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Ken Borland



Batting 1st with rain around has po-faced critics, but Proteas sticking to their strengths – Maharaj 0

Posted on September 05, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Keshav Maharaj’s decision to bat first even though rain was forecast in the third and decisive ODI against England last weekend had its po-faced critics, but as he later explained it was done to ensure South Africa stuck to their strengths and their game-plan, which leans heavily on their spinners.

While the rain ultimately washed out the match and made the toss a moot point, when the T20 series gets underway on Wednesday night in Bristol, we can expect the Proteas to stick to roughly the same game-plan as they use in ODI cricket.

South Africa’s rise to fourth in the T20 rankings has been built around the strength of their attack, and Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, number three in the world T20 rankings, have been key performers with their ability to both take wickets and stem the flow of runs. The game-plan has been the security blanket they cling to because it has carried them through some very tough times.

“We want to make sure we stick to our blueprint at all times and not go back into our slump,” Maharaj said.

“We really turned up to play in the last ODI, it could have been a spectacular end to the series, so it was frustrating to not get a result, but we can’t control the rain.

“The overhead conditions at Headingley told a different story, but the pitch was quite dry and we back our two spinners. We wanted to allow the wicket to deteriorate and use the spinners in the second innings,” Maharaj said.

Despite their awful collapse to 83 all out in the second ODI, the Proteas have built up some trust in their batting line-up. Aiden Markram (third) and Rassie van der Dussen (10th) are both high in the T20 world rankings, while Quinton de Kock is 15th and he showed in the final ODI that he still has that matchwinning x-factor.

“Obviously the batting collapse was not ideal and it was really disappointing after the spectacular batting in the first game,” Maharaj said. “The batting unit has generally been pretty good lately though.

“That first ODI was probably the most clinical we’ve been in the last 18 months and we want to replicate that in the T20s. Adapting to the pitch is the most crucial thing.

“It’s great to have Quinny back to his best too and his skill factor is one of the best in the world. He made it look much easier to bat than it was, and it’s always nice to see your senior players put their hands up,” Maharaj said.

David Miller is captain for the T20s and the series is likely to see the return of both Markram, who missed the India matches due to Covid, and Rilee Rossouw to the top-three of the Proteas batting line-up.

Using a substance that gets rid of enhancers is an icky look, but Hamza hopeful of not getting it in the neck 0

Posted on April 14, 2022 by Ken

The withdrawal of batsman Zubayr Hamza from both the Proteas ODI and Test squads playing against Bangladesh was explained on Wednesday when the 26-year-old was revealed to have failed an ICC anti-doping test.

Hamza tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic which can be used to get rid of performance-enhancing drugs. But while any use of prohibited substances is an icky look for a sportsman, Hamza, according to informed sources, is hopeful that he will be able to avoid getting it in the neck from the ICC by proving his ingestion of the substance was inadvertent.

New guidelines issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency last year have also downgraded the severity of diuretics and if their concentration in the body is less than 20ng/ml then no sanction is necessary.

According to Cricket South Africa’s statement released on Wednesday, Hamza has been able to say exactly how the substance entered his body and has accepted a voluntary suspension until he is able to prove the source of his positive test and his inadvertent use of Furosemide, which is also widely used to increase water loss from the body.

The worst-case scenario for prohibited use of Furosemide is a two-year ban, but Hamza’s representatives are believed to be hopeful that his punishment will be nowhere near as severe.

It is, however, another kick in the shins for one of the country’s most promising batsmen, who has only just returned to the national squad after a slump in form.

If Members Council are still behaving like adults then MoI process will be made public soon 0

Posted on May 05, 2021 by Ken

Cricket South Africa’s Interim Board have clarified the process for the appointment of independent directors and, as long as the Members Council are still behaving like adults and have given the new MoI majority approval by 11am on Wednesday morning, what the new constitution says about the recruitment of new board members will be thoroughly explained to the public.

The Interim Board on Wednesday morning disputed suggestions published by The Citizen that they have any knowledge of who the applicants to be independent directors are and that they play any role in drawing up a shortlist for the Nominations Committee.

“The Interim Board does not know who has applied and will not be involved in the nominations process other than recruiting one former CSA president to serve on the Nominations Committee. All the applications are under lock and key in the office and will be passed on directly from the office to the Nominations Committee as soon as they are in place,” Interim Board spokeswoman Judith February told The Citizen.

The Interim Board hope to make the whole Memorandum of Incorporation public once the Special Resolution accepting it has been confirmed and will hold a briefing to take the media through the process thereafter.

The Nominations Committee also needs to be put in place later this week and that six-member panel will comprise either a men’s or women’s former international player nominated by SACA, alongside a former CSA president nominated by the Interim Board, a Members Council representative and people from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Directors and the Legal Practice Council.

“The Interim Board is certainly not going to be appointing the new board and according to our agreement with the sports minister, nobody from the Interim Board is going to be standing for the new board,” February added.

Boucher explains why Verreynne has slim chance of T20 selection 0

Posted on April 21, 2021 by Ken

Coach Mark Boucher explained the controversial selection issues around the Proteas T20 team on Thursday and it would seem the chances are slim that rising star Kyle Verreynne will be playing in the fourth and final match against the Pakistanis at Centurion on Friday.

Verreynne was one of the stars of the last ODI against Pakistan, scoring a tremendously composed 62 off 53 balls, and has been one of the form batsmen of the summer, averaging 97.14 for the Cape Cobras in first-class cricket. But in the domestic T20 Challenge he scored 123 runs in five innings, at a strike-rate of 128.

The 23-year-old’s career strike-rate in T20 cricket is 123 and he hits an average of 1.86 fours per innings and a six in roughly every second innings. Pite van Biljon, who is probably the batsman Verreynne could replace, has a career strike-rate of 130 and an average of 1.58 fours per innings and one six per innings.

“I want to win games of cricket, that’s the focus for me, but I am one of four selectors and we choose from a squad that was selected for us. Kyle was chosen by them as the back-up wicketkeeper to Heinrich Klaasen when we spent two days discussing who was the back-up for whom. Wihan Lubbe [career SR 137] was chosen as top-three back-up. I understand Kyle was very good in the last ODI, but T20 cricket is a bit different.

“Directly after the franchise T20 competition, the computers were brought out and we considered the aggressive brand we want to play, and the collective felt that Lubbe should get an opportunity in the top-order. Kyle is growing and we believe he can still add to a couple of parts of his game and become a world-class performer in all three formats,” Boucher explained on Thursday.

The seeming imbalance of the side, with just about every bowling option under the sun being included but Andile Phehlukwayo batting at seven and not bowling has also come under scrutiny.

“Andile is playing as an all-rounder because you can’t go into a T20 with just five bowling options, that won’t work. It’s always nice to have options, we had seven in the last game, but the captain has to make the call when to use them. We bowled really well in the second T20 which is probably the reason why Andile didn’t bowl then.

“In the last game we couldn’t pick up wickets and we went to death bowling fairly early, and there are certain guys who then come into the game like Sisanda Magala and Lizaad Williams, as the captain wanted to make it difficult for Pakistan to score. But it didn’t come off,” Boucher said.

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