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Ken Borland

Proteas back in Australia – this time in white clothing 0

Posted on April 24, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas are back in Australia, but this time they will be in white clothing as they prepare for their crucial three-Test series, their shock exit from the T20 World Cup a month ago in Adelaide put behind them, according to interim head coach Malibongwe Maketa.

Seven of the crestfallen T20 squad are also in the Test group, including players such as Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada, who had poor World Cups, and a player like Marco Jansen who did not get to play a game.

“It’s a totally different format and we made sure the T20 players had a longer break both mentally and physically,” Maketa said in Brisbane on Tuesday.

“The players who were here during the World Cup have been able to contribute in terms of conditions and I have challenged them to bring energy to the team.

“In terms of their mental space, the turnaround has happened sooner than expected, so that is really positive. And some guys are coming off good performances at home.

“We have one warm-up game and it’s important for us, we will get all the batsmen to have a chance and monitor our bowlers. It’s crucial for us to get exposed to the pitches,” Maketa said.

The Proteas have already been tested with questions about the acrimonious previous Test series between the two teams – the Sandpapergate Tests of 2017/18 – with the Australian media hoping someone will put their foot in their mouth, but the South Africans have so far brushed off the controversy as something in the past.

“It’s most definitely not an issue for this group. There were only a handful of us involved and it changed people’s careers because it was an unfortunate incident. But that was way back then,” Maketa said.

The 42-year-old, seasoned coach also seems to have been wearing his drill sergeant cap since the Proteas arrived in Australia.

“It’s important as a coach to remember that the only way I can affect the game is through preparation. I know some of the guys are not liking me at the moment because I have put them through some really hard sessions.

“But when the Test starts, I hand over to Dean Elgar and the players. Then it’s about how we support them as coaching staff, constantly thinking how we can turn things around or stay ahead in the game.

“We give that info to the players and it’s down to them. We must never get in the way of the players, we have to trust the work we’ve done and ensure the environment is conducive for them to perform,” Maketa said.

‘I’ll not allow anyone to get into a comfort zone’ – Elgar 0

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

Following the euphoria of their innings win at Lord’s, the Proteas travelled to Manchester on Monday to prepare for the second Test, starting at Old Trafford on Thursday, and captain Dean Elgar says “We’ve enjoyed the celebrations but I’ll definitely not allow anyone to get into a comfort zone”.

“We’ll be leaving no stone unturned in our preparations,” Elgar said. “There is still room for improvement and my job is to still be looking for the negatives even when things are going well.

“We have a seriously good coaching staff who don’t get enough credit. I’m a massive fan of who Mark Boucher has added to the management and they do a lot of the behind-the-scenes homework.

“I’d be an idiot not to use that information. This is definitely not the Dean Elgar Show, there are a lot of great cricket brains in the backroom staff,” Elgar said.

Old Trafford has not treated South African cricket teams with much kindness over the years, with the tourists only managing to beat England once in nine Tests there, although they have won three of their five ODIs in the stadium next to the famous football ground.

The solitary Test win came in 1955 when South Africa won by three wickets, with Jackie McGlew, Johnny Waite and Paul Winslow all scoring first-innings centuries and fast bowler Peter Heine taking five second-innings wickets.

The Proteas’ most recent Test in Manchester ended in a 177-run defeat in 2017 as Moeen Ali dominated the second innings with bat and ball and Jimmy Anderson took seven wickets in the match.

But Elgar and his team are used to shrugging off difficulties. They were besieged by the English media about ‘Bazball’, and Elgar’s comment that “We are firmly committed to playing our own game. What England have been doing this summer does not influence my thoughts,” will hopefully be the end of that, especially given how dominant the Proteas were at Lord’s.

Even the administrators seemingly pulling the plug on the tremendous growth of this Test side by limiting their opportunities to play the longest format over the next five years could not tempt Elgar into any sort of rash response.

“I just know that we have 28 Tests in five years. It’s a sad thing, we could be playing more, but I don’t want to say more because it will get me into trouble,” Elgar said.

Elgar’s main focus is getting his beloved fast bowling spearhead fit to play 0

Posted on September 19, 2022 by Ken

Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar admitted on Monday that getting his beloved fast bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada fully fit for the first Test against England is now their main focus as they prepare for the series, which starts on August 17, in Canterbury.

Rabada injured the ligaments in his left ankle 10 days ago and missed the third T20 against England and both matches versus Ireland. Elgar’s relationship with Rabada can almost be described as a love/hate one because the skipper clearly relies on his great fast bowler, but has also used some interesting tough love motivational tactics to get the best out of him.

“KG’s fitness is one of our top priorities,” Elgar said. “He has bowled again in the nets, but his workloads are the biggest concern at the moment, ensuring he can handle the intensity and carry himself through several days of Test cricket. But there are still eight days to go before the first Test.”

Elgar is backing his bowling attack to counter the powerful England batting line-up’s ultra-aggressive, sensational ‘BazBall’ approach.

“Good for them [England]. They’ve obviously taken a few risks that have paid off, but in conditions that have helped that style of cricket. ‘BazBall’ has caused a few conversations around the world.

“But I’m not too concerned, I’m just focused on my squad. It’s great to have Anrich Nortje back, we’ve missed him because he was injured for most of the last year. He’s big for us, he brings a whole different aspect in terms of pace.

“Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj give us more options coming to the UK, and it’s by no means off the table playing two spinners, they may well start again. But we could also go four seamers and one spinner too,” Elgar said.

And the skipper says he will not be cussing at his Proteas team-mates in the build-up to the first Test.

“I will give the players more love going into the Test match. I like to think what we’ve created and what I’ve learnt over the last year has given us a lot more resources.”

And amongst those resources are batsmen fresh off good form in the white-ball part of the tour, as well as players who have shone in county cricket – Ryan Rickelton, Harmer and Keegan Petersen.

“We have some brilliant options, we tick all the boxes, with guys from county cricket who have done pretty well. So that’s a massive asset, their experience in these conditions, knowing how the ball will react,” Elgar said.

“Plus our white-ball batsmen have been pretty successful and they’ll be bringing confidence into the series. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

“I’m very much inclined to have those players around who have vast experience in county cricket and use them to our advantage. It would be stupid not to use them even if they’re not playing.

“The biggest thing about Ryan Rickelton is that he was given opportunity and I felt he took it with both hands. Now what he has done on the county circuit with Northamptonshire will be a massive confidence boost for him.

“How we view him is that he’s obviously a massive contender to keep his spot. He’s done everything the right way, he’s put numbers on the board,” Elgar said.

Tryon sees ever-more scrutiny for Proteas as they have become prime contenders 0

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Ken

When Chloe Tryon first started playing international cricket back in 2010, South Africa were not considered prime contenders when it came to ICC tournaments. Now, as they prepare for the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, the Proteas are under ever-more scrutiny as the second-ranked team in ODIs.

It is a pressure the 28-year-old Tryon says they are growing more accustomed to all the time, having learnt plenty of tough lessons from their semi-final exits in the 2017 World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup.

“We’ve come close before but been disappointed, so this tournament is about taking the next step,” Tryon said on Wednesday. “We have to make sure we keep it simple, tick all our boxes.

“We will treat it as just another game, but we are used to playing in world cups now, it’s time to make that next step and take a bit more responsibility.

“There’s still a long way to go before the World Cup starts on March 5, so at the moment it’s just about putting the building blocks in place. We’ve dreamt about this for a long time, four years and then it took another year to happen,” Tryon said.

South Africa’s previous visit to New Zealand, in 2020, saw them win the ODI series against their powerful hosts, so they will be confident they have the resources for the playing conditions to enable them to push for glory.

They open their campaign against Bangladesh in Dunedin. In the Group Stage, the eight competing sides will participate in a single-league format with each side playing the other once, the format that was previously used in the 2017 tournament. The top four sides following the conclusion of the league matches will progress to the semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final on April 3 in Christchurch.

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