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Ken Borland



To finish the season with smiles on faces compared to how SA cricket was feeling in December was a tremendous achievement 0

Posted on April 12, 2023 by Ken

Compared to how South African cricket was feeling midway through the season – at the end of December 2022- to finish the summer with the smiles back on everyone’s faces and a general sense of excitement about the game in this country was a tremendous achievement by all involved.

Last year ended with the Proteas going to Australia and being put to the sword in humiliating fashion: bowled out for just 152 and 99 in the first Test in Brisbane, then thrashed by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne. They needed the help of the weather to avoid defeat after they were forced to follow-on in the third Test in Sydney, but perhaps the first signs of renewal, the first tiny green shoots, became visible then as they did at least only lose six wickets on the final day as the batsmen discovered some defiance.

The Proteas had been in Australia in November as well, for the T20 World Cup, and a promising campaign looked set to deliver them into the semi-finals until they totally failed to pitch for their decisive game against minnows Netherlands and lost, eliminating them from the playoffs in embarrassing fashion.

The lack of form of captain Temba Bavuma caused great bother, but the sometimes ugly vitriol hurled at him was just plain ugly.

The performances of the national team cast a spotlight on the domestic game, the pipeline for the Proteas, and the inescapable conclusion that it is probably not fit to be called high performance. The quality of South African batsmanship was particularly worrying.

There were the controversies over fitness tests which, more often than not, seemed to make our teams weaker rather than better.

The Social Justice and Nation-Building fiasco thankfully came to an end in 2022, but there was still a bitter taste in many cricket-lovers’ mouths as Cricket South Africa’s inquest into alleged racist behaviour by Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher fell apart.

CSA also spent much of 2022 trying to remedy their poor financial situation, which saw them make a R200 million loss in the previous year. The search for sponsors and trying to play more international cricket (especially Tests) in a jam-packed schedule with constrained coffers were only adding to the strain.

The financial battle is ongoing for CSA, but the improved performances of the Proteas, the better image enjoyed by the board and administrators and, crucially, the tremendous success of the SA20 tournament provides hope that those coffers will be enjoying more inflow in the near future.

The Proteas are very much the shop window for CSA and the appointments of Shukri Conrad and Rob Walter as dual national coaches has certainly worked in the short-term. While both coaches will be pleased with how their tenures have started, they have both stressed that South African cricket is on a journey and there will still be many obstacles ahead to overcome.

It is not exaggerating to say that journey probably began when CSA stopped trying to chase Graeme Smith away and instead gave him control of the SA20, the former national captain and director of cricket turning the tournament into an unmitigated success.

“We must not underestimate the impact the SA20 had,” Walter said when asked how he felt the turnaround had happened. “With all the crowds and the quality cricket being played, there was definitely momentum coming out of that. The Proteas jumped on the wave and played really well.

“We have played some nice cricket but that does not mean we’re at our best yet, which is exciting. It’s a process in which a lot of people are involved. We’re trying to create a platform from which we can play, this team is still young, but it’s nice to see the positive signs. I kept a close eye on South African cricket while I was in New Zealand, and one thing that really rings true is that the playing resources are very significant,” Walter said.

The change in mood has not just been seen at the macro level of the team and the organisation though; individuals such as Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Sisanda Magala and Heinrich Klaasen have turned their summers around in remarkable fashion.

Bavuma shoved aside his injury problems and loss of form, as well as the rabid critics clamouring for his head, to enjoy a triumphant end to the season, making career-best centuries in both Tests and ODIs. Taking T20s off Bavuma’s plate, but giving him the Test captaincy taken from Dean Elgar, would have been a tough call for Walter and Conrad to make, but it has been shown to be the correct move.

Magala’s season began with CSA banning him from playing for the Central Gauteng Lions because he failed a fitness test; he ended it with a five-wicket haul at the Wanderers as the Proteas beat the Netherlands 2-0 in their ODI series to keep alive their hopes of automatic qualification for the World Cup later this year. From being ruled unfit to play by CSA, Magala attracted buyers from T20 leagues all over the world and is now playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

Markram was unequivocally backed by Conrad and Walter in all three formats and had blossomed into the player we all knew he could be by the end of the season. So too Klaasen, in and out of the team previously, had become a first-choice player in white-ball cricket.

The Proteas Women’s team also deserve credit for their major role in the turnaround, reaching the final of the T20 World Cup hosted by South Africa and given a wonderful reception.

Members Council should get a look this weekend at forensic report they have owned since December 0

Posted on September 12, 2020 by Ken

The Members Council ‘owned’ the Fundudzi Forensic Report auditing the affairs of Cricket South Africa in the wake of the suspension of then-CEO Thabang Moroe from the moment they commissioned it last December and they are hopeful that they will finally get to see it without onerous conditions this weekend.

CSA announced in the early hours of Friday morning that the CSA Board of Directors and the Members Council would hold “a joint workshop this weekend to discuss critical matters” and while their statement was in response to Sascoc’s intervention in their affairs revealed on Thursday evening, provincial presidents have confirmed to The Citizen that Saturday’s agenda includes a discussion of the forensic report, which was completed in June.

“We will all be under one roof and hopefully we will at least get a partial view of the report that we will dissect and analyse. I’m pretty sure the forensic report will be made available, or at least what can be made public knowledge will be. This weekend is really make-or-break time for Cricket South Africa, I believe. And then hopefully we will meet with Sascoc on Sunday,” a Members Council delegate told The Citizen on Friday.

According to a president of a major CSA affiliate, efforts to get the organisation, which has postponed the AGM they were meant to hold on September 5, back on track by allowing the Members Council to be informed of any other directors or staff implicated in the misgovernance which saw Moroe being formally dismissed last week, have been hampered by the seven Board members who also sit on the Members Council.

“I’m disappointed by the Members Council to be honest, we just seem unable to make a decision, some representatives are just going along with whatever the Board members say,” the president said.

“There are seven other members of the Members Council and three of them have been especially vocal, but there seems to be a very serious conflict of interest amongst the Board because some of them earn double what their normal income would be by being directors. It’s a flaw in the system but Sascoc are dealing with the Members Council as we look at our Memorandum of Incorporation as well.”

According to their constitution, CSA have to hold an AGM by November 5.

Commercial imperatives dictate Boks must play, however unideal 0

Posted on August 01, 2020 by Ken

WorldRugby may have this week opened a window for the Rugby Championship to take place in New Zealand between November 7 and December 12, but the situation is still far from ideal for South African participation. But commercial imperatives dictate that the Springboks simply have to find a way to get over there and play, otherwise SA Rugby will suffer devastating financial losses.

It is the Sanzaar competitions that bring in the bulk of South African rugby’s revenues and with SuperRugby having been scrapped after just half-a-dozen rounds, it is the Rugby Championship that needs to save the broadcast deals through providing some live content.

As SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said recently, the Rugby Championship is a very expensive competition to run, but the broadcast revenues are significant enough that the commercial value compels Sanzaar to continue the event. The difference between revenues and expenses is the reason SA Rugby can use the Rugby Championship to cross-subsidise several other competitions.

One of those competitions is the Currie Cup, which used to be an event of industrial proportions in South African rugby, the envy of the world. Sadly SA Rugby has over the years allowed the jewel in their crown, their most valuable property after the Springboks, to fade into relative insignificance.

But the imminent demise of SuperRugby is likely to bring a resurgence in domestic competition and a Currie Cup style tournament this year is going to play a crucial role in the Springboks returning to action; hopefully that local action will continue to be a focus in 2021 and beyond.

Even though playing in Europe seems to be the big prize at the moment, and private equity investors in our franchises are already saying this is essential for them to get a return on their money, hopefully SA Rugby will still put energy and resources into having a strong purely local competition.

In the meantime, the top eight teams in South Africa are going to play a tournament later this year to at least get rugby back on the go locally. Apart from providing some content for SuperSport, who pour millions into the game, those eight teams are also going to play a vital role in getting the Springboks ready for action.

With New Zealand and Australia already back playing rugby for half-a-dozen weeks and South African players realistically only returning to action in mid-September, there have been understandable concerns expressed that the Springboks are going to be on a hiding to nothing if the Rugby Championship is played this year, being so far behind in terms of preparation. There have been angry mutters about their World Cup win being tarnished.

But the reality of the situation is that even if the Springboks are going to disappoint in terms of on-field results, they simply have to return to action and our television screens, it is a financial imperative. And they have played for financial reasons before, most recently when they lost to Wales in Washington in June 2018.

New Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has said a squad of 45 players are going to have to travel to New Zealand and quarantine before entering their bio-bubble, and there have even been complaints from local coaches that that will decimate their provincial squads. As is often the case in South African rugby, the unions are going to need a reminder that they are there to serve the national cause, any local competition this year is mostly about getting the Springboks ready for action.

Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos certainly knows the value of the Springbok brand and last weekend he was stressing the importance of them returning to international action before the end of the year. And as we saw at last year’s World Cup, in which they were certainly underdogs, the ability to rise above the obstacles in their path is a great property of the Springboks.

“By no means will the playing field be level, but the Springbok side have a deep, steely resolve, and I know Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber will optimise whatever time they have to be as competitive as possible,” Marinos said.

Nienaber says the players in the Springbok squad need at least six games beforehand in order to be able to play in the Rugby Championship. They are unlikely to get much more than six matches unless rugby somehow resumes later this month, but at least they will be going to New Zealand feeling fresh.

And there is a large gap between the Rugby Championship kicking off and the end of SuperRugby Aotearoa and SuperRugby Australia. The New Zealand competition ends on August 16, with no final, while the Australian final will be held on September 19. Whoever handles the double-edged sword of rust versus fatigue best will have a large advantage, and I wouldn’t write off the Springboks just yet.

Bringing the crowds back to the Sun City fairways 0

Posted on September 17, 2018 by Ken

 

In the previous decade, when the Nedbank Golf Challenge was held in December and was able to attract top-10 players, Sun City was famous for the congestion that would occur throughout the resort as corporate South Africa and students would come flocking for their annual end-of-year party.

Crowds have dwindled since those days, as both the sport and the economy have changed, but last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge was noticeable for the upturn in crowd figures and just a busier feel around the resort and on the fairways scattered amongst the ancient volcanic craters of the Pilanesberg.

A major reason for that was the focus Sun International and their hospitality partners Circa put on making the whole NGC experience more spectator-friendly and not just an event catering for the corporates safely secluded away in their air-conditioned marquees. And, given the success of 2017, they are going to drive for even bigger crowd numbers for this year’s tournament from November 8-11.

“The move from December, when it was the year-end function for most spectators, to November meant we had to worry about losing the public, especially the scholars and those writing matric exams, and we lost a lot of the day visitors we traditionally had. So we’ve been trying to make sure we bring those crowds back and the crowds are getting back to the way we begun with, with more than 65 000 people coming to Sun City.

“So this year we’re making even more space for the public, without changing things for the corporates. We’re opening up a huge amount more space on 18 with a three-tier structure that has a lot more ground-level space and will provide great public viewing. The entertainment area was one of the highlights of last year’s tournament, we want to capitalise on that and its times will be extended for a lot longer. Circa are running the public areas and are bringing in a lot of variety,” Eugene Boniface, the group manager for content at Sun International, said.

Workmen have been on-site since April, with 14 600 square-metres of infrastructure being set up, and 1300 tonnes of scaffolding, with Circa promising a real amphitheatre around the 18th green. Apart from the focus on making the Nedbank Golf Challenge more crowd-friendly, work has also been going on on the course.

The 17th tee has been moved around to add 30-odd metres to the tee-shot and make it more difficult, while the bunkers have undergone massive change with grass now on the faces rather than sand, to make it more playable for the golfers after there were complaints.

 

 

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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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