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Ken Borland



CSA to raise quotas 0

Posted on May 06, 2016 by Ken

 

Johannesburg-raised Grant Elliott, the star of New Zealand’s World Cup semi-final victory over South Africa on Tuesday, was a refugee from the quota system and there are fears of a fresh exodus of players after it was revealed Cricket South Africa (CSA) will raise the targets for players of colour and Black African cricketers for next season.

CSA’s plan to increase the number of players of colour required to feature in all franchise cricket to six from next season, including at least three Black Africans, and to make the quota seven players of colour, including four Black Africans, in the semi-professional teams has been slammed by the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) and the franchises, not least of all because they were not consulted before the announcement was made after they had done almost all of their contracting already for next season.

“We’re very unhappy, not with the decision itself because we represent all players and stay out of transformation decisions, but with the way it was done,” Tony Irish, the SACA chief executive, told The Citizen on Tuesday. “Our agreement with CSA requires them to consult with us and the franchises before doing things like that, and they have to do it before the franchise window for contracts starts on January 1.

“But they did this with two weeks left in the three-month window for transfers and 90% of the franchise contracts have been finalised based on the old numbers from last season. It means that players with contracts won’t be playing and the players that are playing won’t have contracts.”

The move, the second increase in the quota in successive seasons, will also have serious consequences for the pipeline of talent in South Africa because it effectively means that each union can only offer regular first-class cricket to 9 white players every season. Talented players on the fringes of their franchise sides like George Linde, Sybrand Engelbrecht, Daryn Smit, Calvin Savage, Duanne Olivier, Quinton Friend, Devon Conway, Sean Jamison, JP de Villiers, Shaun von Berg, Jon-Jon Smuts and David White could find themselves relegated to club cricket.

Players who have piqued the interest of the national selectors like Marchant de Lange, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Corne Dry, Hardus Viljoen and Heino Kuhn could find themselves languishing in semi-professional cricket.

“This is exactly why consultation is so important, but CSA have completely disregarded us despite the agreements being clear. We are considering our options,” Irish said.

CSA spokesman Altaaf Kazi confirmed they had received a letter from SACA and “we are aware of their concerns and they are being addressed by the board”.

Elliott’s winning hand for New Zealand has once again put the spotlight on how much international-calibre talent South Africa loses, making a balanced, well thought-out response to the demands of transformation a necessity.

Critics going to town but Domingo not going anywhere 0

Posted on April 07, 2016 by Ken

 

All the critics are going to town on Russell Domingo following yet another Proteas failure at a world cup, but the coach himself is defiant that he should not be drummed out of his position at the helm of South Africa’s cricket team.

“I wouldn’t say our form has been bad for 18 months, it’s just the last four or five months, since the India Tests. The ODIs against India were good and the ODIs and T20s against England were good.

“We just did not play the big moments well enough. But my opinion is that our preparation was outstanding, spot on, I can assure you everyone worked extremely hard, we were meticulous in our planning and strategising. It’s part of my job, absolutely, to try and make it happen, to make it all come together, and my impression is that the team does buy into my approach.

“Of course I want to continue in my job and I will just work hard and try and get the best out of the players. I have a good relationship with them and in my opinion our management team is as good as anything in the world,” Domingo said.

South Africa’s premature exit at the ICC World T20 is now the subject of a Cricket South Africa review and CEO Haroon Lorgat, who has previously been a solid backer of Domingo, stopped short of giving him unqualified support. Six months ago, Domingo received a contract extension through to the end of April next year from CSA.

Whether CSA will be satisfied with Domingo eking out results until then remains to be seen, but the man in the firing line does not feel he should go.

“The margins in international cricket are very small and there’s just a tiny difference in making the semi-finals or not. Look at India getting out of jail against Bangladesh. There will always be questions after you fall out of an event like that, but small things just didn’t go for us,” Domingo said.

Attack will be at the forefront in new expanded SuperRugby 0

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Ken

 

The Jaguares of Argentina were at the SuperRugby launch at the SuperSport studios in Randburg on Thursday and, despite their loss to the Stormers in a warm-up game, everyone expects them to continue with the attacking, ball-in-hand approach that took them to the semi-finals of last year’s World Cup.

Then again, all of the South African teams have also committed themselves to a more positive, expansive brand of play, with some coaches intimating that local rugby is standing at a crossroads.

The Lions are the team that has been leading the way for South African teams in terms of a new, more high-tempo style of play and they will be the next team to face the Jaguares, albeit in another warm-up game, when they meet at Wits University on Friday night.

And coach Johan Ackermann is expecting a lot from the Argentinians.

“Although the Jaguares lost, Gert Smal of the Stormers told me that they were impressed by them, that they played an exciting brand of rugby. They can all step and offload, they run the ball and really push the pace. It’s basically the Argentina Test side and we couldn’t ask for a better test when it comes to seeing if our players can handle the pressure of SuperRugby,” Ackermann said on Thursday.

That Argentina are now a top-class Test side is beyond dispute, but fielding a team in SuperRugby is a different dynamic for them and flyhalf Martin Landajo says they are treating it all as a learning experience at the moment.

“It was very important for us to have a good World Cup and lots of players from that team are in the Jaguares. But we are just trying to go slowly and try and learn a lot, we must just enjoy it, that’s the most important thing. But the people back home are really happy and we have a lot of support from Argentina rugby fans,” Landajo said.

While the Jaguares will enjoy the lack of expectation that comes with being tournament rookies, the Stormers are always under pressure from their demanding fans, but new coach Robbie Fleck is calling for a “fearless” approach from his team.

“We’ve prepared very well and although we’ve had changes in management and new faces in the team, we still have a quality spine to the side. There are a lot of youngsters, but some of them are 22 or 23 years old and senior players.

“It’s exciting to blood youngsters and develop a new culture, and I feel these are very exciting times for South African rugby as a whole, particularly with all the new coaches on the scene and being in the unique position that we can now really develop players. I want our team to be fearless, even though there is a lot of pressure on them to perform and a lot of pressure off the field,” Fleck said.

The Southern Kings are meeting the Sharks at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on February 27 in their first game back in Super Rugby since 2013 and, despite their tumultuous build-up, captain Steven Sykes says they will be ready come opening day.

“We’ve done enough so that we can compete, it was very tough only starting our pre-season preparation on January 4, but we’ve had six-day weeks and put in a lot of work so we are prepared. I believe we will be fine depth-wise, there are new players coming in every week, and we have a really nice team environment and facilities.

“We’re in the same shoes as the Lions were in a few years ago in that we have a lot of young players who want to show how they can compete. Plus we have a lot more experience than in 2013 and one of our goals is to make a better showing this year. But we have a good mix that I am excited about,” Sykes said.

Up in Pretoria, Nollis Marais is one of the coaches in their first year of SuperRugby and he has already inculcated a more attacking style of play into the Bulls, having brought it into the Currie Cup campaign in which a callow side went down to Western Province in the semi-finals.

Marais is unapologetic that he has placed his faith in youth.

“We’ve lost a lot of top players but it’s time to adapt, it’s time for new blood and that makes it easier down the line because it’s a long competition. We’ve had a lot of senior players leave and it’s time for the youngsters to step up and take their chance, although they still have a couple of guys that have played SuperRugby before who they can learn from.

“But I believe in the Bulls structures, I’ve been part of the system for five years, and it’s important for South African rugby that we develop the players in the pipeline too. The Bulls once had a lot of senior players and the youngsters couldn’t come through, there was no opportunity for them, but we need to keep an eye on them,” Marais said.

In Durban, there is an optimistic mood after two impressive wins over Toulon and Toulose and coach Gary Gold is happy that the pre-season has gone according to plan.

“We had a very clear strategy pre-season in terms of how we wanted to prepare and the two games in France showed us how far we’ve come in certain areas. But we’re being harsh on ourselves and we know that there are other areas we now need to spend time on.

“We’re very satisfied with the things we’ve worked on, we got reward from those, we’ll bank those, but now we need to sharpen the pencil in other areas. We’d be dumb to think we won’t come a cropper if we don’t spend time and energy on those areas,” Gold said.

While the new complex conference system has its detractors, South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux is banning all such negativity from his thoughts.

“It’s a new era, SuperRugby is now almost a global competition, spanning five continents and 16 time zones. And the great positive is that half the South African teams can now qualify for the playoffs. The key things that make it a win-win for South African rugby are that we play less games, and travel used to be a big issue because our teams used to be unfairly treated, but now we have significantly reduced the tour to Australasia.

“People said they wanted a new product, we’ve given it to them and time will tell whether they like it or not. We wanted six franchises, we’ve got it; we wanted less travel and more derbies, we got that; and we’re playing different teams because people didn’t want to play all the same teams all the time,” Roux said.

 

 

Good times to be a gambler 0

Posted on February 14, 2016 by Ken

 

Judging by South Africa’s performance in the World Cup quarterfinal against Sri Lanka this week, these are good times to be a gambler and, seeing as though I am at Sun City for the Chase to the Investec Cup final, I’m going to put R1000 each on three, four and eight at the roulette table tonight, in honour of JP Duminy’s three wickets in three balls, which meant the Proteas got away with only having four specialist bowlers, and Quinton de Kock coming good after previously averaging just eight in the tournament.

Okay, the bit about me gambling tonight is a joke because times are still tough for journos and instead I may treat myself to a lager and ponder over how good it felt to get my predictions for the quarterfinal against Sri Lanka so utterly wrong.

Coach Russell Domingo has never struck me as the gambling type, although he does have a profound love for figures, which is not to say he’s not willing to make tough decisions. He’s done that before and was even willing to leave the great Jacques Kallis out of limited-overs teams when he didn’t fit into the game-plan.

But as far as gambles go, taking on the strong Sri Lankan batting line-up on a flat Sydney Cricket Ground pitch with Duminy as the fifth bowler and AB de Villiers as the back-up ranks up there with the biggest in World Cup history, and, were it not for the brilliance of the pace bowlers and Imran Tahir in taking early wickets, it was a move that could have gone stupidly wrong.

But it worked, as did the faith shown in De Kock. As the confidence seeped back into the young left-hander, emboldened by the support of his management and team-mates, his talent and class was plain to see.

You would rightly expect South Africa to keep the same XI for Tuesday’s semi-final against the winner of today’s match between New Zealand and the West Indies, which means the pressure will once again be on the bowlers to reach the same heights they did in Sydney.

Apart from the pleasure of watching such a complete performance and celebrating South Africa’s first win in a World Cup knockout game, I really liked the send-off given to Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

Those two great batsmen have given South African bowlers a terrible time over the years but their strength of character, charm and integrity means they will be remembered as so much more than just prolific employees of Sri Lanka Cricket.

In my opinion, Sangakkara is one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game, in the same exalted realms of excellence as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Kallis.

The Proteas obviously hold him and Jayawardene in similarly high esteem judging by the genuine warmth they showed in farewelling them, and Sangakkara’s response when asked how he would like to be remembered speaks to the very essence of sport:

“If anyone can say they’ve enjoyed playing against me and playing with me, I’ll be more than happy.”

Cricket South Africa sent out a special tribute statement when Tendulkar retired; Sangakkara is surely deserving of the same honour?

 

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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