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Ken Borland

Proteas advertising their passion for Test cricket in clinical fashion 2

Posted on March 11, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas were able to celebrate a massive 284-run over the West Indies in the second Test at the Wanderers.

The second Test between South Africa and the West Indies may have only lasted three-and-a-half days, but in terms of advertising their self-professed love of Test cricket and their renewed happiness under new leadership, the Proteas produced a compellingly clinical display at the Wanderers on Saturday.

The West Indies were bundled out for just 106 in only 35.1 overs, their third lowest total ever against South Africa, whose 284-run winning margin was their second-biggest against the once-great Caribbean team.

Off-spinner Simon Harmer took the new ball and bowled unchanged from the Golf Course End to take three for 45 in 17.1 overs. Kagiso Rabada, as ever, had set the ball rolling with two wickets in the 11th over, after West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite (18) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (2) had initially done well to put on 21 for the first wicket.

Seven overs later, the West Indies had crashed to 34 for six at lunch, left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj also taking two wickets.

But what happened next to Maharaj was the only negative of the fourth and final day at the Wanderers, with the 33-year-old rupturing his achilles tendon as he tried to celebrate his second wicket, an excellent review leading to Kyle Mayers being given out lbw for 7 on the stroke of lunch.

Not much more than an hour after lunch it was all over, with young fast bowler Gerald Coetzee mopping up the tail with three for 37, once again improving on his career-best figures.

“Today the guys were very clinical in the way they went about their business. Winning is always fun and I did enjoy that,” new Test coach Shukri Conrad said after debuting with a 2-0 series win. “To see smiles on the faces and a happy changeroom is fantastic, because after the Australia tour, things were very dark.

“It was great to see how the guys responded and I feel there has been a little bit of growth already. We now have to find novel ways of keeping that growth going because we don’t play another Test for nine months.

“I can say categorically and emphatically that the boys want to play Test cricket, every single one of them wants to play more Test cricket,” Conrad said.

The 55-year-old coach was especially delighted for his captain, Temba Bavuma, who must have slept well overnight having scored a magnificent 171 not out that led the Proteas from a position where they were in danger of losing the match to a massive lead.

Although Bavuma only added a single to his score on Saturday, swinging Jason Holder straight to deep backward square-leg, he has answered his critics in emphatic fashion, his long-awaited second Test century being not only a biggie, but a matchwinning one on a lively pitch.

Conrad said Bavuma’s epic had roused considerable emotion in the Proteas changeroom.

“Thank goodness the TV cameras didn’t show the changeroom because there were a few wild scenes in there,” Conrad laughed. “Temba is under a lot of pressure, often for no good reason.

“So it was a monumental knock with the Test on a knife-edge. The West Indies have found ways to crawl back into the game in this series, and we have found ways of letting them back in.

“So at eight for two and then losing another two quick wickets, we needed someone to step up and move the momentum of the series. It was both a match and series defining innings.

“It was a helluva knock against a very skilled bowling unit, especially the quicks. Technically, Temba was fantastic.

“We are all so happy for him. After close of play yesterday [Friday], some of the guys stood up and lauded Temba. After all the unnecessary stick he gets, to go out and play like that was fabulous,” Conrad said.

West Indies coach Andre Coley said his team had relaxed at key times on the third day, but he praised Bavuma for “seizing the opportunity and wrestling the game away from us”.

The bowlers then wasted no time in landing the knockout punch on Saturday, securing a win that was as emphatic as some of the big triumphs at the Wanderers in the previous decade when South Africa were one of the leaders in Test cricket.

Leicestershire reignited Mulder’s love for cricket when he was at the point of saying goodbye 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Wiaan Mulder says he was almost at the point of saying goodbye to the game before a stellar season of county cricket with Leicestershire reignited his love for the sport, and now he is eager just to get out on to the field as often as possible for the Central Gauteng Lions and the Durban Super Giants.

In and out of the national squad, and more often than not touring without getting regular game-time, Mulder says his focus is no longer on proving anything to the national selectors. The 24-year-old is considered one of South Africa’s brightest all-round talents, and was first picked for the Proteas five years ago. Former national coach Ottis Gibson was much enamoured by his skills, but Mulder was arguably thrown into the deep end too soon, and his talent was almost wasted.

“I’ve travelled a lot with the Proteas without really playing, whether in red-ball or white-ball cricket,” Mulder told The Citizen. “I just never had a full run, it’s difficult playing a Test or an ODI here or there.

“At international level, you’re always competing against very good players and sometimes you don’t get as many chances as you want. You have to take what comes and you don’t play for two months and then you’re playing for your life.

“I hadn’t been enjoying my cricket for a long time, and signing with Leicestershire, my goal was to find my love for the game again, it was a great opportunity, with the freedom to just be myself.

“I almost called it quits on my career, but I’ve come a long way since then and I really want to thank Leicestershire for the belief they showed in me, which pushed me through. I think my happiness showed in my performances,” Mulder said.

The St Stithians product was named Leicestershire’s players’ player of the year and was also the fans’ favourite after a brilliant season with both bat and ball in all formats.

Durban Super Giants also gave his ability in the shortest format a big vote of confidence when they bought him for R1.9 million in the SA20 Auction.

Mulder will return to action next week as part of a strong Lions outfit in the CSA T20 Challenge, and he says the ball is coming nicely out of the hand and he is hitting it sweet with the bat as well.

“I’m quite confident, I had a really nice run with Leicestershire in the T20s and in the Lions’ warm-ups, I executed my skills well. But form is temporary, we know how it works in cricket, you never know how it’s going to go.

“But I’m trying to shift my mindset away from worrying about form and just trying to give as much as I can to whatever team I’m playing for.

“As a batsman, I’m no Kieron Pollard, but I can find a way to score boundaries and have a decent strike-rate. I’ve worked hard on my boundary hitting, for when conditions and the situation are compatible.

“I was batting at five for Leicestershire and the more time I have, the better I play. Often I would go in in the powerplay. I would love to be able to play like Rassie van der Dussen, who is so consistent, he always gives himself a chance, but can also hit his first ball for six if that’s what the team needs,” Mulder said.

CSA CEO Moseki says he loves Test cricket and feels terrible 0

Posted on October 12, 2022 by Ken

CSA chief executive Pholetsi Moseki says he felt like the most hated man in South African cricket last week, but he would like to assure that the Test format is still his favourite and he would love the Proteas to still play five-Test series against The Big Three and for the local public to fill up stadiums watching them.

Moseki was at the forefront of CSA’s controversial decision to play just 28 Tests in the five-year period of the Future Tours Programme starting next year. This is despite South Africa being top of the World Test Championship and The Big Three of India, Australia and England playing between 38 and 43 Tests in the same period.

It is not just Test matches that are being cut, the Proteas will only play 39 ODIs and 43 T20s, their 110 international matches in the next five years being the least of all Full Members except Zimbabwe.

Moseki is sad that this is the case, but it is due to the financial situation CSA are in, and the congested calendar due to all the T20 franchise leagues around the world. Their own T20 league takes January out of the equation, but that has to be a success if CSA are not to fall into a financial pit.

“We love Test cricket at CSA and it is my favourite format personally. Unfortunately we are in a tough position that demands we prioritise things that don’t cause a financial loss,” Moseki told Saturday Citizen.

“The Big Three have broadcast deals that are so significant that playing Tests is still worth it for them. We would love to play five-Test series against them, but for us smaller guys, the biggest challenge is that the calendar just squeezes us out.

“And our major broadcast deals are with Indian companies and they don’t value Test cricket as much, white-ball cricket is what attracts the premium amounts, and the rate for India matches is far higher.

“So we have different balls we have to juggle and alternative revenue streams like our T20 league have become vital for our survival. We can’t cover all our expenses when we play Test cricket.”

This situation of the haves and the have-nots will continue to ail international cricket until the ICC steps up and finds a solution for the good of the global game. South Africa simply cannot afford to play lots of bilateral cricket, especially expensive Test matches, until their finances are stable.

“We had no choice. Even with the significant distributions from ICC tournaments every year now, if our T20 league does not succeed then we will have to restructure domestic cricket.

“We will have to cut back the number of provinces and players,” Moseki warned, “And I’m not talking 20% cuts, I’m talking a total restructure. We’ll probably start playing international cricket in August.”

For now, Moseki says he is willing to take his licks from the public, as long as they come out in numbers and do support the few home Tests that the Proteas will play.

“We see the numbers watching our Proteas do so brilliantly in England, so let’s hope all the critics of our decision come and watch us against the West Indies next summer.

“It will make me feel more terrible, but I really hope that hunger for Test cricket translates into capacity crowds,” Moseki said.

All Blacks don’t have to be dragged to Ellis Park like it’s a chore 0

Posted on September 22, 2022 by Ken

Far from having to be dragged to Ellis Park like it is a chore, the All Blacks are pretty much unanimous that they love playing at the stadium that is like the brutal heartland of Springbok rugby, hooker Codie Taylor saying on Thursday that it is his favourite place to play.

New Zealand were greeted by a hostile cacophony last weekend at the Mbombela Stadium, but Ellis Park will see nearly 20 000 more near-rabid supporters crammed in and boiling over with passion.

“The first 10 minutes you’ll be absolutely heaving because of the altitude and the arena,” Taylor said on Thursday at the All Blacks’ shiny Sandton hotel when asked what awaited the players in the grubby decay of Doornfontein.

“It’s a very intense place to play, but it’s also the best place to play rugby. I definitely have fond memories of running around there. It’s two proud nations going head-to-head.

“There’s a mutual respect and there have been some good relationships built, but it’s all-go once you’re out there,” Taylor said.

The 31-year-old has been recalled to the bench for probably his 70th Test appearance, replacing another veteran in Dane Coles.

“You always want to be out there, so there’s a bit of energy and I’m fresh after missing out last weekend,” Taylor said.

The Crusaders star played in a Super Rugby quarterfinal (2016) and final (2017) against the Lions at Ellis Park, so he has an idea of what to expect in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster said you expect to do a lot of running around at Ellis Park.

“I think it’s going to be a game of endurance, generally you do a lot of running around at Ellis Park. South Africa like to move you around early, we saw that last week.

“It challenges your fitness, but we very much look forward to playing on Ellis Park, and we know the Springboks do too. Ellis Park is pretty special,” Foster said.

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