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Ken Borland

Tsolekile not selected for cricketing reasons, not Smith racism 0

Posted on May 23, 2022 by Ken

The independent arbitration panel that cleared Graeme Smith of racism allegations found that Thami Tsolekile was not selected to replace Mark Boucher in 2012 for cricketing reasons, saying the wicketkeeper/batsman himself accepted that AB de Villiers being chosen ahead of him was better for the team.

Tsolekile testified at the arbitration in support of Cricket South Africa’s claim that Smith had used his influence as captain to persuade the selectors not to include Tsolekile based on his race, after Boucher suffered the eye injury that ended his career.

But while finding that Smith, the Proteas longest-serving and most successful Test captain, did have an influence on selection, the arbitrators, advocates Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop, ruled that he did not actively seek to exclude Tsolekile because of his race. Instead they found “it is more likely that Smith just wanted his team to win”.

Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors at the time and current CSA Board member, and Linda Zondi, who was also a selector before succeeding Hudson as the convenor, gave evidence that De Villiers had been selected for the tour to England in 2012 as the reserve wicketkeeper and both the selectors and coach Gary Kirsten agreed that De Villiers replacing Boucher behind the stumps would allow them to play an extra specialist batsman in JP Duminy, himself Black.

Smith was consulted about the decision and agreed with the strategy.

In Paragraph 90 of their findings, the arbitrators state: “Tsolekile … agreed with the proposition that this was ‘a strategy that will make complete sense and was something which played very strongly in favour of the Proteas cricket team’. He accepted that there were ‘very good cricketing reasons to prefer AB de Villiers to yourself for the position in the Test starting XI’.”

CSA then tried to change their argument and alleged Smith was guilty of discrimination by omission because he had an obligation to speak out on behalf of Tsolekile because the wicketkeeper/batsman was previously disadvantaged.

But the arbitrators found this change of tack was prejudicial to Smith, describing it as “a trap sprung on him” and they also criticised CSA for making submissions that were inconsistent with the facts.

The arbitrators did have sympathy for Tsolekile, describing his non-selection as “unfair” and his subsequent involvement in a matchfixing scandal as only “exacerbating the tragedy” of his story of adversity.

Who is SA’s best T20 top-order? Where should Markram bat & why? 0

Posted on August 17, 2021 by Ken

Where Aiden Markram should bat in South Africa’s T20 team, if he should be selected at all, is one of the biggest issues to solve for the Proteas ahead of the World Cup in the shortest format of the game in the United Arab Emirates in October.

When South Africa take on Ireland in the second T20 international in Belfast on Thursday evening, Markram is likely to once again bat at No. 4, having top-scored there with 39 off 30 balls in the impressive victory in the first match in Dublin.

  • Why has this become an issue?

            With captain Temba Bavuma probably best-suited to opening the batting in T20 cricket, Quinton de Kock in wonderful form up top and Janneman Malan showing he also belongs in the team, there is little space for either Markram or Reeza Hendricks in the top three.
            But Markram has, albeit in just 10 innings, the best record of all of them (see stats box). There has been a dearth of consistent finishers in the middle-order though, so moving Markram down the order has been mooted as a solution.


  • What does Markram need to do in order to change his game to suit the middle-order?

“I’m doing a lot of work on my power-hitting and being able to go to that without having faced a lot of balls. As an opener, you’re used to getting to that stage having spent quite a long time in the middle already. So it’s important that I develop a power game that I can go to earlier on, I’ve been training to be able to pull the trigger after maybe just a few balls in my innings.

“As a middle-order batsman, your roles change based on the situation, so I try to go in with a lot of intensity. In the nets I look for the boundary every ball, if that’s not on then get the one or get it into space for two; I need the confidence that if the ball is in my slot then I am able to get it away,” Markram said on Wednesday.

In terms of a perceived lack of faith in the depth of the Proteas batting line-up, Markram said while George Linde and Kagiso Rabada are both really good ball-strikers who the team have faith in, it is the set batsman who needs to take responsibility for the last five overs and bat deep.

Top-order candidates’ T20I records

Aiden Markram                    349 runs at 34.90, SR 151.08; 4×50 in 10 innings

Temba Bavuma                     338 runs at 26.00, SR 125.18; 0x50 in 14 innings

Quinton de Kock       1578 runs at 32.87, SR 138.05; 9×50 in 53 innings

Janneman Malan      241 runs at 24.10, SR 130.97; 1×50 in 10 innings

Reeza Hendricks       812 runs at 25.37, SR 121.37; 5×50 in 32 innings

De Bruyn now selected as middle-order batsman – Zondi 0

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Ken


Theunis de Bruyn was only selected as a Test opening batsman as a once-off and will be batting in the middle-order for the SA A side, convenor of selectors Linda Zondi confirmed on Wednesday.

De Bruyn made his Test debut in South Africa’s last outing, the third Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, selected out of position as an opener and was dismissed for a three-ball duck in the first innings and run out comically for 12 in the second innings.

The 24-year-old was chosen ahead of specialist opener Stephen Cook, who had scored three centuries in his first nine Tests but only made 17 runs in four innings in New Zealand, painting the selectors into a corner when it comes to the next Test, against England at Lord’s from July 6, because no player should be dropped after just one game.

“As selectors we want to look after every single player and it is unfair to leave someone out after one game. But the decision to play Theunis was because we only had one back-up batsman in New Zealand and we gave him an opportunity. Opening the batting is not the long-term plan for him, not even for SA A.

“The decision to open with Theunis in Hamilton was just because he was the back-up batsman. He will now play in the middle-order. Aiden Markram is someone we would like to see open for SA A, as well as someone like Heino Kuhn. Aiden has done very well and if you’re playing for SA A then you’re good enough to play for the Proteas.

“It will be like a trial, but because of how well he’s done, I’m sure he’s very confident and we have named him captain because we know from his SA U19 days that he does have leadership qualities. We don’t shy away from making calls like that,” Zondi said.

The SA A four-day squad includes Dale Steyn, the great fast bowler who is building his way back to full fitness after serious shoulder surgery.

“Dale is very much on track with his recovery and the plan is for him to bowl flat out in one month’s time and hopefully he can make himself eligible for two of the three SA A four-day games in the UK,” Proteas doctor and team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.

The four-day games will also be vital for Markram and De Bruyn as they look to build on their stellar summers and force their way into the Test team for the series against England, while Temba Bavuma will also want to accumulate confidence-building runs ahead of the Tests.


SA A 50-over squad: Aiden Markram, Jon-Jon Smuts, Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo (captain), Dwaine Pretorius, Mangaliso Mosehle, Sisanda Magala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Junior Dala, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Reeza Hendricks, Heino Kuhn, Duanne Olivier.

SA A four-day squad: Heino Kuhn, Aiden Markram (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo, Heinrich Klaasen, Jason Smith, Dwaine Pretorius, Dane Piedt, Duanne Olivier, Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson, Beuran Hendricks, Rudi Second, Junior Dala, Dale Steyn.

SA A itinerary

Sat 27 May                    1-day v County                                       Headingley, Leeds

Mon 29 May                1-day v County                                       The 3aaa County Ground, Derby

Thu 1 June                    1st A ODI v England Lions                      Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Sat 3 June                     2nd A ODI v England Lions                     Northampton

Mon 5 June                  3rd A ODI v England Lions (D/N)          Northampton

8-11 June                      4-day v Hampshire                                 Ageas Bowl, Southampton

14-17 June                   4-day v Sussex                                        Arundel (v Duke of Norfolk XI if Sussex in RL play-offs)

21-24 June                   ‘A’ Test v Lions                                        The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury


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    “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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