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Ken Borland



Disallowed slip catch and handling of bad light the main talking points 0

Posted on October 16, 2023 by Ken

The TV umpire’s decision to disallow a slip catch by Simon Harmer and the onfield umpires’ handling of bad light were the main talking points after an abbreviated opening day of the third Test between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

Only 47 overs were bowled on the first day, Australia reaching 147 for two. The second of those wickets was the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne for 79, edging a phenomenal delivery with pace, bounce and nip away from Anrich Nortje that defied the sluggishness of the pitch. Unfortunately for the South African-born batsman, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel then immediately took the players off the field for bad light, never to return.

Labuschagne had enjoyed a huge slice of luck though when he was on 70 and he edged left-armer Marco Jansen low to first slip, where Harmer seemed to have scooped up a fine catch.

Neither Labuschagne nor the umpires were 100% sure though, with third umpire Richard Kettleborough being called into play, the soft signal being out. Having watched numerous replays, the Englishman felt the ball had touched the ground, but a conclusive replay, zoomed in from the front, was strangely absent.

Labuschagne survived, and five minutes later, the crucial replay suddenly emerged and showed that Harmer did get his fingers under the ball. The incident raised suspicions about the host broadcaster interfering in the officiating of the game, but apparently the third umpire only had access to the world feed camera shots and the front-on slow-mo replay was exclusively a Channel 7 shot.

Nortje was adamant that Harmer had caught the catch.

“We all thought it was out, Simon was convinced that it had gone straight into his hands. The front angle replay I think showed that he had his fingers underneath the ball. So we were unfortunate not to get that one,” Nortje said.

“You’ve just got to try and focus again because feeling hard done by can quickly get out of hand. I just told Marco to try and refocus and stick to the basics. He bowled really well at that stage and we were able to feed off that energy.”

The in-form fast bowler had more sympathy for the umpires’ decision to stop play for bad light at 2.17pm local time, to again rule it was too dark just as the players were about to go back on to the field at 3.45pm, and then to stop play for the final time at 5.05pm.

“It’s tough and it was really dark at one stage,” Nortje said. “It’s not just about the batsmen, fielders start to not be able to pick up the ball in certain areas and you don’t want to drop a catch then.

“They were probably the right decisions, it’s about playing fair. With two guys bowling quickly and with the ball a bit harder, it can get unsafe. There was one bouncer from KG Rabada that was not picked up so well.”

Nortje was also the producer of the first wicket when he had David Warner caught by Jansen high at first slip off an attempted slash outside off stump.

Proteas play 2 spinners thanks to all their IP on Wanderers payroll 0

Posted on March 08, 2023 by Ken

Proteas coach Shukri Conrad made another big call for the Wanderers Test

New Proteas Test coach Shukri Conrad, captain Temba Bavuma, bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada and batting consultant Neil McKenzie have all been or are currrently on the payroll at the Wanderers for many years, and Conrad said on Tuesday that it was that home ground knowledge that led South Africa to make the shock decision to play two spinners in the second Test against the West Indies, which starts in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The first question Conrad was asked during Tuesday’s pre-match press conference was whether the hosts had settled on a starting XI, and the transparent coach surprised many when he began reciting the team. That surprise turned to shock when the names Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj were called out consecutively at numbers eight and nine.

The debate at the Wanderers is usually whether the Proteas will play even one frontline spinner, but from a pace-heavy attack for the first Test at Centurion, Conrad and the brains trust have now switched to fielding both off-spinner Harmer and left-arm orthodox Maharaj. It is the first time since the 1965 Test (37 matches ago) against England, when orthodox left-armer Atholl McKinnon and offie Harry Bromfield both played, that South Africa have selected two frontline spinners for a Wanderers Test.

But those who have watched much cricket at the Wanderers this year will know that the pitch has been unusually helpful to spinners, offering both turn and bounce. Conrad said they know the Wanderers pitch well enough to know this week’s track is different to what has been in use for Test matches there for several years.

“Frostie [new groundsman Brendon Frost, formerly of Willowmoore Park] has done a good job covering the massive bare patch so that it looks okay. But we have lots of cricket IP [intellectual property] in our squad when it comes to cricket here – myself, Temba, KG, Neil Mac have all been involved with Lions cricket for a long time,” Conrad pointed out.

“In the last year, we’ve seen that spinners do come into play more here. A Test doesn’t have to end on Day Three, and if we go to the fourth and fifth day then spin will definitely come into play.

“The pitch looks a bit abrasive and we think one end is going to be a lot more seamer-friendly. So we’re not just making the change for change’s sake,” Conrad said.

Local knowledge has also led to Ryan Rickelton getting a place in the starting XI, replacing the struggling Keegan Petersen. Since the hero of last summer’s epic series win over India tore his hamstring in the CSA T20 Challenge final in November, he has scored just 85 runs in six innings.

Rickelton, on the other hand, has been in tremendous nick, stroking three centuries in his five four-day innings. His absence from the Proteas team this summer has been perplexing; even his much-debated ankle injury has not been able to justify his omission.

“Ryan deserves a crack, he’s been churning out runs and probably deserves a chance more than anyone,” Conrad admitted. “Ryan is definitely going to be a big part of the side going forward.

“Knowing his character and the way he has performed at domestic level, we can start building a future team around him. I think he’s going to have a long and successful run.

“Keegan was the incumbent and I still think his best position may be number five going forward, looking at the way he plays. The batting unit is still a work in progress, but I think he will have a bigger role to play in the middle-order,” Conrad said.

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Tony de Zorzi, Temba Bavuma, Ryan Rickelton, Heinrich Klaasen, Wiaan Mulder, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada.

Proteas batsmen shuffle back down the aisle in a miserable display, but a defiant Rabada backs them & the decision to bat first 0

Posted on October 12, 2022 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada, the top-scorer in a miserable Proteas total of 151, backed both the decision to bat first and the rest of the South African batting line-up to come good despite seven of them shuffling back down the aisle to the changeroom with just 92 runs on the board before he had to come to the crease on the first day of the second Test against England at Old Trafford.

Rabada scored a determined 36 to ensure the Proteas did not make some dreaded history on Thursday for beating their lowest ever completed innings in Manchester: the 130 they made back in 1929 when England beat them by an innings thanks to leg-spinner Tich Freeman’s career-best 12 wickets and centuries by Bob Wyatt and Frank Woolley.

Rabada then produced a top-class delivery, a back-of-a-length ball zipping and bouncing at the key England batsman, Joe Root, to find the edge of the bat and Sarel Erwee completing a juggling catch at first slip.

“We played two spinners for a reason and generally if you’re playing two spinners then you need to bat first. The pitch is getting drier and it’s quite slow.

“Simon Harmer is already in the game with his second ball ragging quite a bit. So I’ll say it is the right decision to bat first. We know the batting unit have quality but it is a young one as well.

“So it’s about gaining experience, but our batsmen know what they have to do, they don’t get out on purpose. They know what went wrong and as a team we back each and every player.

“Individuals take responsibility and I know they are all trying their utmost best. I’ll not be pointing fingers because that is just energy-sapping,” Rabada said.

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad shared six wickets as they bowled with wonderful skill and nous to exploit the overcast conditions and a pitch that provided plenty of seam movement.

Rabada was asked about Anderson in the press conference at the end of the day’s play and he praised the paceman who is 40 years old and playing in his 174th Test.

“Jimmy has had a remarkable career, particularly in Test cricket. He is still getting wickets and he is a legend of the game. He’s a phenomenal bowler, he showed that again today,” Rabada said.

“Only playing Tests has helped his longevity, but England play quite a few Tests every year. I guess I will need to have a beer with him at the end of the tour and ask him how he does it.”

Anderson has 661 wickets now halfway through his 174th Test, a rate of 3.80 wickets per match. Rabada has 251 wickets in his 54th Test, striking at 4.71 dismissals per game.

South Africa’s spearhead will need 140 Tests at this rate to post the same figures as Anderson, so 86 more. But given that the Proteas play so few Tests in comparison to England and are slated to play even less over the next few years, Rabada will need to keep playing until he is about 42 and show the same sort of longevity to overtake the numbers England’s leading wicket-taker is churning out.

No oriental climes for Gelant as he wants to become a better player 0

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

For current members of the Springbok squad, the decision to join an overseas club provides a couple of options: They can either earn a big pay packet but play less demanding rugby in oriental climes, or they can go to Europe, still earn plenty and compete in arguably the most competitive leagues in the world.

Warrick Gelant is forthright about his decision to join Racing 92 in France being all about becoming a better player; he is adamant playing for the Springboks is his ultimate and he wants a regular starting berth.

Last season was so special for him at the Stormers, being a key figure as they claimed a sensational United Rugby Championship crown, but Gelant is not one to stay in a comfort zone.

“Anytime you go to a top club it is an opportunity, and I believe the Top 14 is the best competition in the world. It’s really tough because there are 14 different teams in it, compared to just four franchises in South Africa,” Gelant says.

“You also play in such different conditions: You play indoors in a closed stadium at Racing, but then you’ll be in the rain and maybe even snow in your away matches.

“Every part of my game will be tested. I certainly don’t know it all yet, and it will be a great test to measure myself. And Racing have amazing management and they are a great club,” Gelant says.

“I feel I can still take my game up a notch, I can still get better now that my body has no issues. And I haven’t given up on the Springboks either.

“Being exposed to quality, world-class players in France every week will give me the best chance of getting back into the Springbok starting XV. If they do select me, they will be getting a better player than I was,” Gelant states.

There were times in last season’s United Rugby Championship that Gelant reminded one of South Africa’s Rolls Royce of fullbacks, 1995 World Cup hero Andre Joubert.

This year has been a triumph for the man known as “Boogie” – probably for both his threat as the boogie-man for defences and also his fast feet.

Gelant dazzled in counter-attack for the Stormers and was arguably the best fullback in the URC as the team that started the competition in disarray due to off-field problems ended up winning the trophy.

Gelant loved the season, not only because of the success, but also because of the style of rugby the Stormers played under coach John Dobson.

“We had to get accustomed to a new style of rugby and rules are blown differently in the UK. So we struggled initially, but at least we were together all the time overseas and we could sort things out,” Gelant says.

“Belief started to creep in when we saved the game against Edinburgh and then we beat the Dragons. Things started to work for us and we really started to believe we were getting somewhere.

“There was buy-in from everyone in terms of how we wanted to play and we really played for each other. So we ended up winning our last 11 games on the trot.

“The Irish and Welsh teams really stick to their systems, they are very tight and very driven by that, they rarely go out of their system. And that can really break you down.

“So we needed to disrupt their structure and we did that by not making our play too structured. We needed to find a way to handle chaos better than they did.

“We needed to understand what sort of game we wanted to play and if we wanted to kick. It was about how to handle territory and space and understand the opportunities that are there when play gets loose and making sure you can capitalise. It’s about the way everyone reacts and plays off each other,” Gelant said.

The Knysna-born player returned to the Cape in 2020, having made his name at the Bulls. But before this year, for much of Gelant’s time with the Stormers he seemed like a broken-down car languishing in the garage, rather than a Rolls Royce.

After the frustrations of Covid causing all rugby to be shelved, Gelant then suffered an ACL knee injury when play resumed. But that is when he really showed his mettle.

Gelant has fought back from double knee surgery at the end of 2020, which speaks volumes for his motivation and professionalism.

In order to ensure he would return to being the player he was, Gelant sacrificed playing against the British and Irish Lions last year in order to have both knees sorted out at the same time.

“I already had a hole in my one cartilage when I tore my ACL and I had been playing in severe pain. I had the opportunity to get the other knee fixed too, but that meant turning my back on the Lions tour,” Gelant explains.

“But I made a really mature decision to sacrifice in the short-term and fix both knees at the same time. It was not easy, but I believe I have a lot of rugby still in me. There were tough times in rehab, but I imagined myself coming back as a better player, moving better and being more mature.

“When I did come back for the Stormers, it felt amazing and I know I made the right decision. I quickly refound my old form. I was so grateful just to be playing again after double knee surgery. It can be taken away from you so easily,” the 27-year-old says.

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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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