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Ken Borland

Fans’ cellphones were previously full of images of sandpaper & changeroom confrontations, but Elgar hopes for less spiciness in Oz 0

Posted on April 13, 2023 by Ken

The last time South Africa and Australia met in a Test series, cricket fans’ cellphones were full of images of sandpaper and changeroom confrontations with the captain only wearing a towel, but Proteas skipper Dean Elgar is hoping that this time the spiciness stays on the field and does not cross the line into illegality.

The infamous “Sandpapergate” tour of 2017/18 was the last Test series between the two great rivals, with South Africa winning 3-1 as Australian captain Steven Smith and batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their ball-tampering shenanigans in the third Test.

“I have no animosity at all for any of the players or Australian cricket,” Elgar said in Brisbane on Monday. “It was a tough time for all of us and obviously they were sad events, it was unfortunate.

“We have moved forward as a group, although we wish things could have happened differently because there is a rich history of cricket between us and we have a similarly competitive nature.

“It was extremely juicy out in the middle, they were interesting times, but hopefully that has all been put to bed. There’s always a bit of spice on the field when we play Australia, but hopefully none of those antics.

“We love playing against Australia, we have heaps of respect for them, and hopefully this series will be a good spectacle,” Elgar said.

With Australia having plenty of depth when it comes to pacemen, the series should be a fast bowling extravaganza. Although he can be a bit of an enigma, notably in the T20 World Cup in Australia a month ago, Kagiso Rabada is still South Africa’s leading Test bowler. And Elgar is excited by the quick bowlers he has to support him – Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee and Lizaad Williams.

“KG’s career and repertoire speaks for itself in terms of what he can bring to the table,” Elgar said. “But it’s good to have options and all our bowlers bring something unique.

“It’s exciting to have raw pace in the changeroom and, facing them in the nets, I’m happy that they are part of our squad. Their skillsets are up there and they can bring the heat as well.

“In Australian conditions, you want a balance of skill and raw pace. You get a lot of value on these pitches if you can execute and hit the right areas,” Elgar said.

South Africa begin their tour with a warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI at Allan Border Field in Brisbane from Friday to next Monday.

The first Test starts at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 17.

Proteas obvious favourites with just 2% chance of rain 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

The chance of rain scuppering the Proteas’ chances is apparently just 2% and South Africa will be obvious favourites when they take on the Netherlands in Adelaide in the early hours of Sunday morning with a semifinal place on the line.

It’s the simplest of equations for the Proteas – beat the qualifiers and they are in the semi-finals. A defeat or a washed-out match would mean the winners of the game between Pakistan and Bangladesh would go through. Zimbabwe will also still have a chance of progressing if they beat India, but for that to happen and the Dutch to triumph over the Proteas would be two of the biggest upsets in T20 World Cup history on the same day.

Although captain Temba Bavuma said he was not concerned by the performance of the team in their loss to Pakistan in their previous match, the sloppiness of their display is clearly something they cannot afford to repeat. Especially not when they are on the verge of reaching the knockout rounds.

What was frustrating about their showing was that they did everything right for the first 10 overs, knocking over the Pakistan top-order. But their failure to bowl the right lengths in the closing overs was once again the burr in their saddle, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan lashing quickfire half-centuries as 106 runs were thrashed in the last eight overs.

It was a cold, wet night in Sydney but that did not excuse a messy fielding display, with catches being dropped and straightforward outfielding being duffed.

In terms of the batting, Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw both failed, but Bavuma and Aiden Markram did well enough to have the Proteas on track after the powerplay. But both of them losing their wickets in the same over, shortly before the rain delay, meant the revised DLS target was too stiff for Heinrich Klaasen and Tristan Stubbs.

The Proteas will be hoping the talismanic David Miller has recovered from his back spasm, and they know that winning their next three games will make this event their most memorable world cup campaign ever.

“You can’t afford to give teams momentum and I’m not going to look for excuses for our fielding display,” Bavuma said after the Pakistan loss. “We have been very good up to that game and we have fielded in the wet before.

“But mistakes were made and that was not the type of display you want at this level, especially in this part of the tournament. Maybe the intensity was down a bit, but it was definitely not the standard we pride ourselves on.

“Hopefully we play our best cricket in the next three games, the next one is a must-win and then we have the playoffs,” Bavuma said.

Smit to Roos: Stay close to the line without overstepping it 0

Posted on December 07, 2022 by Ken

Former Springbok World Cup winning captain John Smit has advised fiery Stormers eighthman Evan Roos to find a way to keep his passion on the field, but stay close to the line without overstepping it when it comes to ill-discipline.

Roos, who made his Springbok debut against Wales this year, was yellow-carded last weekend for an off-the-ball tussle, that saw him lean his elbow on his opposite number’s neck, in the 52nd minute of the Stormers’ win over Edinburgh.  It came at a bad time when the Stormers were under pressure, and it allowed the Scottish team to close the gap to 13-17.

Overseas critics have accused the 22-year-old of being unnecessarily confrontational, some calling his play dangerous and thuggish.

“Evan is a player who is really driven internally and he needs to find a way to control that emotion,” Smit said when asked at a Vodacom United Rugby Championship media call how he would handle a player like Roos if he were captain.

“Players get away with absolutely nothing these days, the most aggressive thing you’ll see on a field now is someone grabbing a collar and looking angry.

“Eben Etzebeth does it very well, controlling his passion right up to the end point of not getting in trouble. Evan needs to somehow know how to bottle that passion, and you don’t want to temper his enthusiasm.

“He just needs to be told though that losing control won’t just cost him but the team too. I would tell him that the angrier he gets, the more the team’s ability to succeed is diminished,” Smit said.

Smit of course had arguably rugby’s hardest ever enforcer to rely on to lay down the law in Bakkies Botha. But sometimes it took all of Smit’s considerable leadership wisdom to keep the legendary lock on the field.

“I had a few players in the Springbok team who sometimes suffered from over-stimulation!” Smit laughed. “Take Bakkies. Whenever I wanted to try gee up the team in the changeroom, I would wait for Bakkies to go to the toilet or get his knee strapped, otherwise my team talk would make him a bit over-zealous in the first five minutes! And that would be to our detriment.”

Boucher confirmed as new Mumbai Indians coach, a most suitable next step 0

Posted on October 28, 2022 by Ken

When one leaves the job of national cricket coach “to pursue other opportunities in line with his future career and personal objectives”, then the IPL would be a most suitable next step and Proteas coach Mark Boucher was duly confirmed as the Mumbai Indians new head coach on Friday.

Boucher announced earlier this week that he would step down as the Proteas coach after the T20 World Cup next month in Australia, and the “pursue other opportunities” reason was attributed to Cricket South Africa CEO Pholetsi Moseki in their statement.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Mark Boucher to Mumbai Indians. With his proven expertise on the field and off it as a coach, guiding his team to numerous victories, Mark will add immense value to MI and take forward its legacy,” Akash M. Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, the owners of the franchise, said.

Boucher has overseen a steady growth in the Proteas T20 team, such that they are now ranked third in the world and are considered dark horses for the World Cup crown in Australia.

For Boucher, taking the coaching reins at a franchise as powerful as Mumbai Indians, the most successful IPL team in history with five titles since 2013, can almost be considered a step-up, especially in terms of salary.

But the last couple of years have been rough for Mumbai and there will be pressure for Boucher to turn around their fortunes as quickly as possible, because they missed the playoffs in 2021 and finished last this year.

“It is an honour and privilege for me to be appointed as head coach of Mumbai Indians,” Boucher said. “Their history and achievements as a franchise clearly put them up there as one of the most successful franchises in all of world sport.

“I look forward to the challenge and respect the need for results. It’s a strong unit with great leadership and players, and I look forward to adding value to this dynamic unit.”

Reports had suggested Boucher was being lined up for the MI Cape Town coaching gig in the inaugural SA20 early next year, but Australian Simon Katich has been appointed to head that sub-franchise, with Hashim Amla as the batting coach.

Boucher replaces Mahela Jayawardena as IPL coach, with the Sri Lankan great now looking after all three sub-franchises in the IPL, SA20 and Emirates T20 for Reliance as global head of performance.

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    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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