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Ken Borland



Elgar says he’s okay with a lot on eve of first Test 0

Posted on May 24, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar said he was okay with a lot on the eve of the first Test against Australia, including the home team’s incredible record in Brisbane and what looks likely to be a paceman-friendly pitch for his struggling batsmen to contend with against a powerful attack.

Australia have lost just one Test – versus India in January 2021 – at the Gabba in 33 matches dating back to December 1989. Surprisingly, South Africa have only played one Test in Queensland in that time, the draw in 2012 when Michael Clarke scored 259 not out after centuries by Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis.

“History is not in our favour in Brisbane, but that’s okay,” Elgar said on Friday. “This group of players doesn’t have any dirty laundry at the Gabba, we haven’t played here as a group so there have been no failures.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity, in fact for the last two weeks here we have been salivating for this moment. Australia is a really tough place to play, but so rewarding if you get it right.

“The pitch looks the same colour as the grass I’m standing on in the outfield, but green doesn’t scare us, we’re used to pretty green and juicy pitches in South Africa.

“The ball nips around a bit here, but that’s okay. The pitches are fair and the batsmen know that if they get in then they can really capitalise. And it looks like it will suit our bowling unit,” Elgar said.

Elgar acknowledged the whispers around the South African batting line-up and the opening batsman was quick to say he needs to lead from the front with big runs.

“All our batsmen must stand up, our batting unit has been a talking point of late. We’re not shying away from that and it’s time for us to rise up and shine.

“It’s time for me personally to put in a massive performance. As the senior batsman, you always carry the weight of responsibility and as captain I’m very aware of my burden.

“I’ve got to lead from the front, but that’s something I thrive on, I believe it brings out the best in me.

“The rest of our batsmen are just a bit inexperienced in Test cricket, but that also means they don’t have any baggage,” Elgar said.

Australia’s strong attack will no doubt be looking to hit hard and early in order to undermine that confidence.

SA Open champ Sullivan comes to Joburg eyeing the top-50 & the majors 0

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Ken

 

South African Open champion Andy Sullivan returns to Johannesburg and the Joburg Open starting today doorstepping the top-50 in the world and a ticket to the major championships, which means he is confident he can contend at the co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour/European Tour event at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

“Finishing fifth here last year and then winning the SA Open at Glendower down the road in December makes it nice to come back. I’m keen to have a crack at it and I’m full of confidence. I’m swinging it quite well after a two-week break, so I’m looking forward to this week.

“I’ve never played a major championship. To play the Open in your own country would be absolutely fantastic. I don’t want to put too much emphasis on it, because I think I’ve done that in the past and underperformed. For me, it’s about going out there and trying to enjoy myself,” Sullivan said on Wednesday.

The 73rd-ranked Sullivan is the highest-ranked golfer in the field, but the local challenge will be a strong one with the Joburg Open title being won by a South African six times, including the last five years consecutively, in the eight-year history of the event.

The defending champion, George Coetzee, will bring his intimate knowledge of the course and is eager to mount a strong defence of his maiden European Tour crown, while Richard Sterne, bidding to become the first golfer to win three Joburg Opens, and Thomas Aiken are also amongst the favourites.

“Every week I’m posting one or two good numbers, it’s just a matter of putting four together. Hopefully being comfortable with the course will put me in good stead for this week,” Coetzee said.

Aiken is out to register his fourth European Tour win, but he acknowledges that there are a host of extremely talented South African golfers looking to use the Joburg Open as a stepping stone.

“There is a big field this week and a lot of youngsters, and that’s really what this tournament was made to be. It aims to give a lot of people the chance to play a European Tour event.

“Funnily enough, the more people you have, the lower the cuts get. It’s renowned here that the cut is low, and it shows that everyone out there can play. When you have more than 200 players, there will be 100 that play well, so the margins are very small. That’s the beauty of the game, you don’t see the same guy winning every week. That’s the nature of it. It would be boring if the same guy won every week, although I’d love to be the person who does that!” Aiken said.

It’s been a very dry February in Johannesburg, so the 210 golfers teeing off today will have an office that will provide plenty of run, making an already fairly short course even shorter. But those Royal Johannesburg and Kensington greens are as small as ever.

 

No chance for someone to bale Proteas out 0

Posted on January 06, 2015 by Ken

It’s been the saddest of weeks for the cricketing world with the tragic passing of Phil Hughes in what can only be described as the freakiest of accidents dominating all discussions.

So many batsmen are hit on the head these days (I’m of the school of thought that says helmets encourage them to take their eye off the ball), but Hughes had the awful misfortune of being struck on the side of the neck, just below his helmet’s grille, flush on the vertebral artery, which split and caused the fatal brain haemorrhage.

South Africans have also been mourning the 25-year-old Australian, not least of all because he greatly impressed everyone on these shores with his grit and unorthodox talent as he averaged 53 against the Proteas in five Tests, scoring two centuries and two half-centuries.

The national team has, of course, just returned from Australia, where their 4-1 ODI series hammering caused much soul-searching and anguish amongst their fans, before being overshadowed by the real tragedy that unfolded in Sydney.

Whatever AB de Villiers so brashly said upon his return home about being the better side and South Africa’s World Cup plans being on track, serious questions have been raised about the Proteas’ ability to seriously contend at the global showpiece tournament starting in 11 weeks’ time.

Most worryingly, there is no further ODI cricket scheduled for them before they have to announce their final 15-man squad for the World Cup on January 7. So the five-match series against the West Indies will not provide the selectors with the opportunity to find someone who can bale them out of their current problems in terms of balance and form, because it starts on January 16. Neither is there any franchise 50-over cricket before then.

The squad that plays against the West Indies will be the World Cup squad and those 15 players will have dress rehearsals on five days in which they have to regain form and convince their fans that they are the strong contenders they perceive themselves to be.

South Africa’s most pressing need would seem to be to fill the number seven position with someone who can genuinely contribute with bat and ball. Ryan McLaren, with his mediocre bowling and his weakness against the short ball when batting, has done little lately to suggest he could be a match-winner in that vital position. Sadly, the schedule has dictated that the selectors are not going to be able to see what David Wiese can do.

I would back the Titans all-rounder because he brings power-hitting and a proven ability at the death, as well as the sort of bowling skills the South African attack desperately needs to master on what should be good batting pitches in Australasia.

In terms of cover, the 15-man squad will need to include two extra pace bowlers – perhaps one containing and one more attacking – an extra batsman who can bowl a bit and either an extra spinner or a top-order batsman.

This means Kyle Abbott must surely have secured his ticket, while I would choose Lonwabo Tsotsobe, in great form since returning from injury, ahead of Wayne Parnell. This would also reduce the pressure on the selectors in terms of Black African representation; although Aaron Phangiso deserves to go to the World Cup, his ill-timed injury and the need for top-order batting cover could count against him.

The selection of both Rilee Rossouw and Farhaan Behardien would facilitate cover for both the top three and the middle-order, with Behardien able to fulfil the crucial role of a sixth bowler that was vital in JP Duminy’s absence.

The presence of a genuine all-rounder like Wiese at seven would enable the Proteas to avoid the problem of either having to go into games a batsman or a bowler short, but the other issue they need to solve is not one of personnel but one of skills.

The bowling in the death overs was generally poor and the failure to consistently execute yorkers, slower-ball bouncers and changes of pace means the South Africans lack the weapons the other top teams enjoy.

My World Cup squad: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, David Wiese, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Farhaan Behardien, Rilee Rossouw.

 

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.



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