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Ken Borland

Olivier a very different bowler to the rookie on the previous Proteas tour of England 0

Posted on August 29, 2022 by Ken

Duanne Olivier was a member of the South African Test squad on their previous tour of England in 2017, but he had just one Test under his belt then and is obviously a very different bowler to the rookie who played in two of the matches as the Proteas were beaten 3-1.

Having enjoyed match figures of five for 57 on debut against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers in January of that year, Olivier arrived in England in the role of enforcer, pace and bounce being his key weapons. He played in the second Test, when South Africa levelled the series with an imposing 340-run win at Trrent Bridge, and then in the last Test at Old Trafford, which the hosts won by 177 runs.

Olivier took seven wickets in the series at an average of 27.57.

“The way I played in 2017 will be completely different to now,” Olivier told Saturday Citizen. “England play swing quite well and you need to get the ball to nibble around over there.

“That’s what I worked on in my three years of county cricket. But there are times when you can’t do that because the pitches and conditions play a massive role in England.

“It’s important not to complicate things, it depends on the situation whether you can be more aggressive or must be defensive. Maybe my job is to get the run-rate down.

“The important thing is to bowl in partnerships, put pressure on the batsmen. But you have to graft to get wickets. You get pitches where you have to just sit in and build pressure,” Olivier said.

The previous incarnation of the Groblersdal-born paceman seldom drew the batsman forward, he preferred to bombard them, pushing them back and only using the fuller ball if he hadn’t yet found a glove or an edge behind. Olivier, who turned 30 in May, knows he has to have a more rounded strategy in England.

“At times you can be aggressive with short-pitched bowling, but you aim to be fuller, especially early on with the newer ball,” Olivier said. “I don’t mind the batsmen coming at me, I will just try and hit my length and stay there.

“You have to stay within your game-plan and some days it goes for you, some days it doesn’t. We have to be patient, England play a risky game and if they lose two or three wickets early on then everything changes.

“Things happen quickly in Test cricket, and when you have that momentum, it’s about riding the wave, being ruthless when you’re on top. As bowlers, we also want to throw the first punch.

“We believe in our game-plan and we will stick to that, what we believe in, the simple things. Small things can make a big difference in the end and we know we have a world-class bowling unit,” Olivier said.

Food packs & punctuality: prudent & positive signs for CSA 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

It is a sign of the prudent financial belt-tightening that Cricket South Africa have been doing that the official press conference to introduce Enoch Nkwe as the new director of cricket on Friday was followed by food packs given to the media.

Five years ago, there would have been catered food on hand, but it was a jolly good food pack – potato chips, a chocolate bar, packet of biltong, sandwiches and wraps – and another sign that the new CSA administration are focusing on the basics of putting the game first and not on lavish displays that are more about camouflage than anything else.

The other sign that CSA are heading in the right direction was that Nkwe and CEO Pholetsi Moseki, as well as Sipho Rihlamvu, the acting head of communications and media and the program director, were all in place and ready to go at 10.59am, the conference starting as advertised at 11am sharp. The blend of in-person attendance and virtual participants also worked seamlessly.

These are the sort of small things that speak to an organisation’s culture and professionalism and CSA have lately been consistently getting them right.

Moseki made the point that “cricket is in good hands” and that certainly is the impression at the moment. The coming months will of course pose incredible challenges that are mostly due to the state of the country as a whole, especially the economy.

While Nkwe acknowledged the importance of the commercial side of cricket, his individual strengths are more directed towards the strategic side of the game itself and building structures and pipelines.

He succeeds Graeme Smith, such a major figure in world cricket, and someone who was more involved with international deal-making and making sure the Proteas remain in the top echelon of teams as far as the all-powerful broadcasters are concerned.

Nkwe will be more involved in domestic affairs, in the grassroots that are so desperately in need of revitalisation. He will be a different sort of director of cricket, but is certainly eminently qualified and skilled to be in that job.

The more financial side of running South African cricket will be handled in the boardroom, where there is now also ample ability.

In so many ways, this is a new era for South African cricket. Out of the horrors and scorched earth tactics of the last few years, have come new shoots of green and gold hope.

The last time there was a press conference at CSA’s Melrose Estate offices (which also started dead on time), it was to announce their partnership with Roc Nation that will bring a new emphasis on fans and their in-stadium experience, as well as the digital world that is now so important. This is also vital in this new age.

The Proteas are obviously CSA’s showpiece product and how they perform will be used to measure the efficiency of the organisation.

Even with a new leadership dynamic in place, head coach Mark Boucher now reporting to Nkwe, the initial signs are positive. There have even been reports of a new, more cordial relationship between the team and the CSA Board.

For the players to successfully ply their trade against the best in the world, they need stability and assurance. There needs to be clarity and communication between them and their management and their administrators.

Boucher is famous for being a straight-talker and anyone who has spoken to Nkwe will know that he is a great communicator.

It is heartening to hear that even the Board are no longer playing Broken Telephone or speaking with forked tongues.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

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