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Ken Borland

Five weeks of intense cricket that will keep CSA’s candle wicks burning

Posted on January 17, 2022 by Ken

So the mighty Indian team will indeed be gracing our fields for five weeks of what should not only be intense cricket for the Proteas but a timely financial boost that will help the constrained Cricket South Africa administrators keep the candle wicks burning.

While one hopes the Proteas are able to make it a hotly contested series, there is no doubt that in terms of global boardroom politics, CSA are in a much weaker position than the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Of course South African cricket are eternally grateful for India agreeing to honour their commitment to tour when it looked likely that the Omicron variant of Covid would snuff out the tour.

But hopefully that gratitude does not express itself in timidity which allows the BCCI to bully or ride roughshod over South African cricket.

India have been calling the tune in world cricket for a while now, deservedly so when one considers they bring the most money into the game, but there will come a time when CSA have to stand up for their rights.

India are so used to everyone just kowtowing to them that there are occasions when they take a chance and push the boundaries of fair play.

One such occasion occurred this week in Bloemfontein, where their A team, to whom we are also extremely grateful for completing their series against SA A, displayed some incredibly frustrating time-wasting techniques and skullduggery.

As soon as the SA A team, trailing by just eight runs on first innings, made a solid start to their second innings, reaching 89/1 at tea on the third day, India began to ensure much time was taken out of the game.

In the two-and-a-half hour session after tea, they bowled just 26 overs as their bowlers crawled through their deliveries. Field settings were regularly tampered with and then returned to what they were, and every couple of overs, one of the Indian players would go to ground roaring and writhing in agony. The physiotherapist spent so much time on the field he should have been in the starting line-up.

The responsibility in those circumstances lies with the umpires and match referee to ensure the game is played in the right spirit, and there are laws, penalty runs and fines at their disposal to help them do it.

But this is India, who are doing South African cricket a massive favour remember, so there was a decided reluctance to ruffle any feathers.

The Test series against India is likely to have South African umpires due to the problems of travelling in these times of Covid, and one hopes the International Cricket Council devolve enough power to those officials so that they are seen to be representing the ICC and not CSA.

Otherwise they may not feel empowered enough to make tough calls against India should the need arise.

Hopefully we will be spared any controversy though, and will just be able to enjoy the fine cricket we know both teams are capable of producing. Given the aggressive fast bowlers South Africa have at their disposal, and India’s ability to fight fire with fire, there will certainly be some feisty action.

Which is fine, as long as that mysterious, difficult to quantify, line between competitiveness and unsporting behaviour is not crossed.

But anyone who watches this intriguing series will also be expecting two very passionate teams to sometimes get very close to that line.

I say bring it on!

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