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Ken Borland

Faf says the ball-tampering saga showed the unity in the Proteas squad 0

Posted on December 04, 2016 by Ken


Triumphant Proteas captain Faf du Plessis returned to Johannesburg on Tuesday and described the whole ball-tampering saga as a ploy by the Australian media to disrupt the South African team, but said the farce had served as a powerful indicator of the unity within the squad.

A video of Du Plessis doing two entirely legal things at once – sucking a mint and using his saliva to shine the ball – went viral in Australia between the second and third Tests, leading to the International Cricket Council charging the captain with ball-tampering and later finding him guilty and fining him his entire match fee from the Hobart game, during which South Africa won the series.

“The Australian media used it as a ploy to derail us, they speak of themselves as the Australian team’s 12th man. The challenge was to fight back and it was remarkable the way the team fought the battle so firmly for me, it shows where we are as a team in terms of our strong culture.

“At first we didn’t think it was anything really serious, but the media made it a big issue until nobody could control it. It was very disappointing the way it turned out, but my character was tested and against all odds I was able to make a play, it showed I can withstand those tests,” Du Plessis, who made a century in the third Test, said.

Team manager Mohammed Moosajee said they will be arranging a date for the appeal hearing, at which Du Plessis will have his own legal representation from South Africa, with the ICC and it should be set by the end of this week.

Moosajee also revealed that Cricket South Africa had laid an official complaint with their Australian counterparts and broadcasters Channel 9 had apologised for the behaviour of their aggressive reporter who sparked a scuffle at Adelaide Airport.

While admitting that captaincy brought out the best in him, Du Plessis reiterated that he sees himself as the stand-in skipper for AB de Villiers, who is set to return for the Sri Lanka series next month.

“I’ve always enjoyed it, I feel it does bring out the best in me, but AB knows that I am 100% behind him. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a leader and the great thing is that the team has three guys – myself, Hashim Amla and AB – who have been captains and we are all very similar in the way we want the culture of the team to move forward,” Du Plessis said.

South Africa are still only fifth in the Test rankings, however, with Australia third.

“Going up the rankings is a goal of ours but it won’t just happen, we need to take really small steps to get back to number one. But all the signs are there that we can get back there; Sri Lanka are a good team, they’re playing well, but if we beat them then I reckon we’ll be close to number two,” Du Plessis said.

Red Bull Campus Cricket: A ‘defining moment’ – De Bruyn 0

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Ken

Triumphant Assupol Tukkies coach Pierre de Bruyn believes the inaugural Red Bull Campus Cricket South Africa Finals have provided “a defining moment” for amateur cricket in the country.

“This tournament has been really refreshing for amateur cricket, it’s exciting and something for young cricketers to really look forward to. I believe this is a defining moment in amateur cricket because we’ve started to question the standard of club cricket, but varsity cricket can now open more avenues.

“It’s exciting and very necessary, an awesome event for young cricketers and an extraordinary experience for them,” De Bruyn said after his team had wrapped up a 3-0 series whitewash over the Steinhoff Maties at the University of Pretoria.

Maties secured a moral victory in the last game as they put Tukkies under pressure before a late comeback with the ball by the national club champions secured victory, and captain Emile Kriek said his team had been a bit overawed by the occasion.

“It’s an amazing event, an awesome concept and the atmosphere was amazing too. It’s what university cricket needs and we need to get it on TV. I’m lucky to have played first-class cricket and some white-ball cricket, but not many of our guys have and it was all a bit much for them in the first game. Losing that then made it very hard to get momentum in a best-of-three, but in the third game we just had nobody to finish off.

“Our okes had their heads in the clouds a bit, you’ve got to keep doing the basics and Tukkies did the basics a lot better than us, especially their death bowling and individual decision-making. They’re a well-trained and well-drilled team,” Kriek said.

The Maties captain said his team had particularly struggled to score runs up front.

“The starts we had – in the first six overs we’d lose three wickets – were a problem. Obviously we’re disappointed, but the tournament has been a big positive for us. Hopefully we will come back and do well in this competition because you have not seen the best of us,” were his parting words.

De Bruyn said his team had been “ruthless and clinical”.

“From the start we said we wanted to dominate this event and use home ground advantage and we were ruthless and clinical. I’m extremely proud of how the guys conducted themselves, we controlled the tournament and achieved our goals,” De Bruyn said.

The former Titans, Dolphins and Norfolk all-rounder said his sights are now set on achieving similar results at the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals in England in July.

“We’ve showed we mean business and we’re going to go to England with purpose. We don’t know what to expect in terms of the opposition, but I played in the UK for 10 seasons, so I know how to prepare and play in those conditions,” De Bruyn said.

University Sport South Africa cricket chairman Riaan Osman said his organisation were delighted to endorse Red Bull Campus Cricket.

“It’s a brilliant innovation for USSA cricket and the student cricket family. We’ve been working for quite some time on a different platform for our student cricketers and hopefully this will be the catalyst for something like that, something new,” Osman said.

Last rites take a while, but the clean sweep is achieved 0

Posted on February 24, 2013 by Ken


The last rites took a while, but the summer of ’13 still ended on the most triumphant of notes for South Africa as they completed an innings-and-18-run victory over Pakistan at Centurion and a 3-0 sweep of the series.

It’s just the third time South Africa have claimed a whitewash in a series of at least three Tests, the other two instances being the great Springbok team of 1969/70 that hammered Australia 4-0 and the impressive 5-0 clobbering of the West Indies in 1998/99, when the tourists had such greats as Brian Lara, Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in their ranks.

The Pakistan second innings came to an end just before 5pm on Sunday on 235 all out, the last pair of Rahat Ali and Mohammad Irfan having frustrated the South Africans for 45 minutes.

Pakistan were in a good state at lunch as Azhar Ali and Imran Farhat batted with defiance and positivity to take them to 87 for two, but Dale Steyn and Rory Kleinveldt reduced them to 176 for six by tea.

Steyn finished with four for 80 and Kleinveldt and Abbott took two wickets each. Considering it was a dead rubber game and South Africa were missing two key cogs in Jacques Kallis and Morne Morkel, it was an emphatic statement of their intent to truly dominate Test cricket.

“It’s been a very special summer at home and this result is very important. We wanted to step up, we were a bit uncertain about what to do on the first day, but we took on the challenge of batting. It would have been easy to be soft in this Test and not totally commit to the cause, but if you’re 10% off your game at this level, then you’re not going to produce a performance,” captain Graeme Smith said.

“It shows we’re hungry and we have a real pride in our performance. There was maturity and professionalism. We’ve had a few injuries, but to see the new guys come in and step up shows that there’s a good environment and platform for them to perform.”

None more so than Abbott, who owned the third best match figures ever on debut for South Africa of nine for 68. South African cricket’s house is clearly in order on the field considering how well debutants have done recently.

Three of the last four pace bowlers – Vernon Philander and Marchant de Lange being the others – have taken a five-wicket haul in their debut Test, while Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar both have centuries to their name.

Kleinveldt is the odd seamer out, but he bowled well at Centurion and eventually had some reward when he picked up the wickets of Misbah ul-Haq (5) and Asad Shafiq (6) midway through the second session.

Azhar and Farhat had added 54 for the third wicket and South Africa were in need of a breakthrough after lunch.

And it came, as ever, from Steyn, although this time it was a run out.

Farhat had turned left-arm spinner Robin Peterson to fine leg and Azhar was looking for a second run, but was turned back and couldn’t make his ground from just two metres down the pitch as Steyn fired in a superb bullet throw straight over the stumps.

Quite how the lower-order wagged so enthusiastically – Sarfraz Ahmed (40), Saeed Ajmal (31), Ehsan Adil (12) and Rahat (22) didn’t really mind how the runs came – baffled many, but victory was never in doubt.

Pakistan had begun the day on 14 for one and Azhar and Younis Khan survived for the first half-hour, before the opener and Farhat added 48 for the third wicket to take the tourists to lunch and cut the deficit to 166 runs.

The match situation was right down the obdurate Azhar’s alley and the 28-year-old batted for nearly three hours and faced 110 balls in scoring his 27.

Farhat, in contrast, once again looked keen to tee it up and struck five fours in his 43 off 91 deliveries.

Philander and Abbott were both probing, but the pick of the bowlers in the morning was Steyn, who had bowled nine overs for 22 runs and taken both wickets.

He removed Mohammad Hafeez with the first ball of the innings on the second evening and added the scalp of Younis for 11 on Sunday.

Steyn struck with a beautiful late away-swinger, Younis reaching for the ball to try and play it to mid-on, getting the outside edge and sending a comfortable catch to Smith at first slip.


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