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Ken Borland

Law of averages suggests Proteas are due a draw … 0

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Ken

The law of averages suggests South Africa are due a draw in Test match cricket, and that likelihood became stronger on Friday as the entire third day’s play in the third Test against Australia in Sydney was washed out.

The last time the Proteas were involved in a Test that did not have a winner and loser was way back in March 2017, 47 matches ago, when rain washed out the final day’s play against New Zealand in Hamilton with South Africa five wickets down in their second innings and still trailing by 95 runs.

The weather is predicted to improve over the last two days in Sydney though, and the Proteas are going to have to bat the better part of 196 overs to save the game, with Australia having already posted 475 for four. That means, if the home side declare overnight, South Africa’s initial target will be 276 to avoid being forced to follow-on, which is surely Australia’s best chance of victory. The Proteas have failed to reach that mark in their last eight innings.

The fact that Australian opener Usman Khawaja is on 195 not out may buy the Proteas some more time if Australian skipper Pat Cummins is feeling sentimental and delays the declaration in order for the 36-year-old batsman to get his maiden Test double-century.

Cummins will also be mindful that he has unusually under-strength attack at his disposal, with just four frontline bowlers, only two of which are pacemen.

Much-changed SA line-up all geared up to bat, but rain denied them the chance 0

Posted on October 21, 2022 by Ken

A much-changed South African batting line-up was all geared up to bat first in testing conditions at The Oval on Thursday, but they never had the chance as rain returned shortly after the toss and washed out the entire opening day’s play of the third and decisive Test against England.

England won the toss, which had been delayed by half-an-hour due to morning showers, and elected to bowl first, ensuring that the spotlight – and the pressure – will be firmly on a Proteas batting line-up that has not had much to shout about lately.

For the match at The Oval, two changes to the batting line-up have been made, with the inexperienced duo of Ryan Rickelton and Khaya Zondo coming in for the injured Rassie van der Dussen and the dropped Aiden Markram.

The 26-year-old Rickelton returns after playing two Tests against Bangladesh at the end of last summer and scoring 114 runs at an average of 38. Zondo made his Test debut on the last day of that series as a Covid substitute and did not bat, but he is a 32-year-old domestic stalwart who has more than 6000 first-class runs to his name.

Rickelton is a St Stithians product, as is bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada, and the prestigious Randburg school gained a third player in the XI when all-rounder Wiaan Mulder was selected due to Lungi Ngidi’s hamstring niggle.

Mulder was initially only called into the squad last week as the replacement for Van der Dussen, and has been in fine form with the bat for Leicestershire in county cricket.

South Africa made a fourth change when paceman and handy lower-order batsman Marco Jansen was selected instead of second spinner Simon Harmer. Given the weather conditions, the Proteas are likely to get more buck for their rand from Jansen’s left-arm seam than Harmer’s off-spin.

But first of all their batsmen will have a mountain to climb, with captain Dean Elgar saying at the toss that they are “going to have to knuckle down and start well, runs are key, taking 20 wickets is covered”.

Sad news for Bavuma fans; doors open for Rossouw 0

Posted on August 10, 2022 by Ken

There was sad news for Temba Bavuma fans on Wednesday as the batsman was ruled out of the entire tour to England due to an elbow injury, but his misfortune has opened the door for Rilee Rossouw, whom many have said they want to see back in the Green and Gold of the Proteas, to return to the T20 squad.

Bavuma injured his elbow in the fourth T20 against India a fortnight ago, and although Cricket South Africa have not said whether it is a tendon, soft tissue or bone injury, the white-ball captain has been slapped with a lengthy eight-week recovery time.

Rossouw has not played for the Proteas since October 2016, when he suddenly went Kolpak, but he has been in a top-class vein of form for Somerset in the T20 Blast. The 32-year-old has scored the third-most runs (498) at a scintillating strike-rate of 191.53, making him by far the most explosive batsman in the competition. The left-hander has passed fifty six times in his 12 innings.

While Rossouw is an exciting replacement for Bavuma as Quinton de Kock’s opening partner in the T20 team, the captain’s place in the ODI team is likely to be taken by Aiden Markram. The top-order struggled in the shock ODI series loss to Bangladesh at home in March and Markram provides not only a vital sixth bowler but also the potential for dominant strokeplay.

The Proteas have leaned heavily on their spin bowlers in white-ball cricket in recent years, but in their previous Test series, against Bangladesh, they used left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj and off-spinner Simon Harmer in tandem with devastating effect. Harmer has learned plenty during his six years of county cricket and has destroyed numerous county batting line-ups, so him and Maharaj operating together, if the conditions warrant it, make sense.

Apart from Bavuma, all-rounder Wiaan Mulder and pacemen Daryn Dupavillon and Lizaad Williams have been ditched from the Test squad that beat Bangladesh, as the IPL stars return.

The T20 and ODI captaincies have been split in Bavuma’s absence, with Maharaj taking the reins in the ODIs and David Miller leading the T20 team, as he did for two matches against Pakistan in 2019.

Kagiso Rabada has been rested for the ODI series, while fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje will play in all three formats after missing most of last summer due to injury.

Gerald Coetzee, the 21-year-old bowling all-rounder from the Free State Knights, has been chosen in the T20 squad, earning his first Proteas call-up.

Selection convenor fighting fires of criticism that Jansen adulterated Proteas attack 0

Posted on January 27, 2022 by Ken

Not even the downpours that washed out the entire second day’s play of the first Test between the Proteas and India in Centurion on Monday could put out the fires Cricket South Africa’s selection convenor was fighting as critics continued to lambast the inclusion of Marco Jansen ahead of Duanne Olivier as adulterating the home attack.

But Victor Mpitsang, the convenor of the selection panel, did confirm The Citizen’s report on the first day of the Test that Olivier had been left out due to his bowling workloads not being sufficient to last a five-day match due to a bout of Covid he suffered at the start of the month.

The 21-year-old Jansen was therefore brought into the team for his debut and struggled, along with the rest of the Proteas attack. India, having won the toss and elected to bat, amassed 272/3 led by Lokesh Rahul’s unbeaten 122. The left-arm quick’s first day of international cricket could have been very different though if wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had taken a sharp catch off Mayank Agarwal in Jansen’s fifth over.

Jansen ended the first day with 0/61 in 17 overs. Lungi Ngidi, another man whose fitness was in question given how little competitive cricket he has played in the last few months, was the only wicket-taker for South Africa with 3/45 in 17 overs.

“Duanne Olivier is healthy and well, but did return a positive Covid-19 test result a number of weeks ago, which forced him to quarantine and took time away from his training ahead of the current Test series against India,” Mpitsang was reported as saying on the second day of the Test.

“His workloads were not where the selection panel would have wanted them to be by the time he entered the team bubble ahead of the first Test.

“He also picked up a hamstring niggle during the two-day inter-squad match at the start of the camp, and the selectors did not want to risk him unnecessarily when there are two more Test matches to think about,” Mpitsang said.

“Marco Jansen was the standout performer with the ball against India A in their recent tour to South Africa and the selectors backed him to take on the senior India team and do well,” Mpitsang added.

“Every player who has been selected for this Proteas team is believed to be capable of representing the national team and giving a performance of the highest level. The absence of one player does not take away from the quality that another brings to the set-up.”

Unfortunately for CSA, the fact that the explanation only came out on the second day of the Test has seen the press exercise their autonomy to react negatively to being kept in the dark.

Conspiracy theories also abounded on social media.

The good news is that Olivier is expected to be fully fit for the second Test at the Wanderers starting on January 3.

Glenton Stuurman is reportedly also carrying a leg niggle.

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    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.

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