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Ken Borland



‘KG is our best player but we can win without him’ – Steyn 0

Posted on September 27, 2022 by Ken

Dale Steyn believes Kagiso Rabada is “our best player, the leader of the attack”, but South Africa’s most prolific wicket-taker is still sure the Proteas can win the first Test against England starting at Lord’s on Wednesday even without their spearhead.

Rabada is apparently making good progress after an ankle injury, and while he is bowling again, there is still some concern over whether his workloads have been enough to get him through five days of Test cricket.

“KG is the leader of our attack, our best player and most experienced bowler,” Steyn told The Citizen. “Obviously we want him out on the park, KG gets wickets even when he’s not bowling because batsmen play our other bowlers differently.

“KG just has that presence and x-factor, but I’m certain we can still win without him. Other guys will have to step up, but the Duke ball does enough for us.

“If we are going all-out attack then Anrich Nortje has the pace and he can be used in short bursts to really attack. But for me, our most consistent bowler is Lungi Ngidi.

“The two best bowlers in England for years and years have been Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad. They don’t have the speed to scare anybody, but they use the ball so well, they have incredible skills and they know how to use the pitches.

“Lungi is straight in between those two in terms of skills and getting bounce,” Steyn said.

According to Steyn, South Africa have another trump card who also might not take the field at Lord’s in Simon Harmer. The off-spinner arrived in England five years ago on a Kolpak deal and has become a much beloved player for Essex, taking 354 wickets in just 73 matches at an average of only 20.65, leading them to a handful of trophies and being widely acknowledged as the best bowler in county cricket.

“I’m sure our captain, Dean Elgar, is in Simon’s ear having lots of discussions because he has played plenty of county cricket and will provide incredible information on what the pitches will do.

“Simon has done so well there, has played the most county cricket out of anyone in the squad, but whether he gets picked or not will depend on conditions.

“Keshav Maharaj, as a left-armer, provides other options and can hold up an end or take wickets. Normally we play a waiting game, but if England are going to bat so aggressively then we won’t have to be that patient.

“If the wickets are doing something, then England playing with an aggressive mindset will increase our chances of taking wickets. Our fielding will also have to be really good to take the different types of catches that could come,” Steyn said.

‘We know our strategy & philosophy as a team’ – Maharaj 0

Posted on August 24, 2022 by Ken

Stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj leads South Africa into an ODI series against world champions England from Tuesday and he said on Monday that “For me it’s about picking up where Temba Bavuma left off, we know our strategy and philosophy as a team.”

Regular captain Bavuma will miss the entire England tour due to a torn tendon in his elbow, and the ODI fortunes of the Proteas will be watched with keen interest because it is the one format in which their performances have lagged a bit. Plus there is the unprecedented decision to forfeit three Super League World Cup qualifying matches in Australia next January.

These three ODIs in England are not part of the Super League, but they will be a good indicator of whether South Africa’s 50-over team is starting to come together with a World Cup next year.

“Relatively speaking, we have not done as well in ODIs,” Maharaj said, “but we have tried various methods and combinations and hopefully we have found our rhythm now.

“We have put in a lot of hard work in the last 12 months and hopefully we will see results now. This might not be part of the Super League, but we are still playing international cricket and representing our country.

“It’s an opportunity to play more together as a unit, and it is still an important series as we try and get those combinations right for when there are lots of important Super League points coming up.

“We are trying to build some confidence in the ODI unit, we have come a long way and this series is an opportunity to do something special as a team,” Maharaj said.

Forewarned is forearmed and hopefully the Proteas will not be shellshocked when the England batsmen launch their now trademark all-out assault on them from the start of their innings.

“England do have a very positive approach, and if conditions allow it then we can be more aggressive too. But it’s about being smart and doing what we can to negate their batting.

“England have a lot of all-rounders in their middle/lower order and they bat quite deep. We have to make sure we execute the basics, get our thinking right on the day and adapt very quickly to conditions,” Maharaj said.

The venue for the first ODI – Chester-le-Street – is in Durham, the capital of the north-east of England, and the last time the Proteas were here was in the 2019 World Cup when their pacemen cashed in on helpful conditions to bowl Sri Lanka out for 203 and win by nine wickets. It was one of their few good days in that tournament.

England will want to capitalise on the emotion of Ben Stokes, the hero of their World Cup triumph, playing his last ODI on his home ground, the Test captain having announced his retirement from the international 50-over format on Monday.

SA has strong ties with France & they owned the previous World Cup there … 0

Posted on July 11, 2022 by Ken

There are ties between South Africa and France dating back to the 17th century and the arrival of the Huguenots, but relations, especially when it came to local rugby fans, were strained when the French were awarded next year’s Rugby World Cup instead of our country, which WorldRugby’s independent panel had recommended as the best option.

Nevertheless, the French were on a charm offensive in South Africa this week, the tourism boards from their southern regions welcoming potential travellers for the tournament in September/October 2023. The Springboks will be based in Toulon, the port city right on the southern tip of France.

As the visiting delegation pointed out, South Africa is a very important travel market. Studying the pre-Covid tourism figures for travel from France to South Africa, one sees a figure of 135 000 visitors per annum. And the number of South Africans visiting France is equal to that, also around 135 000.

The south of France, in particular, looks a magnificent tourist destination, combining great historical sites, stunning natural landscapes and, of course, food and wine to savour.

The Springboks owned the 2007 Rugby World Cup when it was last held in France and several of those champions – the likes of Bryan Habana, Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, John Smit and Victor Matfield  – have made big impressions playing for clubs in France.

And the country made a lasting impression on them.

“South Africa has extremely good ties with France, I have fond memories of playing for Clermont in 2007/8. It was beautiful and the French cities are the closest to the South African ones you will find in Europe.

“There’s the beach, bush, skiing, the wine and food, e-biking, all sorts of things to do,” Smit said at the French embassy in Pretoria.

“When I moved to France, I thought I would get away from a country where rugby is a religion, but in Toulon they just love rugby,” Matfield said. “We had 50 000 people come and watch our first training session.

“I remember the big celebration the Springboks had in Marseilles when Australia and New Zealand were knocked out of the 2007 World Cup … and then we nearly got ourselves into trouble the next day against Fiji.

“But everything is close by in France, you can go skiing and two hours later you’re in Monaco,” Matfield said.

The man of the match in the 2007 final also spoke about how organised everything was in France and how much effort the hosts put into ensuring the Springboks could travel around the country with ease.

The 2023 Springboks are going to be staying at Les Sablettes, a French Riviera peninsula into the Mediterreanean Sea with gorgeous views over the crystal-clear blue waters. They will have their own private boat to ferry them across the bay to the famous Stade Mayol, where they will be training.

South Africa are going to play two matches (v Scotland & probably Tonga) in nearby (66km) Marseilles, the oldest city in France, established 26 centuries ago!

Nice is nearly 150km away in the opposite direction and the winter resort town of European aristocracy. Known as the Queen of the Côte d’Azur, it is also a gateway to the Southern Alps.

North-west of Toulon are the vineyards and lavender fields of the Luberon, the area of Provence where Van Gogh enjoyed the most prolific time of his career. Cezanne was also a native of the area.

The Luberon was also a stronghold of the Huguenots, so many South Africans can claim to have their roots in the area. And, unless the Springboks are playing against Les Bleus, which many are tipping as the final, they can be guaranteed to have the hosts firmly behind them.

‘In our minds we will be back in the game if we get Kohli early’ – Petersen 0

Posted on February 09, 2022 by Ken

“In our minds we will be back in the game if we get Virat Kohli early tomorrow,” Proteas batsman Keegan Petersen admitted on Wednesday after the Indian captain steered his team to 57/2 and a lead of 70 runs at stumps on the second day of the third Test at Newlands.

Having surrendered a 13-run first-innings lead despite Petersen’s defiant career-best innings of 72, South Africa rocked the Indian second innings by removing both openers with just 24 runs on the board. But Kohli (14*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (9*) then steadied the innings. The pair of experienced batsmen shared a first-innings stand of 62, Kohli going on to bat for four-and-a-half hours, scoring 79, and the Proteas know just how important it will be on Thursday morning to nip their current partnership of 33 in the bud.

“We’re a bit behind the eight-ball and these two batsmen have been a bit of a headache for us,” Petersen said. “Virat is one of the best batsmen in the world, he’s shown that time and time again.

“If we can get him early then it will break open the game, in our minds we will be back in it. Taking a few early wickets on Thursday will be key.”

Petersen initially struggled to establish himself in Test cricket, scoring just 76 runs in his first five innings, but he was not helped by having to come to the wicket with less than 10 runs on the board in all those knocks. There was speculation that he should drop down the order in order to ease his passage into the international game, but he has now scored half-centuries in successive Tests in his beloved No.3 position.

“It has been a challenge, the most difficult attack I’ve ever faced, but I like batting at three, I’ve batted there for most of my career,” Petersen said.

“It’s been tough for the openers on the pitches we’ve played on, and Aiden Markram is just going through a rough patch, but he’s a quality batsman who will pull through.

“But if I can make the No.3 position mine, I’d be very happy,” Petersen added.

Scoring 162 runs in his last three innings there suggests he is well on course for that.

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