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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.”

Faf hopes JSK are over their batting woes after change in the order 0

Posted on February 07, 2024 by Ken

FOCUSED: Joburg Super Kings captain Faf du Plessis returned to form with a quickfire half-century, steering his team’s late charge into the SA20 playoffs at the Wanderers.
Photo: Ron Gaunt.

A change in their batting order has Joburg Super Kings captain Faf du Plessis hopeful that they are over their batting woes as they head into their do-or-die eliminator against the Paarl Royals at the Wanderers on Wednesday.

JSK just snuck into the playoffs courtesy of their rousing victory over then log-leaders Durban Super Giants at the Wanderers last weekend, successfully chasing down a daunting target of 204. Du Plessis himself was man of the match with his 57 off 29 balls, marking a return to form for the former Proteas captain who had averaged just 20.66 in the tournament up till then.

Leus du Plooy opened the batting with Du Plessis and also scored 57, with Wayne Madsen coming in at number three and scoring 44 not out off 29 balls as he partnered big-hitters Moeen Ali and Donovan Ferreira as they took the Super Kings to victory with a ball to spare.

“After we were bowled out for 78 by the Sunrisers here, I felt embarrassed for the sell-out crowd, you’re hurting as a player and as a team. You’re half-expecting them not to turn up for the next game because they think you’re down-and-out, but we are extremely grateful we have such great supporters and we’re really glad we turned things around,” Du Plessis said at the Wanderers on Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of the performance against DSG, we were under a lot of pressure and managed to chase more than 200 against the best team in the tournament so far. So we will take a lot of confidence from that because DSG are a remarkable side with such balance.

“Obviously you need your big players to perform in a competition like this to put you in contention and there’s no doubt me not scoring many runs before that had a huge impact on the confidence of the team.

“You hope a couple of batsmen will have a purple patch and carry the batting line-up, but we were a bit light in that respect. But once we found our rhythm, we had better starts and that flowed through the team. We made a change with Leus moving up front and tactically that was a good change.

“Reeza Hendricks is an unbelievable player, but with the ball gripping in the first six overs like it has here, having two right-handers open the batting made it an uphill battle. To have two different batsmen at the crease [right-hand & left-hand] is important, especially if there’s something in the conditions.

“Wayne Madsen has also been fantastic in the last couple of games. Last season the pitch spun quite a bit here and so we went for Wayne because he’s very experienced and plays spin really well, his game centres around sweeping and reverse-sweeping. He’s been brilliant for us and he’s also one of the reasons our batting is in a better place,” Du Plessis said.

For Paarl Royals captain David Miller, the major change they need is in how they finish innings with the ball, having lost their last four games on the trot.

“It’s not ideal losing the last four, but it would look different if we lost five matches scattered through the tournament and there’s no stress or panic in any way. I was really happy with the way we went about our game at St George’s Park, even though we lost.

“In previous games, the opposition has taken the match away from us in the last four/five overs. You think you’ve restricted them to a good score to chase, but then it becomes a massive total and, as a batsman, chasing 10 or 11 an over from the get-go, you’re under pressure.

“So we’ve been in the game until the 15th or 16th over, playing really good cricket, but we need to stick to our processes, that’s what we’ll look to correct. T20 cricket can switch quickly, we have worked really hard and we still finished third on the log. So we are really positive and we just need to find our mojo again,” Miller said.

Playing at home in the eliminator and also potentially Qualifier 2 should also pump up the tyres of the Joburg Super Kings, but Du Plessis admitted they have struggled to adapt to the vagaries of the Wanderers pitch.

“Being at home will make a difference, it can give you an extra 10%, although we have been a bit frustrated here because we have not been able to produce our best. We’ve been a bit unsure of what the pitch will do. Winning your matches at home means you will generally be near the top at the back end of the tournament.

“But the last game here had a really good cricket wicket and it did not make that much difference whether you batted or bowled first. In the first few matches here, the pitch was very dry in the first innings and that played a bit into the oppositions’ strengths.

“But against DSG it was about playing your best cricket and then the best team would end up on top. It was all about how well you do your skills,” Du Plessis said.

As Miller pointed out though, Paarl Royals have won both their matches on the Highveld this season. Lungi Ngidi took four wickets as they won a thriller against the Pretoria Capitals in Centurion, and then they took advantage of a messy display in the field by the Super Kings to chase down 169 at the Wanderers and beat them by five wickets with an over to spare.

But back-to-back defeats to both the Durban Super Giants and Sunrisers Eastern Cape has punctured the confidence of the Royals; just how deflated they are will be seen on Wednesday evening.

Elgar looking forward to home & a juicy steak on the braai 0

Posted on December 30, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar says he is looking forward to getting home and enjoying a juicy steak on the braai following his team’s 2-0 hiding in the Test series against Australia, but at least some of the hurt and embarrassment was eased by the draw they managed to secure on the final day of the third Test in Sydney on Sunday.

South Africa came through the flames on Sunday, managing to stretch their first innings from 149/6 to 255, and then making 106/2 in their follow-on innings to deny the sizzling hot Australians a 3-0 sweep. They are not scores that would usually prompt satisfied celebrations, but this Proteas team needs small victories at the moment.

“We had a conversation last night where we said we could either lie down today and let Australia roll us, creating more embarrassment, or we could fight it out for the full final day,” Elgar said.

“It was really great to see how the team responded and there were a lot of learnings today. Being hurt and embarrassed probably go hand-in-hand, but maybe we feel that a bit less now. We showed a lot of fight and there were positive signs.”

Elgar must have felt like he was a piece of meat being braaied in the flames as he endured a miserable series, scoring just 56 runs in six innings.

“I could never get going in this series and the one time I did, I managed to run myself out. I can accept being caught down the leg-side twice, but three or four times highly irritates me. That’s something different. Generally there is a way you get out, and bowlers target that.

“Ten years into my Test career and now there’s something new. I’ll have to look at it. There have been a few conversations between me and the batting coach about some extra work.

“But for now I just want to get on a plane, go home, chill out, braai, go to the bush and play some golf. Taking as much time off as I want is what I need,” Elgar said.

The 35-year-old said he still has big ambitions, however, around the whole tricky business of fixing South Africa’s Test fortunes.

“There are four-day games in February before the two Tests against the West Indies. I still have the hunger and drive, no doubt. And I really believe there’s space for CSA to entertain motivating the players more who play this format.

“There’s room for discussion around compensation for the purest format, and we also need to play more games. At the moment the number of Tests is being stripped back and we are behind the pack,” Elgar pointed out.

Kolisi ditching his 5yr Sharks contract is all kosher – Eduard 0

Posted on October 13, 2023 by Ken

Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.

Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said he was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.

“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement, which also said the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”

Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.

“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level of performance,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.

“His winning ambition and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.

Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.

Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.

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