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Ken Borland

England playing brave and bold cricket, but can they handle pace and bounce and 2 quality spinners of Proteas? 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar acknowledges that England are currently playing “brave and bold” Test cricket, but he is eager to see whether they can maintain that against the pace and bounce, and two quality spinners, of the South African attack when their Test series gets underway next month.

In a delirious month of four Test matches against New Zealand (3) and India (1), England’s powerful batting line-up has chased down four successive targets of more than 250 in the fourth innings with tremendous gung-ho and aggression, scoring at run-rates of 4.93 chasing 378 against the powerful India attack, and 3.53, 5.98 and 5.44 against the Black Caps.

“England have certainly been quite brave and bold, it’s been exciting and brought extra energy to Test cricket,” Elgar told Saturday Citizen. “I’m sure world cricket has been hit by surprise, especially in the way they chase.

“But it’s been on relatively batting-friendly pitches and conditions have been in their favour. There hasn’t been too much sideways movement and they’ve been allowed to play that game.

“Our seamers will also bring a lot more pace and bounce against them and we have quite a few options to exploit any pitches that do go up-and-down.

“It will be interesting to see the pitches they prepare, knowing the fast bowling arsenal we have, backed up by two quality spinners if need be. I know I would not like to face our attack,” Elgar said.

The left-handed opening batsman has brought a hard edge to the Proteas during his captaincy tenure; the more pressure Elgar is under, the more dogged he becomes. That character is reflected in his team: The current Proteas are hard-working, stubborn and they refuse to let anyone dominate them.

It is typical of Elgar’s personality that he is loving the prospect of England going all-out-attack on them and he is backing the Proteas to be able to handle the onslaught.

“It’s going to be exciting and luckily we have quite a few pace bowlers,” Elgar says. “The basics are still fundamental to Test cricket and patience is one of our strengths. We really enjoy taking it to the last day and strangling teams.

“We have done a lot of graft on our game-plan because there could be a false sense of needing to be drawn into the way England want to play. That would be a massive error and would take our strengths out of the equation. We’ve had a lot of brilliant fast bowlers going to the UK and dominating, so I’m excited about that.

“When one talks about an aggressive or positive style of play, one needs to define exactly what you mean by that. You can still be aggressive but savvy in the way you go about things. There will be times when we need to counter and times we need to absorb, that’s just the nature of Test cricket.

“Whether the way England are playing now has any longevity, I’m not sure. It has paid off for now. It’s certainly going to be a very exciting series,” Elgar said.

Sharks will miss Am, their provider of beautiful magic on the field 0

Posted on April 11, 2022 by Ken

Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am is not only the Sharks’ captain but he has been the provider of numerous moments of beautiful magic on the field, so wing Sbu Nkosi acknowledges the team are certainly going to miss him against Scarlets in Durban on Friday night, but they have confidence the large hole he leaves will be adequately filled.

Am has left for Japan for a lucrative two-month stint with Kobe Steelers, meaning he will miss the Sharks’ next seven United Rugby Championship matches, returning in time for the last game of the round-robin phase, away to Ulster on May 21.

“It would be very difficult for any team in the world to lose Lukhanyo,” Nkosi said on Tuesday. “But we have very capable replacements and they are learning quickly.

“But it’s a huge loss for any team, Lukhanyo has exceptional quality and the ability to produce some great moments on the field when they are really needed.

“We will take time to adjust, but if each player brings 10% extra then that will more than make up for Lukhanyo’s loss.

“In terms of the captaincy, Siya Kolisi has played a leadership role since he arrived, he’s been very influential and involved. He’ll bring the same energy now, he’s just got the authority of the captain’s title now,” Nkosi said.

The Scarlets have travelled from the rain and temperatures of less than 10° of Llanelli to Durban perhaps expecting the weather to be a bit milder on the coast than it is currently in a place like Limpopo. But the temperature will be pushing 30° in Durban this week with humidity of 85%.

“It’s not gonna happen!” Nkosi laughed when asked about the potential for cooler weather now that summer has entered its last month. “It’s still very hot and humid and the ball is very slippery.

“That’s just how it is and I expect that on Friday night as well. We’ve been training in that, we are moulded in heat and our coaches have us training when the sun is at its highest.

“We want to use the humidity and heat to our advantage. Scarlets are flying from the cold to extremely hot weather.

“But it does not matter where they are placed on the log [12th], that does not always reflect the quality of a side. We ourselves were in a totally different place on the log three weeks ago, so we will approach them with respect,” Nkosi said.

Nollis looks to shield Bulls from public expectation 0

Posted on February 25, 2016 by Ken


Bulls coach Nollis Marais acknowledges that public expectation will be high when his new-look team start their SuperRugby campaign against the Stormers in Cape Town this weekend, but he wants to shield his team from those pressures.
“It’s time for the new blood to step up and they can learn from the guys who have played SuperRugby before. But I don’t want them to get caught up in the emotion of a Western Province versus Bulls game, we need to make sure that we are level-headed and don’t allow them to dictate how we play. I want the guys to just play, it’s going to be a big game but we must just look forward to it.
“As a coach, you always want to win trophies, but at the moment our aim is just to make the playoffs first,” Marais said.
And while most of the attention has been focused on the exciting Bulls backline and the major blow that is the loss of flyhalf Handre Pollard to injury, Marais said his attention has been on ensuring his team has a good set-piece.
“You need solid set-pieces to play any sort of attacking rugby. You have to at least win your own ball, to give yourself an attacking platform, sometimes it’s the only way to generate momentum.
“Handre is obviously a big loss because he brings a brand of attacking and physical play to flyhalf. But I used Tian Schoeman for the whole Currie Cup and he’s a good talent. Francois Brummer has been through the mill and they need to step up. But we can’t expect them to be Handre Pollard, they just need to be themselves,” Marais added.

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    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

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