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Ken Borland



Markram rumours wide of the mark, but 4 other Titans will leave 0

Posted on March 14, 2016 by Ken

 

The rumours that junior world cup winning captain Aiden Markram could be lost to South African cricket are wide of the mark with the 21-year-old confirming on Tuesday that he has signed a contract with the Titans, who will, however, be losing four of their talented youngsters ahead of next season.

Markram will be spending the off-season playing for Walkden in the Bolton League, but the promising top-order batsman will be back in time for what is already shaping up as a massive summer for him. Especially since Theunis de Bruyn and Graeme van Buuren, two of his team-mates in the all-conquering Tuks side, are moving on to fresh pastures. Corbin Bosch, the opening bowler for Markram’s triumphant SA U19 team, has already relocated to Australia, having failed to break into the Titans team this season.

The Titans have also lost out on the services of wicketkeeper/batsman Mangaliso Mosehle, who is moving to the Highveld Lions next season.

Van Buuren has earned a two-year contract with Gloucestershire and, because his wife Hannah, the former Tuks conditioning coach, was born in London and has a British passport, he will try to qualify for England.

De Bruyn, one of the brightest batting talents in the country, will be moving to the Knights for the 2016/17 season, opening the way for Markram to play more regular franchise cricket, having made just two Momentum One-Day Cup appearances this season.

“I’m looking forward to spending the off-season in different conditions and growing my game, but I’m happy with where I am in my career. Any opportunity I get for the Titans I’m just going to try and take, but at the moment I’m really focusing on my preparation. At school, there might be four or five good players in the opposition, but in senior cricket there’s a lot more good players, so it takes time to work out how to play at that level. But the more cricket you play, the faster you learn,” Markram told The Citizen on Tuesday.

Van Buuren has been a highly-valued performer for the Titans, averaging 45 in the Momentum One-Day Cup and 30 in the RamSlam T20 Challenge, as well as bowling economical left-arm spin, but with doors opening up for him in county cricket, it was only natural that he would seize the opportunity.

“I’m not going with any regrets, I’m not at all complaining about anything, I owe the Titans for everything I’ve achieved, having played for them since Northerns U7s 18 years ago. So I’m very thankful to them, but this is a great opportunity in terms of my career as a professional cricketer and not a lot of players have this chance.

“I’m excited for something new, an unbelievable opportunity and a new chapter. Obviously I want to play international cricket, that’s the main reason for playing because you always want to push yourself to be the best. I’ll qualify for England when I’m 29 and until then I’ll just let things take their course,” Van Buuren told The Citizen.

Reading cricket at Tuks 0

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Ken

 

Posh universities talk about “reading” a subject at their academic institution so, because I have such great respect for what TuksSport  are doing, it is only fair to say that some of the most talented young men in this country are reading cricket at the University of Pretoria.

And they are doing it most successfully judging by the accolades that keep coming the way of the Tuks team so ably coached by Pierre de Bruyn, who has great assistants and backroom support. The Tuks cricket team have just landed in India to represent South Africa as the defending champions in the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals, a global competition for tertiary institutions that has seen more than 200 teams from eight countries try to qualify. It has been called the Student World Cup.

Tuks won the title in fine style in England last year, but this time they travel to India – a new challenge which De Bruyn and his players embrace. Much has been written about playing in the sub-continent, but having completed their usually thorough preparation, De Bruyn says success will come down to the usual factors.

“Although we have six new faces in the team, we have a very nice senior core which the youngsters can feed off. The guys must just express themselves, you can easily over-analyse the conditions and then it becomes overwhelming. It’s about getting the roles right, good discipline and decision-making,” De Bruyn said.

Tuks will surely rely a lot on players who have experienced those conditions before, like captain Aiden Markram, canny seamer Corbin Bosch and off-spinner Ruben Claassen, who is another rising star.

They won’t however, have the explosive batting talents of Heinrich Klaasen, who is on duty with the Titans team.

Franchises are probably going to be relying more and more on players from tertiary institutes, simply because they generally have the financial resources to develop cricketing talent, and there are some university administrators who believe their clubs deserve more than just a pat on the back for their great work. The idea of a “development fee” to be paid whenever a player signs a contract with a higher team, whether that be franchise or national, has been mooted.

While that is a worthy idea, there is always the danger of widening the gap between those who already have and the have-not clubs, of which there are so many in this country in these troubled economic times.

But Cricket South Africa are currently working on a plan to try and support and incentivise clubs, especially those community clubs which cannot rely on strong backing from the structures that exist in tertiary institutes.

The thinking is to replicate the Blue Chip Schools programme which will be announced in the coming weeks with the Blue Flag Cricket Clubs incentive scheme.

The idea, according to the general manager of CSA, Corrie van Zyl, is that clubs gaining a certain percentage on the Clubs Index – which will list desirables like a qualified coach, a constitution, strong membership contributions, maintenance of facilities – will be awarded a Blue Flag designation and receive money as an incentive.

The finer details still need to be worked out, but the money will go direct to the clubs, as opposed to the money CSA normally pours into club cricket which is given to the Affiliate body to distribute.

The clever people at CSA seem to have come up with a good scheme to help the club structures – one of the key foundations of the game – so I guess it’s fair to say they are reading cricket pretty well too.

 

Meyiwa’s tragic death had a whole tawdry extra layer 0

Posted on December 11, 2014 by Ken

 

I never met Senzo Meyiwa or dealt with him, but by all accounts he was a wonderful human being and obviously a very talented footballer. A person being cut down before their prime, especially in such violent, totally senseless circumstances, is always a great tragedy.

But this crime had a whole extra layer of circumstances surrounding it, in the form of Meyiwa, married with a child, being murdered at his girlfriend’s house, with whom he has another child.

While I unreservedly mourn the death of Senzo, a thought occurred to me while I considered the tawdry situation – imagine if this had happened to one of our other national captains. Imagine if Jean de Villiers or Hashim Amla, both married, were actively pursuing an adulterous relationship and had children outside of marriage. What would the reaction be?

Top-class sport is all about discipline and many coaches will tell you that a player who is ill-disciplined off the field will struggle to be disciplined on it.

However much of a hero Meyiwa was on the football field, it is yet another moral failure of our country to not recognise that this was a person who broke his marriage vows, humiliated his wife and tore apart his family.

Whether or not Senzo planned to marry Kelly Khumalo, either his son by her or his daughter with wife Mandisa Mkhize were going to grow up without the regular influence of a father in their lives. There are numerous studies that point to the negative influence an absentee father has on children’s education, future relationships and even their ability to function properly in society. I would wager that the thugs that conspired to take Meyiwa’s life are, ironically, from fatherless families themselves.

And before people point to culture and say it was acceptable for Meyiwa to have his bit on the side, may I point out that many black commentators I have read are terribly disappointed by his behaviour.

If we as humans use “culture” as an excuse to propagate destructive behaviour then we are never going to progress. Such evils as slavery and Apartheid were considered culturally acceptable as well, and the oppression of women is still practised in many cultures around the world.

There seems to be a double standard at play here. If it had been revealed during Oscar Pistorius’s court case that he had been cheating on girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the public would probably have clamoured for him to get capital punishment!

Not all top-class sportsmen are saints and I’m sure if we had all the information about our national heroes we would be shocked, but perhaps Bafana Bafana can take a leaf out of cricket’s book where the ProteaFire campaign is as much about how Amla’s world number one team performs on the field as about how they behave off it.

 

 

 

From Tzaneen to Tukkies, Koekemoer is relishing the step up 0

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Ken

As a boy growing up in the sub-tropical agricultural town of Tzaneen, Tian Koekemoer loved Jonty Rhodes and Dale Steyn and was used to enjoying plenty of success as one of the most talented cricketers at Merensky High School.

Despite Steyn and fellow pace bowlers Marchant de Lange and Ethy Mbhalati all coming from the Limpopo province at the northern edge of South Africa, the region is the poorest in the country, a large rural expanse of mostly tribal area, and is not known for producing many cricketers.

So despite dominating at local level and starring for the Limpopo U19 team, Koekemoer knew that he still needed to be really tested as a cricketer. That has come since he enrolled at the University of Pretoria and studied BA Languages, and started playing for the Assupol Tukkies team.

It’s a star-studded Tukkies team, the most powerful club side in the country, and Koekemoer often has to wait for an opportunity to bat or bowl.

In the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals against Steinhoff Maties, he once again sat patiently waiting for his chance to shine, bowling just two overs in each of the first two games and not getting the chance to bat.

And then the final game gave him his chance. Tukkies finally batted first, and the absence of an unwell Aiden Markram and a few errors by the top-order gave him his chance.

Koekemoer responded with a crucial innings of 19 off 11 balls that lifted Tukkies to a competitive total of 144 for nine, and he then ensured that it would be a day to really remember as he claimed three wickets to stop a strong Maties chase and win the man of the match award.

“I don’t often have to come in under pressure moments, but today I had to and I liked the challenge,” Koekemoer said after the game.

“There are only a few good cricketers in Limpopo, but in Pretoria you’re up against the whole Northerns Premier League and it was an eye-opener. I haven’t really been exposed to that level of cricket, you get used to being the only good player in your team, but this really pushes you.”

Another measure of how well Koekemoer adapts to whatever life throws at him is the fact that he has only been bowling seam since last July.

Prior to that he was an off-spinner, but he broke his finger and was unable to grip the ball and obtain as much turn as previously, so he changed to pace.



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