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Ken Borland



Critics that jeer the Proteas from their TV chairs must not be distracted 0

Posted on December 30, 2023 by Ken

Now that the painful Test series in Australia is over, the critics no longer need to sit in their chairs in front of the TV in the early hours of the morning and jeer the Proteas, and the anticipated extravaganza that the SA20 will be should distract attention anyway.

But one hopes what transpired in Australia is not forgotten, lost in the hurly-burly of the new T20 league and just the sheer volume of cricket and sport that constantly competes for attention. Let’s not forget that the Proteas also spent October and November in Australia, playing in the T20 World Cup, where they bowed out at the hands of minnows the Netherlands. The anger over that fiasco may have died down a bit, but the promise of a full review by Cricket South Africa has not been forgotten. The outcome of that review and the rebuilding strategies decided upon are now overdue.

The responsibility for making sure lessons are learnt from the 2-0 hiding (it surely would have been 3-0 but for rain) lies with the administrators, who now have the opportunity to ensure something good comes out of the ruins.

The current team and their coaches, plus the former players working as commentators in Australia, have all pinpointed the amount of domestic first-class cricket, as well as the standard, as being the main cause of the woeful performances of the Proteas lately. So that is surely where CSA need to start their autopsy.

CSA’s current executives inherited a house that was in drastic need of renovation and Proteas fans need to realise that there are no quick fixes at international level. But that is no excuse for inaction and CSA need to come up with definite plans that have the health of the Proteas – still by far their greatest source of income – as the greatest priority.

It is all very well if the next month is spent admiring the dazzling front garden of the house that is the SA20, but the fire that is raging in the kitchen needs some attention too.

You can tell Pink Day was a grave disappointment when … 2

Posted on December 17, 2023 by Ken

Arshdeep Singh was the destroyer of the Proteas batting at the Wanderers on Pink Day.

You can tell Pink Day was a grave disappointment at the Wanderers on Sunday when even India’s bowling hero, Arshdeep Singh, sounded a bit disappointed that no Proteas batsman could pose any serious challenge to him at a venue that used to be famous for spectacular batting exploits.

South Africa, choosing to bat first, were bundled out for just 116 in 27.3 overs, their lowest ever ODI total at home, with Arshdeep doing the bulk of the damage with career-best figures of five for 37 in his 10 overs.

The left-arm quick rocked the Proteas early with back-to-back wickets in his first over, the second of the innings, as he bowled Reeza Hendricks off the inside edge and then trapped Rassie van der Dussen lbw, both batsmen out for ducks on their home ground.

Tony de Zorzi led a slight shift in momentum as he scored 28 off 22 balls before being caught behind off Arshdeep in the eighth over, leaving the home side 42 for three. With Avesh Khan getting in on the action with brilliant figures of 8-3-27-4, South Africa then lost four wickets for 31 runs as they crashed to 73 for eight.

Avesh also took two wickets in two balls when he bowled Aiden Markram (12), also playing on, and then trapped Wiaan Mulder lbw, making it a team hat-trick as Arshdeep had bowled Heinrich Klaasen (6) at the end of the previous over with a lethal delivery that jagged back to hit the top of leg-stump.

That South Africa made it to 116 was thanks to Andile Phehlukwayo, whose defiant 33 came off 49 deliveries and included a couple of sweetly-struck sixes.

A used pitch – the same one that the Proteas batting crumbled on in the midweek T20 match – that offered considerable lateral movement, was not was expected on Pink Day, which is usually a pretty miserable day for bowlers.

Arshdeep sounded a little disappointed that the hype did not live up to expectation.

“I went to dinner last night with Axar Patel and Avesh and we were talking about how brutal the Proteas are on Pink Day, just hitting sixes all the time. We actually spoke about hopefully trying to restrict them to less than 400,” Arshdeep said after his man-of-the-match performance.

“But there was a bit of moisture in the pitch and it was also a bit up-and-down. The plan was really simple, to hit good areas and try and extract that movement, get nicks and lbws.”

There may be some questions over why groundsman Brendon Frost, who served for many years at Benoni’s Willowmoore Park, used a used pitch for the showpiece Pink Day occasion and also why it broke with tradition by being so bowler friendly. But according to the Central Gauteng Lions, the Proteas actually asked for the same pitch used for the T20 game.

But India’s brilliant bowling and South Africa’s meek failure to adapt meant their own attack barely had a chance to defend their meagre total. That became no chance when debutant Sai Sudharsan (55* off 43 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (52 off 45) added 88 for the second wicket.

The Proteas eventually bended the knee with 200 balls remaining in the match, surely their worst ever display on Pink Day and one that left a large but not capacity crowd mostly only halfway through the vats of booze they were hoping to consume.

South Africa batting coach JP Duminy did not exude any bitterness about the conditions and did not want to be drawn into a discussion of whether such pitches are good for ODI cricket, especially on important occasions like Pink Day. He said it was up to a batting line-up that, De Zorzi apart, has plenty of experience, to adapt better.

“In ODI cricket, you want a good competition between bat and ball. In the first phase of the game, the ball did a lot more than expected. We did expect it to do something, we make decisions based on previous information and we know at the Wanderers that if you get through the new ball then batting becomes easier,” Duminy said.

“Yes, conditions played a role today, but that can never be an excuse, we still have to find a way. Credit to the Indian bowlers, they bowled particularly well, but we need to understand the options that are there in those conditions.

“The batting has been pretty consistent for a period of time, but now we need to take accountability, our execution will always be judged and now is a time for reflection,” Duminy said.

With the match all over, done-and-dusted by 2.15pm, the Proteas certainly left themselves plenty of time for post-mortems.

Bordeaux-Begles may be languishing, but they are no mugs – Powell 0

Posted on May 23, 2023 by Ken

Bordeaux-Begles may have lost to Gloucester last weekend and may be languishing mid-table in the French Top 14 league, but they are no mugs and Sharks coach Neil Powell knows his team have to improve on their impressive display against Harlequins if they are to win their second Champions Cup match at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Friday night.

Although Powell rated the 39-31 victory last weekend against Quins as the Sharks’ “best performance so far this season”, taking on a French team, who can pack more than half of their side with internationals, at home, is going to require something even better in order to get the victory.

“It was our best performance so far this season, we were fully in control at 32-14, but then the cards made it challenging,” Powell said on Thursday. “We showed amazing character to hold on with 13 men for 10 minutes and for seven minutes with 14 players.

“But we do want to improve. Maybe we could be a bit more physical and dominant in the tackle area, that’s definitely going to be important against Bordeaux.

“We kicked pretty well last weekend, but we have to make sure we stick to our plan in terms of the kicking game, we will have to adapt the plan against Harlequins a bit because Bordeaux kick more long balls than contestables.

“It’s about looking at who the opposition are and the weather forecast, and working out how we want to play. We need to adapt week-to-week, but it’s not about changing the whole game-plan, just doing one or two things a bit differently,” Powell said.

Much of the Sharks’ strategy will once again be about disrupting the opposition set-pieces, and although loosehead Ox Nche is out due to the three-week suspension he received for his red card against Quins, tighthead Thomas du Toit is back after his ban picked up on Springbok duty.

“It’s going to be important that we have a strong scrum against Bordeaux, that could be one area for us to target,” Powell smiled.

“It’s a pity Ox is not available because he adds a lot, but we all believe in Ntuthuko Mchunu and it’s a great opportunity for him.”

If the Sharks do get dominance up front, then the last quarter could see some attacking flair being sparked by none other than World Player of the Year nominee Lukhanyo Am, who will return to play off the bench after knee surgery in early September.

“It’s important to get Luke back on the field and give him a fair bit of time off the bench. He’s a quality player with x-factor who can create opportunities out of nothing.

“He might be a bit rusty, but I am keen to see what sort of form he is in and hopefully he enjoys his 20 minutes or so off the bench,” Powell said.

Sharks Boeta Chamberlain, Werner Kok, Francois Venter, Ben Tapuai, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Vincent Tshituka, Siya Kolisi (c), Gerbrandt Grobler, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Hanro Jacobs, Hyron Andrews, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Lionel Cronje, Lukhanyo Am.

Invitee Bradbury leads after fairytale first round that showed his own brilliance in seizing whatever opportunities he gets 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

Dan Bradbury has career earnings of just €32 537.50 and no playing status on the DP World Tour, but he is in the Joburg Open owing to a sponsor’s invitation, and on top of the leaderboard after a fairytale first round because of his own brilliance in seizing whatever opportunities he gets.

The 23-year-old Bradbury fired a superb eight-under-par 63 to take the lead after a weather-disrupted opening day at the Houghton Golf Club, leading Germany’s Nick Bachem by one stroke. Two Frenchmen are on six-under-par, Romain Langasque having completed his round and Clement Berardo having gone through 11 holes when play was suspended due to lightning at 5.11pm and then called off an hour later.

Bradbury, from Wakefield in Yorkshire, England, turned pro in July after five successful years as an amateur on the U.S. Collegiate system, playing for the Lincoln Memorial and Florida State university teams. He made three promising Challenge Tour appearances, but then three-putted his final hole of DP World Tour Qualifying School to miss advancing from the First Stage by one stroke.

Bradbury has played in a DP World Tour event before as a late replacement, making the most of an 11th-hour invite to the Open de Espana last month and finishing tied-13th. Not even the expensive flight could stop him from taking up another last-ditch call to compete in the Joburg Open, and he made the most of his chance on Thursday.

“I was given a spot on Friday night, flew out here on the weekend with my mum Sandra, just to see what we can do,” Bradbury said after his stellar round, which included seven birdies and two eagles, as well as a double-bogey and a dropped shot on his last hole, the par-three ninth.

“It was lovely to have my mother walk the fairways with me, it was as good a start as I could have wished for, but it’s the end of the week that is most important.

“It’s up there with my best days in my career, but I had some pretty special ones too during my American college days. I’ve still got work to do though,” the genial Bradbury said.

Thunderstorms always seem to come into play on the highveld in summer and Bradbury felt his momentum was disrupted by an earlier delay in mid-afternoon.

“I got some momentum going on my back nine, but the thunderstorm stopped that. It made me think a bit more about leading. I had hit great drives on three and five, and had nine-irons in on both, 180 and 188 metres, flags at the front of the green and I made the eagles.

“This is not the longest course and a good drive is key, and then the main thing is to have the confidence that you can hit that far at altitude, the ball was going miles.

“It’s my first time playing at real altitude, but my South African caddy, Keegan Snalam, has been great helping me,” Bradbury said.

South Africans have always contended hard at the Joburg Open, with nine local winners in the 14 events, and this time defending champion Thriston Lawrence and veteran Jaco van Zyl are leading the charge on five-under.

Casey Jarvis, Dylan Mostert, Louis de Jager, Wilco Nienaber and Jbe Kruger, who still has six holes to play, are all on four-under.

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    Don’t be so busy – even working for God – that you don’t have regular quiet time. Don’t let your activities become more important than your time with the Father. You can be alive ‘for’ God without experiencing the presence and power of the living Christ.

    “Attempting to serve the Lord without the strength of the Holy Spirit results in frustration and ultimate disaster.

    “If your vision of him grows dim, your service will become powerless and ineffective. This will happen if your spiritual reserves are not regularly replenished through prayer and meditation.

    “You must put him first in all your activities. Your service for him must be the result of your intimate knowledge of him. Only when he enjoys priority in all things, can you understand life from his perspective. Putting Christ first in your life and work makes you a more capable servant of God.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech



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