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Ken Borland

Smith did not need to be beeped out once so preparations are going smoothly 0

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Ken

Despite technological difficulties meaning the video for their big name reveal of the new SA 20 could not be played, the commissioner of the T20 franchise league, Graeme Smith, did not need to be beeped out once at the announcement on Wednesday, suggesting preparations are going relatively smoothly for the basket that is seemingly holding all Cricket South Africa’s eggs in the coming years.

Smith is under enormous pressure to deliver a successful T20 franchise league at CSA’s third attempt, but it seems the former Proteas captain is bringing the same cool, unruffled head as he did at the crease. In terms of time-frames, it is a bit of a T20 dash, and now that the name – SA 20 – has been unveiled, the player auction in Cape Town on September 19 will be the next big landmark.

“It’s a simple name, but something we can really own and bring to life,” Smith said. “We’re very excited by what can be done with it and what we can create. One of our taglines is For Everyone.

“Hopefully it will bring people together and new fans to the game, give them the opportunity to love cricket. Hopefully the highly-competitive cricket will stand out.

“To see it come to life is very exciting and hopefully there will be full stadiums and great excitement. We’ve had very tight timelines, just five months to get the league going, so we’ve had to be agile,” Smith said.

While there has been some debate over how star players like Rashid Khan (BBL), Moeen Ali (UAE) and Liam Livingstone (BBL) are going to meet their commitments to both the SA 20 and the other leagues they have signed for over the festive season, Smith said he is pleased with the players available for his league.

“We’ve attracted some high-quality players. Our league is South African focused – 60-70 of them playing on a global platform – but we do have extensive overseas interest, an immense number of players have registered for the auction.

“The Big Bash League will have a different structure this season and they’ve allowed players to play in Australia for a portion of the tournament. So from early January, those Big Bash players who have signed for the South African league will be fully available.

“There are a few players who have also signed for the Emirates league. I was in the UAE last week and met with the league and we’ve agreed a way to handle it – we’ve allowed the players to feel comfortable to choose where they play. There needs to be a way we both co-exist,” Smith said.

Proteas go to Paarl with underlying uncertainty in ODI set-up 0

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Ken

For all the joy of the wonderful Test series triumph over India, the Proteas now need to turn their attention to ODI cricket, where there has been an underlying uncertainty in their play over the last year, often due to the difficulties in selection when it comes to balancing the side.

Since whitewashing Australia 3-0 in February/March 2020, South Africa have won just three of their eight completed ODIs. Little wonder then that they are languishing in ninth place in the ICC Super League for World Cup qualification.

South Africa’s problems centre around having just five bowlers, unless they choose a batsman who can bowl. The venue for the first two ODIs against India is Boland Park in Paarl and the five-bowler recipe worked a charm the last time they were there, beating Australia by 74 runs in that 2020 series.

But it is a risk, especially against a strong batting side like India.

As ever when it comes to selection debates these days, Aiden Markram is seemingly at the centre of it all. He provides the ideal batsman/sixth bowler combination, and he did score 96 just three innings ago in ODI cricket, in Sri Lanka.

But he was opening the batting in that series in the absence of Quinton de Kock, who is back and no doubt raring to go following his break over the Test series.

Fitting Markram in elsewhere in the order is also problematic.

Janneman Malan has cemented himself as De Kock’s opening partner with 661 runs in his first 10 ODI innings, earning him a nomination for the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year title.

Temba Bavuma is captain, Rassie van der Dussen averaged 57 at a strike-rate of 95 last year, and Kyle Verreynne scored 95 against the Netherlands in the last ODI the Proteas played. David Miller has been one of the best finishers in global cricket over the last year.

Paarl can sometimes provide a sluggish, tricky surface to bat on, however, and South Africa may want to gamble with just five bowlers in order to strengthen their batting. But Markram showed in the T20 World Cup last October that he can be explosive in white-ball cricket; he knocked his 162 tournament runs off just 111 deliveries (SR 145.94) and that will count in his favour too.

But it would be extremely tough on Verreynne to be left out and the selectors will ponder long and hard over South Africa’s batting line-up.

The bowling attack is more settled with spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj both set to play, while Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi should lead the pace brigade, with Andile Phehlukwayo likely to be their back-up, especially since he blazed 48 off just 22 balls against the Dutch.

Who will shine above the thin pickings as lights go out at Newlands? 0

Posted on October 05, 2020 by Ken

In terms of the national team, the lights will be turned off at Newlands for probably the last time after the Springbok Showdown on Saturday evening, which is what the game between the Green and Gold scratch teams will most likely be remembered for. Apart from getting some much-needed game time into the legs of the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship, there could be thin pickings for Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber given the difficulties associated with getting a team to gel after one week together.

Still, there will be some fine talent on display and it will do nobody any harm to shine given the lack of rugby South Africa has suffered this year. For the established Springboks, Saturday will be about saying farewell to Newlands while for the young guns, they will be judged mostly on their character and how much they have picked up off the training field this week.

“Cape Town has always been one of my favourite venues, although it’s unfortunate that there won’t be a crowd, that changes the dynamic. But we all know the history of Newlands and it will be great playing there one more time, even though we know how greasy it can be if the weather is bad. It’s also going to be very nice playing with new people around you,” Springbok Gold captain Lukhanyo Am said on Friday.

“Lots of energy is what the new players bring and it’s been a big week for those youngsters selected for what is basically the Emerging Springboks. They have got to experience what it’s like at Test level in terms of preparation and the environment in camp. We’ve tried to share our knowledge as senior players, they have received a lot of information, we’ve really pushed the learning, clarity and detail and hopefully it will make them better players.”

Part of the education for the youngsters will be in how to deal with combining with players you have never played with before in just a week.

“It’s really exciting to be playing alongside a guy like Rikus Pretorius, who has a lot of energy. And coming up against Wandisile Simelane is going to be challenging because he is very exciting and because of his prowess on attack we will definitely be looking out for him. No-one’s going into the game for a loss, we’re all very competitive athletes.

“We have to play with what we have, but we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves and even though we’ve only had a week to gel, we should all be able to execute whatever plans we have. It’s really nice playing with new guys in a situation where there’s less pressure. But in common with the Sharks environment, here at the Springboks it’s all about taking ownership as players,” Am said.

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  • Thought of the Day

    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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