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Ken Borland

More words written about Teeger than for any other U19 captain, but what of his successor, Juan James? 0

Posted on February 21, 2024 by Ken

More words have been written about former SA U19 captain David Teeger in the last week than for any other skipper ever before in the build-up to the junior world cup, but what about his successor, Juan James?

The 19-year-old James has more experience than Teeger, being 96 days older and having already played senior first-class cricket for Western Province and North-West.

The furore that followed Teeger’s comments supporting the Israeli defence force, the subsequent investigation into what he said at the Jewish Achievers Awards in October, his not guilty verdict but then Cricket South Africa’s decision to strip him of the captaincy anyway, would have made most teenagers exceedingly unhappy and one could have forgiven the national U19 team for going into their showpiece tournament feeling bitter and gloomy.

But this SA U19 squad is made of much more sterner stuff and it seems they have been able to handle the whole controversy more maturely and sensibly than their so-called adult leaders on the CSA Board.

Teeger’s comments, which were made five days before Israel’s large-scale invasion of Gaza, were the subject of no-holds-barred questioning from his team-mates when the squad did media training ahead of their world cup.

Other questions dealt with quotas and matchfixing.

Perhaps this willingness to engage with each other and confront any issues head on is why the team has been able to rally around each other in the wake of Teeger’s controversial axing as captain.

“The whole thing has not affected us at all,” James said earlier this week. “We are a very tight bunch and we stick to our processes as a team.

“David is taking the disappointment very well, he told me that he will give me his full backing and he is prepared to give everything in trying to score runs and take wickets for the team.”

They certainly showed more resolve and ability to handle tough situations than many other South African teams at world cups when they held off a ferocious challenge from the West Indies to win their opening game by 31 runs in Potchefstroom.

Teeger scored 44 and took an important wicket, and appeared to be leading them during the West Indian run-chase when James left the field with an injury.

The Caledon-born James made his senior first-class debut last season for North-West, but Western Province quickly decided to find the finances and bring him back home for this season. Before heading to Potchefstroom University, James had attended Wynberg High School and played club cricket for Ottomans.

While he has batted down the order for the SA U19s and been used more as a very handy off-spin bowler, he has batted at number six for the Western Province senior side.

Having been introduced to the game by his father as a three-year-old in the backyard, James is determined to make full use of every opportunity available to him. His most impressive first-class innings so far came against the Titans at SuperSport Park last season when he came in as a concussion substitute and lashed 37 off just 35 balls.

“It wasn’t a lot of runs, but it was definitely a confidence boost for me because it was the first time I felt I belonged at that level,” James said.

Teeger’s blacklisting by CSA has placed James firmly in the spotlight, but he has captained the SA U19s before, during their series in Bangladesh in July last year.

“It’s second nature for me and the team seems to be engaging quite well with me,” James said ahead of the World Cup. “I’m a fairly relaxed captain, I just want everyone to be themselves.

“But I do like to take the opposition on. I like to take control as a captain, but I don’t mind getting ideas from my team-mates.”

Excellent build-up for SA20 league kicking off next week 0

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Ken

The excellent build-up for the new SA20 tournament continued this week with the news that Sky Sports in the UK have signed a five-year deal to also show the tournament, expanding the global reach of the new T20 league and also bringing in some much-needed hard currency.

With the tournament kicking off in Cape Town next Tuesday evening in Cape Town, everything would seem to be in place for the SA20 to explode into the consciousness of cricket fans.

While co-owners SuperSport will obviously have the African broadcast rights for the league, the all-important Indian market was sown up by the 10-year deal signed with Viacom 18, the dynamic new entertainment network that is growing rapidly on the subcontinent. They are believed to be paying at least $240 000 per game, so this year’s 33 matches will bring in nearly $8 million (R135 million).

Contracts are also being finalised to ensure the tournament is broadcast in other major cricket markets like Australia/New Zealand and the Caribbean.

There is a title sponsor in BetWay, who have signed a “multi-year” deal, and CSA are intimating that the league will make a profit in its first year, having earlier predicted a five-year wait before the SA20 would be in the black.

One does still wonder, however, about a few finer details.

Is a run of five successive fixtures between February 3-7 on the Highveld – with matches at both the Wanderers and SuperSport Park on February 4 – going to enjoy good crowds? The semi-finals follow from February 8 and there is a good chance either the Joburg Super Kings or Pretoria Capitals will be involved in those too.

And is the tournament loadshedding-proof and, if so, are those emergency back-up measures not going to significantly decrease profits?

But here’s hoping for some magnificent action to take our minds off all the troubles currently surrounding South African cricket, never mind the country as a whole.

Having looked into my crystal ball, I would, if forced to, put money on a MI Cape Town versus Paarl Royals final.

MI Cape Town, in particular, have a marvellous attack – Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada and Rashid Khan could bowl 16 of their 20 overs, which leaves opposition batsmen with plenty of thinking to do when it comes to taking them on.

Focus on Bavuma & his pedigree; all his focus on fulfilling his role 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

While almost all the focus in the build-up to South Africa’s first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday has been on Proteas captain Temba Bavuma and his pedigree in the shortest format of the game, the skipper himself said on Tuesday that all his focus is on fulfilling his role for the team.

Bavuma returns to international action for the first time since June when he retired hurt for eight off 11 balls in the fourth T20 against India in Rajkot; South Africa going on to be skittled for just 87 and losing by 82 runs as the hosts levelled the series. The fifth and decisive match was then washed out.

Bavuma tore a tendon in his elbow when diving to make his ground on a quick single. But questions had already been raised in India over his place in the side as he ended the series with 61 runs in four innings, at a strike-rate of only 103.38, the lowest of any frontline batsman in the series.

When he last week failed to attract a single bid for the SA20 league from any of the IPL-associated franchises, it created a fresh storm over his head.

“My focus is on the team and my role as captain is to lead and serve as best I can,” Bavuma said on Tuesday when asked whether he will be going all-out with the bat to prove the naysayers wrong.

“My job is to make sure the team is in the best space possible going into the World Cup. Anything else I try not to give energy to, they’re all distractions and sideshows.

“I’m trying to put what happened at the auction behind me and my biggest focus is on my role as captain,” Bavuma said.

The Indian team are resting the swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who gave the Proteas, and especially Bavuma, a torrid time in the previous series. Jasprit Bumrah is back to lead the attack. The home side’s most experienced batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, are also back in the fray, having rested in the earlier rubber.

“We were tested and challenged in all departments last time here and I think we responded quite well,” Bavuma said. “They have some big names back with pedigree behind them, and they will lead from the front.

“They will boost the confidence of the Indian team and add some x-factor. But it’s good for us to be coming up against their best players.

“It’s quite challenging against their opening bowlers in the powerplay, they get the ball to swing and move quite a bit, more than we are accustomed to at home.

“The key is to limit the damage, manoeuvre around them and try and get some momentum later on,” Bavuma said.

Play starts at 3.30pm SA time.

SA20 franchises make a hash of auction, got Bavuma all wrong 0

Posted on November 08, 2022 by Ken

The SA20 Auction was always going to be one of the key events in the build-up to the launch of the new T20 league early next year, crucial in getting the public behind Cricket South Africa’s proposed financial saviour.

Unfortunately the six franchises made a complete hash of it by snubbing one of this country’s most popular players. I’m not sure whether Temba Bavuma’s status as captain of the national T20 team or the fact he is a role-model and hero to so many is most important, but either way, he should be playing in the SA20.

His highly-controversial snubbing – there is no other word for it when you fail to get a bid despite going on auction three times – has led to ferocious debate. Some of it has been so lacking in clarity of thought or decent humanity that it reminds me a bit of how Hashim Amla was treated in the early stages of his international career. Despite scoring prolifically for KwaZulu-Natal, Amla had many critics who said he would never make it at international level.

Amla showed ‘em alright how wrong that characterisation of his abilities was.

Let’s be clear, I’m not saying Bavuma should automatically have been bought simply because he is a Proteas captain, or his popularity, or the colour of his skin. I’m saying choose him because there are compelling cricketing reasons to do so.

That the 32-year-old is not the most explosive T20 batsman is a given, but he can perform a very important role in the top-three, especially when conditions give the bowlers a bit of assistance. I watched him score an outstanding century at the Wanderers to win the Highveld Lions the T20 title against the Warriors in 2019.

My point is three of the franchises clearly chose players instead of Bavuma who do not have better records than him.

My alarm bells were ringing when Sunrisers Eastern Cape bought Marques Ackerman in the 12th round of bidding, admittedly for just R175 000, compared to Bavuma’s base price of R850 000, which was clearly set too high, either by himself or whoever advised him poorly.

Because we’re going to be comparing records of these top-three batsmen, Bavuma’s T20 stats are the baseline. In 25 internationals, he has a strike-rate of 120.60 and an average of 26.76. But there were some purely domestic players who were chosen ahead of him, so Bavuma’s local stats are 100 matches, a strike-rate of 124.67 and an average of 30.52.

Ackerman has played just 39 domestic T20s and strikes at 123.68, with an average of 24.25.

There was an even bigger warning that Bavuma was in for humiliation when Durban Super Giants bought West Indian Johnson Charles in the next round. A bang-average T20 player based on his stats: In 34 internationals, he has a strike-rate of only 121.68 and an average of only 21.93. His domestic figures are 128.63 and 25.76. And before you bring up his wicketkeeping, Durban already had Quinton de Kock and Heinrich Klaasen in their squad.

In the next round, Super Kings bought Matthew Breetzke, a sound investment in up-and-coming talent, but he has a domestic strike-rate of 129.43 and an average of 24.78. Like many of the local cricketers, half of those matches have been in the semi-pro ranks, so you really cannot compare him with Bavuma.

When Sunrisers Eastern Cape then bought Test opener Sarel Erwee in Round 15, it really seemed like the auction was merely a device for our IPL overlords to ram home some sort of anti-transformation agenda.

Erwee strikes at 123.64 and has an average of 24.70.

One wonders how much local input the franchises used.

And considering the awful racist targeting of Bavuma and Andile Phehlukwayo, whose omission from the SA20 is also a shock, by some Indian social media, and the right-wing, anti-liberal current Indian government, one wonders whether there is not more to these auction outcomes than meets the eye.

We sincerely hope not.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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