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Ken Borland



CSA slammed out the park too often 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken

 

If Cricket South Africa were a bowler, they would be the type that gives you an over comprising three great deliveries, beating the bat a couple of times and maybe bowling the batsman, and three rank full tosses that are hammered out of the park, and are no-balls just to make matters worse!

There are so many good things going on in CSA, so many people within that organisation who have a deep love for the game and are faithful servants of it, often at considerable cost to themselves. While those good balls are being bowled, it is easy to believe that everything in South African cricket is hunky dory and the future is bright.

Like when you go to the Centre of Excellence and National Academy in Pretoria. This is a superb facility where national teams can prepare with the latest technology at their fingertips.

The gadgets have recently been improved with the world’s most advanced batting simulator – the PitchVision Batting Studio – now installed. The high-tech bowling machine and smart lane equipped with sensors takes net batting to the next level. The simulator features a moveable bowling machine that can bowl over or around the wicket, videos of bowlers, shot-tracking, field setting and tracking of runs scored. The system also records technique for video analysis.

The batsman can set up any match scenario and bat with the realistic pressures of finding the gaps and trying to chase down a score at the death.

The technology even showed that I was planting my front leg when batting, but then a good coach could probably have pointed that out anyway. And, as I told coaches Shukri Conrad and Vincent Barnes, nobody has trapped me lbw for a long time! (Now I’m just tempting fate!)

There are lots of other good news stories around CSA at the moment, such as the thawing of relations with India. According to Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, the BCCI are keen on the idea of South Africa and India developing an icon series like the Ashes. The Proteas will be playing four Tests in India this year and the next tour to South Africa is not going to be the thoroughly inadequate shortened series which was foisted upon CSA in December 2013.

Sadly, however, there are still people in CSA who seem more intent on furthering their own agendas than the good of the game.

Despite CSA continuing to swear blind that there was nothing untoward in the selection of the team for the World Cup semi-final, that merit is the only criterion for the Proteas (except when the call is 50/50), the gathering of the cricket family this week for the CSA Awards (another example of how well they can do things) meant I was given yet more snippets of information that would seem to confirm that the side that took the field at Eden Park was not the one Russell Domingo, AB de Villiers or the selectors initially wanted.

And now, an event as happy and well-organised as the awards banquet has also been marred by the same faceless, cowardly interferers as allegations of the judges’ decisions being changed rear their ugly heads.

Two members of the judging panel confirmed to me that one of the franchise award-winners had been changed – that when they left their selection meeting, they were under the impression that a different player had won.

The last thing I want to do is cast aspersions on the ability and class of Robin Peterson (poor Vernon Philander was shamefully treated by the World Cup fiasco), whom I rate highly and believe should be in the Test squad ahead of Aaron Phangiso, but apparently he was the third-choice for the Momentum One-Day Cup Player of the Season, behind Dean Elgar and Andrew Puttick.

So the last week has pretty much summed up CSA’s performance in general: leading the field in many ways, like the centre of excellence in Pretoria, enjoying the support of an ever-growing list of sponsors and putting on superb events, but then also shooting themselves in the foot through dishonesty and backroom dealings. It felt like a family gathering this week, even if the family is dysfunctional at times, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some members who really would be better suited to Fifa than cricket administration.

Bulls regress to uninspired, stereotypical rugby 0

Posted on May 16, 2016 by Ken

 

The Vodacom Blue Bulls regressed back into the uninspired type of rugby that was derided as being stereotypical of their province as they sank to a disappointing 31-8 defeat at the hands of the Waratahs in their SuperRugby match in Sydney on Saturday.

They showed encouraging endeavour in the first half, operating off a strong scrum platform, but their error-rate was not befitting SuperRugby contenders and they failed to round off a number of promising opportunities. Their only points in the first half came after the hooter as a big scrum earned a penalty kicked by flyhalf Tian Schoeman.

The Waratahs were also guilty of handling errors and poor finishing in the first half, perhaps rattled by the loss of ace centre Kurtley Beale inside the first minute when he suffered a knee injury chasing after a kick and slipping as he tried to launch himself airborne.

The Waratahs scored the only try of the first half when scrumhalf Rudy Paige’s kick was charged down and Schoeman then knocked-on to give the home side territory deep inside the Bulls 22. New South Wales flyhalf Bernard Foley went on a strong run and scrumhalf Nick Phipps then went on a sniping run and, having not been held by the first tackler, he got up and dived over the line.

Foley converted and the Waratahs led 7-3 at the halftime break.

The second half was a miserable affair for the Bulls. They just could not get their hands on the ball, not helped by the tendency to launch poor up-and-unders from the middle of the field, and the Waratahs spent most of the last 40 minutes inside the Bulls half.

The memo that the Bulls clearly didn’t get or ignored – just to hang on to the ball through phases and build pressure on a slippery, poor surface at the Allianz Stadium – was followed to the T by the Waratahs in the opening minutes of the second half.

The home side kept the ball tight, using the pack to pick and go, driving forwards, until Phipps went wide, the draw-and-pass sucking in prop Marcel van der Merwe and allowing flank Dean Mumm to burst through the gap and score the second try.

Foley converted and then kicked a penalty for the Waratahs to lead 17-3 going into the last 10 minutes. They extended that scoreline with two further tries as the Bulls simply froze, unable to break out of their shells.

Israel Folau, the darling of the great city of Sydney, made two separate breaks in the build-up to Phipps’s second try, while a very disappointing game for the Bulls ended with replacement prop Angus Ta’avao rumbling over to secure a bonus point win for the Waratahs.

The visitors did manage to score a single try, in the 74th minute, when replacement centre Dries Swanepoel burst through in midfield after the Bulls showed how capable they are of opening up defences when they hang on to the ball for several phases.

The Bulls are now returning home and are going to have to ask themselves some tough questions about their desire to advance their rugby. They are being outworked and outmuscled by sides, which are not good signs.

There are few Bulls players who can feel satisfied with their performances; flank Lappies Labuschagne was immense and his work-rate was exceptional, while loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka scrummed superbly along with Van der Merwe, and was good in the loose as well. Fullback SP Marais showed some fine touches on attack, but the Bulls are not attacking nearly enough.

Scorers

WaratahsTries: Nick Phipps (2), Dean Mumm, Angus Ta’avao. Conversions: Bernard Foley (4). Penalty: Foley.

Vodacom Blue BullsTry: Dries Swanepoel. Penalty: Tian Schoeman.

http://citizen.co.za/1115465/bulls-regress-to-uninspired-stereotypical-rugby/



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