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Ken Borland



Memorable triumph happening at Kingsmead will add to Proteas’ elation 0

Posted on May 03, 2022 by Ken

Routing the opposition for just 53 in 55 minutes on the final day made for a memorable triumph for the Proteas over Bangladesh on Monday, but the fact the remarkable victory in the first Test happened at Kingsmead will add to the elation for Dean Elgar and his team.

Keshav Maharaj destroyed the Bangladesh batting with 7/32 in 10 overs, the best ever figures for a South African bowler against them, and was ably supported by Simon Harmer (9-3-21-3) as the Proteas surged to victory by 220 runs.

It is only the Proteas’ second win at Kingsmead in their last 10 Tests there dating back to 2009; as a venue it had become a nemesis for them and finally enjoying a tremendous win at their hoodoo ground no doubt contributed to the emotion the players displayed.

“I’ve caught quite a few hidings here,” Elgar, who seemed to be choking back tears during the post-match presentation, said later. “This is the first Test I’ve been part of a winning side here.

“So it’s nice to have victory on our side for a change. The way we played is not the style we are generally used to or the way we want to play, but we showed a lot of character and the resources to adapt.

“Fast bowling is still our prime source of attack, but we play quite a lot in the subcontinent so it’s great to have two spinners bowling in tandem like Keshav and Simon did.

“How awesome was it to see them have the ball on a string and absolutely dominating. It was great to see them competing at such high levels and I think most batting line-ups would have had a tough task against them,” Elgar said.

South African cricket has certainly undergone a sea change in terms of mindset towards using spinners. Given the assistance that an excellent Kingsmead pitch also provided the seam bowlers, Elgar could have resorted to type and backed his pacemen more, especially with the new ball.

“Even if the IPL guys were here, Keshav and Simon would still have bowled most of the overs,” Elgar stated. “My style of captaincy is to play positive cricket and to be ruthless.

“It’s about making bold, brash decisions to take the players out of their comfort zone. It was purely my gut feel to give the spinners the new ball, and the coaches allow me to do me during the game.

“I want to see players put their hands up and make big contributions for the team. I could have bowled the seamers, but I wanted to be ruthless.

“It’s about exposing the players to the level I expect them to play at, and the only way guys coming in are going to know what is needed at this level is through exposure,” Elgar said.

When your opposition is 101-5 replying to 367 & your final lead is whittled down to 75, there is bound to be disappointment 0

Posted on May 03, 2022 by Ken

When you post 367 in your first innings and then reduce the opposition to 101 for five and your spinners have been as dominant as South Africa’s were, there is bound to be some disappointment when your lead is whittled down to just 75 by the end of the day, but that’s what happened to the Proteas on the third day of the first Test against Bangladesh at Kingsmead on Saturday.

Thanks to the epic defiance of opening batsman Mahmudul Hasan Joy, who was last man out for 137 made in 442 minutes off 326 balls, Bangladesh made it all the way to 298 all out.

It meant South Africa still emerged with a handy lead of 69, which openers Sarel Erwee and Dean Elgar extended to 75 as they reached six without loss in the four overs of their second innings that were possible before bad light and rain stopped play at 4.10pm.

But it could have been so much more with better bowling and catching. Most crucially, Liton Das was dropped on 16, a straightforward chance to Dean Elgar at first slip off Lizaad Williams, and he went on to score 41 and share an 82-run partnership with Joy that lifted Bangladesh from 101 for five to 183 for six.

There were three other half-chances that went down too through the innings, and South Africa, who were able to take the second new ball in the second over after lunch with Bangladesh on 186 for six, will be disappointed by how Williams and Duanne Olivier lost the lengths that they had been bowling earlier.

Williams had bowled Liton in the 79th over with a beautiful delivery with the old ball that nipped back sharply, but Joy and Yasir Ali were flourishing against the new ball, having added 33 when Yasir fell for 22 to a car-crash of a run out.

But Bangladesh’s next partnership between Joy and Mehidy Hasan Miraz was smoothly underway as they added 51 for the eighth wicket before Wiaan Mulder had Mehidy caught at slip for 29.

Joy then accelerated, quickly cutting the deficit from exactly 100 to 69 as he struck 27 runs off his next 17 deliveries with five fours and a six.

But the promising Williams ended his fun by having him caught at slip, to finish with three for 54 in 18.5 overs in his debut Test.

Simon Harmer failed to add to his wicket-tally of the previous day, finishing with four for 103 in 40 overs as the Bangladesh batsmen showed much more intent against him and Keshav Maharaj on Saturday.

Titans’ hopes of ensuring they’re in the final marooned in the dugout 0

Posted on March 29, 2021 by Ken

Titans batsmen Aiden Markram and Dayyaan Galiem came out after tea and sat in the dugout patiently waiting for the umpires to restart play on the second day of their Four-Day Franchise match against the Imperial Lions at the Wanderers on Wednesday, but it never happened as bad light prevented any further play.

With the morning being more suited to canoeing than cricket, play only got underway at 11.30am on Wednesday and then the rain returned at the tea break as only 200 minutes of action were possible on the second day.

The reason for Markram and Galiem’s eagerness to get back out on the park was because, at 169 for five, the Titans are just 24 runs short of ensuring they have enough bonus points to secure their place in the final next week, regardless of what happens in the Warriors match against the Dolphins.

Markram once again stood tall with the bat, scoring a wonderfully defiant 85 not out as Kagiso Rabada hollowed out the Titans innings with four for 32 in 18 overs.

Fellow fast bowler Lutho Sipamla claimed the other wicket to fall as he had Quinton de Kock caught in the slips, the left-hander having used his tree trunk bat to collect four fours in his 18.

The other notable action involving Proteas was when Rassie van der Dussen dropped Sibonelo Makhanya at first slip off Wiaan Mulder before he had scored; he went on to make 23. In the next over, with Markram on 59, Van der Dussen missed another chance off Rabada, which had the cellphones in the media centre abuzz with social media comments.

It got worse for the Lions when Reeza Hendricks dived across from second slip to catch Markram off Beuran Hendricks on 68, only for the left-arm paceman to have bowled a tight no-ball.

*At Newlands, the Knights must be heartily sick of the sight of opening batsman Pieter Malan, who has batted for 490 minutes and almost certainly dashed their final hopes.

Malan finished the second day on an epic 195 not out, steering the Cape Cobras to 382 for three, a lead of 201 runs.

Zubayr Hamza (86) and Kyle Verreynne (74*) helped plunder the Knights attack.

*St George’s Park is often one of the trickier destinations to go to, but the Dolphins have not only all but assured themselves of a place in the final but look almost certain to host it in Durban, as they dominated the second day against the Warriors.

Khaya Zondo led the way with a composed 111, a quality knock featuring 15 fours and three sixes to lift the Dolphins to 358, a first-innings lead of 234.

Zondo came to the crease on 107 for three with the dismissal of Senuran Muthusamy for 52, and had to stabilise matters after the visitors slipped to 194 for seven.

Keshav Maharaj once again shone with the bat, stroking 66 with 10 fours, as they added 132 for the eighth wicket.

The Warriors reached stumps on 88 without loss, with Ed Moore on 42* and Gihahn Cloete 39*.

Budaza wishes he had not been playing cricket on 27/10/13 … but that day spurs him on to greater heights 0

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Ken

Knights pace bowler Mbulelo Budaza wishes he had not been playing cricket on October 27, 2013, but the awful tragedy that happened that day continues to spur him on to greater heights in his cricket career.

Budaza, then a 20-year-old playing for the University of Fort Hare in Alice, bowled a bouncer to Old Selbornians batsman Darryn Randall. The former Border representative tried to hook the delivery, missed and was struck a fatal blow below the eye, a freak and unimaginable accident because Randall was wearing a helmet.

The 32-year-old collapsed immediately and never regained consciousness. Amidst the horror and utter grief of the tragedy, Randall’s family forgave and offered support to the young Budaza, and said they wanted to see him rise up and go on to play for the Proteas one day.

“My grief for that day will never end, I could not believe it happened, I never stop thinking about it. But it means I badly want to succeed in my cricket career, because of the support I received from his family and mine, and from people like Greg Hayes and Mfuneko Ngam, plus Prince Dabula, the varsity psychologist.

“The Randall family said to Greg that they wanted to see me go on and play for the Proteas, they said it to motivate me and they have been very supportive. That pushes me and I’m very happy with the success I’ve had so far and I’m going to work even harder towards that goal,” Budaza says.

And an audit of Budaza’s career shows that it has certainly been onwards and upwards for the left-arm quick, who has now bowled himself into genuinely being in the conversation for higher honours.

He has been particularly effective in 50-over cricket and from 2015/16 to the 2018/19 season he played 43 games for the Knights and took 54 wickets at an average of 28.12 and an economy rate of 5.45 runs-per-over. And then last season was his real breakthrough campaign as he was the joint leading wicket-taker with Knights team-mate Shaun von Berg in the Momentum One-Day Cup, taking 18 wickets at an average of just 16.27 and an economy rate of only 4.71 as the Central Franchise reached the semi-finals before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

“It was a good season after a tough one the year before when everything just seemed to slow down, it was a struggle, I bowled a lot of no-balls and I just didn’t have good rhythm. But I was chuffed to come back strong and I felt very privileged to play so well, thanks to my team-mates’ support. The work I did with our new head coach Allan Donald was the first reason for my comeback and it was an honour for me to work with him. He changed some technical stuff and helped me a lot.

“I’m not really thinking about playing for the Proteas, although that is my dream. My focus is on winning games for the Knights and whatever comes from that will come. If I do well for them again this coming season then hopefully I will get a look-in with the SA A side, but I just have to make sure I am in form and winning games for the Knights.”

The lanky Budaza comes from the Eastern Cape cricket nursery that just keeps rolling out highly talented fast bowlers, but he is not so much an offshoot of township cricket as a product of the rural game.

“I was born in the farming district of Manley Flats and that’s where my cricket started. My first game was when I was watching my cousins play and they were one man short so they called me to help. I grew up playing on the streets and I was always tall. I played for the Willows Club [who Makhaya Ntini used to play for] because there was no cricket at my primary or high school, until in Grade X I got a scholarship to Woodridge College from Grade XI.

“Playing for the Willows Club in Grahamstown, Christo Esau, the Eastern Province provincial coach, and Piet Botha, the head coach –took me to Port Elizabeth for academy trials and I worked with them. Woodridge then said they wanted me and I did not hesitate because I wanted to play cricket,” Budaza explains.

Woodridge College is a private school situated between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay, so Budaza’s first provincial recognition came with the Eastern Province rural team.

“In 2010, I was chosen for the EP Rural team to go to Kimberley for the Senior Rural Cricket Week. That was a big thing for me, there is talent there and a lot of it is not recognised. So I didn’t take it for granted. I had two options after matric, to go to Fort Hare or the Eastern Province academy. I chose Fort Hare because as a bowler, to have Mfuneko Ngam as a coach would be brilliant. We worked very hard and we got very close, I was very fortunate to have him as a coach.”

Rural cricket is what used to be called Country Districts and it not only highlights the game being played in great spirit but also exposes the considerable talent that exists away from the cities. Leon Coetzee is the president of Rural Cricket South Africa and he says they desperately need more support especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I consistently argue that some unions are not spending enough to improve the quality of the many rural clubs in their area, to help them with coaching of coaches and better administration. SA Rural should have more to spend on developing talent, people like Ferisco Adams of Boland and Diego Rosier from Northern Cape came from rural areas and a couple of Black African stars like Mbulelo Budaza came through from Country Districts to get franchise contracts.

“If they didn’t play rural cricket then they would not have been noticed. There’s a massive amount of undiscovered rural talent, but South African cricket is focused more on the semi-pros and franchises. I have approached unions to see how we can improve relations and Covid could have a damning effect on the sustainability of many rural clubs, especially if we can only start playing next year,” Coetzee says.

In terms of style, Budaza is reminiscent of Lonwabo Tsotsobe, the last Black African left-arm quick to play Test cricket for South Africa, and although they do not come from the same community, the former number one ranked bowler in one-day international cricket is also a product of the Eastern Cape.

“They called me ‘Lopsy’ at Woodridge and we had these warm-up T-shirts and my number was also 68. The first time I watched the Proteas play live was an ODI against India in Port Elizabeth in 2011 and Tsotsobe took the first two wickets for South Africa. He was not quick but he got bounce and had a beautiful action. He was my early role-model.” Despite his talents, Budaza only played two first-class, four List A and one T20 game in two seasons with Border. But in a sign of his determination to succeed, he decided his cricket dreams should not suffer one of those long, slow deaths in a relative backwater, even if it was close to home, and he signed for Northern Cape ahead of the 2015/16 season. By that December he was making his Knights debut.

“But I did not get too many semi-pro opportunities with Border, and then Northern Cape signed me, with JP Triegaardt, who is also a very good coach, very active and works you hard,” Budaza says. “The call-up from the Knights was a surprise because I’d only been there a month or two. My first game was against the Cobras and they had all their Proteas back, bowling to guys like Hashim Amla and JP Duminy made me nervous, I had seen them on TV and now I was playing against them. But cricket is cricket so I changed nothing, I just tried to bowl in a good area for as long as possible.”

And the occasion was not too big for him as three of his first five overs were maidens.

Like Tsotsobe, Budaza is a skilful bowler, but he does not believe in bringing a whole backpack of tricks into play, preferring rather to squeeze the batsmen into submission.

“Playing a lot of cricket in Kimberley and Bloemfontein, you’ve got to be clever as a bowler and make sure your skills are up. You have to make sure you are fit and don’t get tired, because then the batsmen will punish you. Whenever I get the ball, I just try to do the right thing for the team. I’m not really chasing wickets, I try to contain and not concede runs whatever happens. But I can be aggressive if I need to be,” Budaza explains.

The member of the South African Emerging Players squad epitomises the Jewish word “Chutzpah” and the words of psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl certainly ring true in Budaza’s case “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Mbulelo Budaza has already overcome significant challenges and is growing rapidly into one of the country’s most exciting bowlers, as well as being, in coach Donald’s words: “nothing but a brilliant human being, it’s amazing how he has got himself up and made something of himself”.

Allan Donald sidebar

Allan Donald had a phenomenal record as a fast bowler and has built up a huge reputation as a bowling coach. In his new position as Knights head coach, he describes Mbulelo Budaza as being a larger-than-life character with a big work ethic.

“He’s been a solid performer for a while and is eager to learn, he tries really hard to execute whatever you’re working on and is a careful listener, before going away to do his drills on his own, he gets on with it. On his day he can swing the ball beautifully, but on some other days the wrist is not quite right and we’re working really hard on rectifying that.

“But he is a lovely character who everyone likes. A funny guy, the room lights up when he’s in it, Mbulelo is a terrific person, when I was consulting we connected very well and he’s a superstar in the making, one of the dependables. What sets him apart is that he stays competitive.

“He’s definitely got a bit more pace than Tsotsobe, but Lopsy used to swing it around corners and really late too. Mbulelo is still working on that side, but sometimes he’s fighting against that naughty wrist. But that can work in his favour because the batsman starts thinking about why it’s not swinging back in … ” Donald said.

“But he can make it move the other way and that’s why he’s so hard to face – he’s unpredictable. I tell him to just keep on faking it on those bad wrist days. But he keeps breaking partnerships on flat pitches, he has golden spells but he also just keeps plugging away. This is going to be a big season for him.”

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