers are going to be key batsmen as South Africa move into the post-Smith-and-Kallis era, and there’s no doubt both will be able to lead from the front and command the respect of their team-mates. Both are universally respected in the cricketing world and both enjoy a good relationship with the media, handling their PR duties with aplomb.

But the factors that are likely to tip the vote Amla’s way are the lesser disruption it would cause to the balance of the team and the strong transformation message it would send out on behalf of Cricket South Africa, who were recently accused of only paying lip-service to affirmative action by the sports minister.

The fact that Amla, a devout Muslim and the first Protea of Indian heritage, has been able to develop into such a key person in the national camp on and off the field suggests he will also be able to pull the different threads of the several cultures within the squad together into a strong unit.

The national selectors will also today announce the squads to tour Sri Lanka next month for three ODIs and two Tests and are likely to reel in Stiaan van Zyl and one of two off-spinners Dane Piedt or Simon Harmer, as new caps for the five-day games. The other off-spinner is still likely to travel to Sri Lanka as a net bowler to gain experience of sub-continental conditions.

Whoever the Test captain is will be mindful of South Africa’s previous tour to Sri Lanka in 2006 where Ashwell Prince wound up losing 2-0 and never captained the Proteas again.

Probable Test squad: Alviro Petersen, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Stiaan van Zyl, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Quinton de Kock, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell/Beuran Hendricks.

Probable ODI squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Wayne Parnell, Beuran Hendricks, Ryan McLaren, Simon Harmer.



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