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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.

Apart from Warner’s historic double-century, Nortje’s effort with the ball should not be forgotten either 0

Posted on August 14, 2023 by Ken

David Warner’s historic unbeaten double-century in his 100th Test will be what is most remembered from the second day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa at the MCG on Tuesday, but Anrich Nortje’s phenomenal effort with the ball should not be forgotten either.

Although Nortje finished with figures of just one for 50 in 16 overs as Australia piled up 386 for three and Warner retired hurt with severe cramp after scoring 200 off just 254 balls, his fiery, indefatigable fast bowling certainly caught the imagination of the 42 000 people at the MCG.

Nortje strung together some of the fastest overs recorded in Test cricket, consistently exceeding 150km/h for lengthy periods, and his endurance on a sweltering day when the temperature touched 40° was incredible. Even the notorious Bay 13 spectators were charmed by Nortje, who signed many autographs on various items, downed a bottle of water for their entertainment and had his warm-up routine mimicked by the crowd, as they used to do most famously for Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes.

Not even being struck to the ground by spidercam could get Nortje down.

“I was just trying to get a breakthrough, be more aggressive and bring out the pace. I wasn’t bowling as quickly as I can, but I did try to speed it up,” Nortje said after a torrid day’s play for the Proteas.

“Bowling the one over on the first day, I felt I needed to adjust to the wicket, which is a good one. There’s a bit of a slope upwards and my focus was on getting my momentum through the crease rather than jumping up.

“It started clicking and then you can push a bit more when you feel you have the momentum, you just ride it and not try to force anything else. I felt I had good rhythm and just tried to come as hard as I can.

“It’s a good wicket for batting, but if you can hit good areas over time then you can get reward, good bumpers can make the batsmen a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out for us today,” Nortje said.

Warner became just the second batsman after England’s Joe Root to score a double century in his 100th Test, and the veteran left-hander became the eighth Australian to score 8000 Test runs. It was his first Test century in nearly three years.

“He batted really well, hats off to him for the energy and fight he showed,” Nortje said.

Powerful bowling attacks of Northerns & KZN should decide destination of trophy 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

The Northerns Titans and the KZN Dolphins, the two teams that will contest the CSA T20 Challenge final in Potchefstroom on Saturday afternoon, both have powerful bowling attacks that should decide the destination of the trophy, or will another inspirational innings by Dewald Brevis prove the difference?

It seems that the final will be played on the same strip on which Brevis plundered 162 off 57 balls against the Free State Knights and a world record 501 runs were scored in the match. But the pressures of a final and the fact that the two best bowling attacks of the competition will be on show, suggests the ball will continue to hold sway as it has for most of the tournament.

“Both teams have really good bowling attacks and I think whoever bowls best will win the final,” Northerns coach Mandla Mashimbyi told Saturday Citizen on Friday.

“Our four spinners have really put the opposition under pressure. We have experienced campaigners in Aaron Phangiso and Simon Harmer, Neil Brand has been really good and Dewald has done well with his leggies too.

“Our bowlers have put in quality performances game in, game out, and that’s why we’ve been winning,” Mashimbyi said.

The Dolphins also have quality spinners in Prenelan Subrayen and Jon-Jon Smuts, and potent pacemen in Ottneil Baartman, Eathan Bosch and fast man Daryn Dupavillon.

“Our bowling attack has really stood up, as it has done in this competition in the last three seasons,” KZN assistant coach Quinton Friend said.

“We try to simplify things and we’ve put a big emphasis on death bowling, which has been going very well. We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing with the ball.

“The confidence in our bowling unit is high, the low totals against us speaks to the quality of the guys and the way they’ve stuck to the plans put in place.

“We’ve often had to defend low scores, which adds a lot of pressure, but the guys have stepped up. Our bowling is probably our strength,” Friend said.

The Titans have an average score of 170/6 in the tournament, but if one removes their extraordinary 271/3 against Free State, then their average drops to 155/7. The Dolphins are averaging 160/5.

Northerns won six of their seven round-robin games and KZN lost twice. But the Dolphins are too dangerous to be called underdogs and Mashimbyi is mindful of how the Titans slipped up in last season’s final, having also won six out of seven to top the log, but then losing by 15 runs to the Boland Rocks.

“We have learned from last season that we have to play certain big moments a little better. Hopefuly it all clicks for us in this final,” Mashimbyi said.

Perth Stadium one of the nicest ‘offices’ for fast bowlers, so SA & India pacemen should enjoy themselves 0

Posted on January 18, 2023 by Ken

The Perth Stadium is one of the nicest ‘offices’ for fast bowlers to work in and the pacemen of both the South African and Indian teams should enjoy themselves in their T20 World Cup match there on Sunday.

The pitch at the Perth Stadium is meant to be similar to the famous WACA, the previous prime cricket venue in Western Australia, having used soil from that historic stadium. The WACA was famous as the quickest and bounciest pitch in world cricket up until about 10 years ago, and the venue has shown encouraging signs so far in the T20 World Cup, with 24 of the 40 wickets to fall there going to the pacemen.

South Africa and India have two of the best pace attacks in world cricket, so it is going to be hard work for batsmen. In fact, the winner of the match could come down to which batting line-up copes best with the barrage.

Due to the big boundaries, spinners have also been able to display their wares with some success at the Perth Stadium.

India are currently at the top of Group II with four points from two wins in two games, while South Africa and Zimbabwe are behind them on three points.

The Proteas’ remaining games are against India on Sunday and then Pakistan and the Netherlands next week. If they can beat either India or Pakistan, as well as the Netherlands, then they would finish on seven points and only Zimbabwe could catch them, provided their neighbours beat Bangladesh and the Netherlands.

While South Africa would ordinarily be considered almost certain to beat the Netherlands, one probably should not bet one’s house on it given the spectacular upsets that have been seen in this T20 World Cup so far.

Zimbabwe beating Pakistan by one run is a match that will remain in the memory banks for a long time, and beating Bangladesh and the Netherlands is certainly a possibility for them. Their other remaining match is against India, and it might be stretching optimism a bit too far for them to win that outing.

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