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Ken Borland

Rickelton expects Bangladesh to use Domingo’s local knowledge 0

Posted on May 09, 2022 by Ken

Proteas batsman Ryan Rickelton expects Bangladesh to use the local knowledge of their coach Russell Domingo to bounce back in the second Test against South Africa starting on Friday at St George’s Park, after the touring team’s questionable tactical approach in the first Test in Durban.

Domingo was born and raised in Port Elizabeth and first made his name in cricket coaching with the local Eastern Cape Warriors franchise. By making one of the less-resourced teams in the country a trophy-winning force, Domingo quickly rose in the coaching ranks and become Proteas assistant coach and then head coach between 2013 and 2017.

“I think Russell and Allan Donald [Bangladesh bowling coach] will have a massive say in this Test,” Rickelton said. “I was very surprised that Bangladesh bowled first at Kingsmead, where you generally bat first.

“Russell will have valuable insight which Bangladesh need to exploit, they need to invest in what he says, especially in regards to Port Elizabeth.

“Bangladesh came into the Tests with lots of momentum after their one-day series win. They do have some really good players and seamers, but unfortunately a couple of them are injured and going home,” Rickelton said.

The 25-year-old left-hander, who is also an accomplished wicketkeeper, made his debut in the first Test and hit a bright 21 in the first innings, boldly getting off the mark with a reverse-sweep for four, before he mistimed a pull shot off fast bowler Ebadot Hossain and looped a catch to mid-on.

In the second innings he showed more composure under pressure, as he batted through a collapse to finish with 39 not out.

Rickelton said it was an extremely exciting prospect to make his debut.

“It was an awesome experience, I was honoured to represent my country and to step into the Test arena is something I dreamt about since I started playing.

“My Dad came down the night before the game once I was told I was playing. We’ve been through thick and thin together since I was a little boy. He was over the moon and probably even more excited than me.

“And I was probably a bit too excited and played a few too many shots! I was a bit too expansive and gave my wicket away. In the second innings, I was a lot more composed and controlled, back to my normal self.

“I’m not sure if it was brave or stupid the way I got off the mark, but when you’re that excited it’s tough to fight it and you just have to let it happen and try and make the best decisions,” Rickelton said.

The Johannesburg-born, St Stithians product has been one of the most successful batsmen in domestic cricket this season and he has a first-class average of 51.21, having hit 10 centuries in 37 matches.

No guarantee for PE folk buying tickets that Harmer will play 0

Posted on May 05, 2022 by Ken

The good people of Gqeberha will no doubt be basing, in part, their decision to buy tickets for the second Test between South Africa and Bangladesh starting at St George’s Park on Friday on whether local hero Simon Harmer will be playing, but veteran groundsman Adrian Carter told The Citizen on Tuesday that he can’t guarantee the pitch will support the use of two spinners.

Harmer, who began his professional career playing for Eastern Province in 2009, dovetailed superbly with Keshav Maharaj in the first Test, taking seven wickets in the match, as well as scoring a vital 38 not out in the first innings as South Africa won by 220 runs at Kingsmead.

“St George’s Park has had the reputation for being low and slow, but this pitch is looking very sporty, although we are still a few days out from the Test,” Carter said.

“We’re aware of what South Africa want, so there won’t be too many surprises, but there is a lot of grass still on the pitch. Local opinion amongst the players is that if it seams it will also spin.

“It turns off the grass though, so it’s not sharp fizz like off the clay in India, but the ends are fairly worn because we’ve had a lot of cricket on the field and there should be some purchase.

“There is rain expected on the weekend though and there’s more assistance for the seamers if the Easterly blows, it lifts the grass up a bit. But it needs to be a gentle wind and it needs to be overcast,” Carter said.

If South Africa do bolster their seam attack then Glenton Stuurman, who has taken 29 wickets in nine matches at his new home ground in Gqeberha, could come in for his second Test. He could replace either Duanne Olivier, whose performance was inadequate at Kingsmead, or Wiaan Mulder, who played only a bit part in the first Test and looked extremely uncertain with the bat.

Long-term, Mulder’s place has to be in serious doubt due to his lack of runs – averaging just 14.40 in 15 innings – and there have also been mutterings that CSA could go back to enforcing a quota of six players of colour, including three Black Africans, in every Proteas starting XI and not just as an average over the season.

Mulder would be the most likely player to make way for a player of colour, but the balance of the Proteas side would also be severely affected if that move comes to fruition.

Even if does not, if Harmer wants to have a long-term playing future in the XI, then he is probably going to have to ensure his batting is good enough to fill the No.7 position. It makes perfect sense, however, for the Proteas management to really want him for the England tour, where some of the venues could have turning pitches and he has enjoyed immense success in county cricket.

Domestic season starting and T20 Knockout should highlight exciting young batting talent like Johnny & Josh 0

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Ken

The domestic cricket season starts on Friday in Kimberley and the CSA Provincial T20 Knockout Competition should highlight some of the exciting young batting talent coming through, starting with the Western Province duo of Johnny Bird and Tony de Zorzi and the Central Gauteng Lions trio of Josh Richards, Mitchell van Buuren and Shane Dadswell.

The Lions and Western Province are the two First Division sides in the pool so they will be the favourites to advance, but hosts Northern Cape, who have a couple of thrilling strikers of their own in Beyers Swanepoel and Evan Jones, and South-Western Districts, led by Jean du Plessis and Hanno Kotze, should not be discounted.

The 23-year-old Dadswell, who is something of a Pukke legend for his big-hitting exploits for them, has joined the Wanderers fold along with two other young North-West products in Ruan Haasbroek and Louren Steenkamp. The Lions are coached by Wandile Gwavu, who steered the franchise team to last season’s T20 title in February and, even though only two players return from that final, he will not want to bend the knee to anybody this early in the season.

Ryan Rickelton is one of the returnees and he has been named as Central Gauteng’s captain for the T20 competition, being joined by Sisanda Magala, who will be the Lions’ key bowler.

Whereas the Lions franchise used to slowly strangle teams in T20 cricket with their brilliant spin duo of Bjorn Fortuin and Aaron Phangiso, that option is not available to Gwavu now and he will be looking to pace to blow opposition batsmen away. Magala has Lutho Sipamla to share the new ball with and the likes of left-arm quick Carmi le Toux, Tladi Bokako and Aya Myoli are in the squad for Kimberley.

Former Knights offie Tshepo Ntuli, who was born and raised in Kimberley, is the chief spinner in the squad and Gwavu could be looking to the likes of Haasbroek and Dadswell for some part-time overs.

The Lions and Western Province meet in the season opener on Friday, followed by Northern Cape versus South-Western Districts. The Pool A games conclude on Sunday with the top two teams going through to the quarterfinals.

Elgar trying to market his new leadership style 0

Posted on June 07, 2021 by Ken

The Proteas are off to the Caribbean on Monday and, having gathered on Friday, new captain Dean Elgar has spent the weekend almost trying to market his new leadership style to an expanded squad of 19 players.

Elgar is one of the characters of the changeroom, and is often considered a joker, but he has shown he has strong leadership credentials at the Titans and certainly commands the respect of the players. But a new era begins next week, post the captaincy tenures of Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, and Elgar has been making sure everyone is on the same page as to the way things are going to be done now.

“We had a great chat on our first night together, when I mapped out how I see things going forward and we had a conversation around that. It was very constructive and those conversations will be ongoing over the next few weeks. I want to try and change the mindsets going forward, it’s a challenge with 18 different individuals who all have different opinions.

“So I’m trying to get buy-in, get the guys to trust the process. Hopefully some of what I’ve done in the past can rub off on the players, they need to know they can rely on me and follow me. We haven’t played much Test cricket lately, so it’s been difficult to get a process going that would make us competitive. I had a lot of quality conversations with Graeme Smith through the years and I would be letting the team down if I didn’t use that,” Elgar said at the weekend.

The 33-year-old Elgar said he would be leaning on other players who have been part of the Test squad for more than five years like Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada, because their experience will be vital for a rebuilding side.

“Those players are so valuable and there is a great demand for them around the world of cricket, you can’t replicate their knowledge. There’s not a lot of experience floating around at the moment, so their presence is massive for the environment. It was a totally different era when I started playing Test cricket under Graeme Smith, we had a lot more caps around then.

“But I would like to try and use my learnings from back then, use the knowledge I gained. That time moulded me and taught me a lot of good lessons, so I would like to bring that into this side. We need to get back to scoring big hundreds, bowlers taking five-fors and taking 20 wickets to win a Test. There used to be that rich culture of success and with extended squads now we have all the options we need,” Elgar said.

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