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Ken Borland

Seeing personnel options and getting players into peak form the focus for Boucher 0

Posted on November 07, 2022 by Ken

Seeing how a couple of personnel options go and getting the players into peak form ahead of the T20 World Cup are the focus points for Proteas coach Mark Boucher as he leads the team to India for a T20 and ODI series that starts next Wednesday and ends on October 11.

It will be Boucher’s penultimate mission with the national team, after he decided to end his stint with the Proteas after the T20 World Cup that follows the India tour. Boucher will be becoming the Mumbai Indians head coach, but he did not want to talk about that, rather disingenuously saying contractual obligations to both CSA and his new IPL franchise prevented him from speaking about his move.

“It’s a massive tour for us, the tour before the big event, which is the World Cup. It will be very easy to keep the focus on that massive prize and I know the players are very focused too,” Boucher said.

“My personal decisions won’t hamper the players, I’m in this job for them and I will give 100% to them. I want to look at combinations, keep them in touch in terms of form and try get the confidence going.

“We hope to see a couple of options and give opportunities to players, albeit in Indian conditions. We know we will have to play a different brand in Australia, but I know we’ve got the players to push for a great outcome.

“We also don’t want to give away too many of our cards because India are in our World Cup pool as well. So don’t expect us to go at them with our full-frontal team,” Boucher said.

While the 45-year-old often comes across as a stern older brother type rather than a kind, gentle uncle, there is no doubt he backs his players. Whether that be “backing Temba Bavuma 100%” after his shock omission from the SA20 or pumping the tyres of a T20 squad that many see as dark horses for the World Cup title.

“We’ve been the most successful T20 side over the last 25-30 games and we have a lot of special players. I have full confidence that we have lots of ammunition, now it’s about getting the guys to go out and play and be world-beaters.

“We’ll try and get everyone involved and ready in India, there are three T20s and three ODIs to get the guys in form and fit. It’s a massive blow not having Rassie van der Dussen and his whole aura around the team.

“But we are fortunate to have lots of guys pushing for selection, the competition for places is massive. And we can compete in any conditions.

“The nice thing about being together for a long time is that we have continuity, but also some exciting new talent that doesn’t have the scars of the past,” Boucher 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.

Poor death bowling & poor start with the bat costs Proteas 0

Posted on July 29, 2022 by Ken

The poor death bowling of the Proteas and their poor starts with the bat cost them as they were hammered by 82 runs by India in the fourth T20 International in Rajkot on Friday, allowing the hosts to level the series at 2-2.

The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium pitch was obviously a factor as South Africa tried to chase down 170, with the variable bounce that was apparent in India’s innings of 169 for six becoming steep and dangerous in the second innings. Temba Bavuma was struck by a delivery that hit a crack and leapt off a length, while Marco Jansen received a potentially terrible blow on the side of the neck, the ball managing to scale the two metres needed to get there.

But the fact that India managed to get to 169 for six was thanks to Dinesh Karthik, a deserved man of the match, lashing a fiery 55 off 27 balls and Hardik Pandya belting 46 off 31 deliveries, with three sixes, as they added 65 for the fifth wicket in five-and-a-half overs. Their fabulous batting meant the Proteas conceded 73 runs in the last five overs, having held the upper hand as they restricted India to 96 for four after 15 overs after being sent in to bat.

The use of Test match lengths had served South Africa well up front, with Lungi Ngidi (3-0-20-2) and Marco Jansen, playing their first matches of the series, limiting India to 40 for two in the powerplay.

Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje (3-0-21-1) kept the pressure on, and spinner Keshav Maharaj (4-0-29-1) out-thought Rishabh Pant to reduce India to 81 for four after 13 overs.

Unfortunately, the death bowling of Nortje (15 runs off the 16th), Maharaj (13 off the 17th), Pretorius (32 off the 18th & 20th) and Ngidi (13 off the 19th) was not up to scratch.

Bavuma then had a torrid time opening the batting and retired hurt with an elbow injury on 8 off 11 balls. He was 1 off 7 before a boundary, but was then hit by a delivery that reared off a length, which does not do your confidence any good, or that of the rest of the batting line-up.

The real mess started when Quinton de Kock was sold down the river by Pretorius and run out for 14. De Kock squeezed Harshal Patel into the ground in front of him, Pretorius initially called for the run but then bailed out, leaving De Kock stranded as Harshal was already past him on his way to hitting the stumps.

With Heinrich Klaasen (8) and David Miller (9) both falling cheaply, Rassie van der Dussen was the last hope until he fell for a run-a-ball 20, one of three wickets Avesh Khan (4-0-18-4) took in the 14th over.

With leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal taking two for 21 and slow left-arm orthodox Axar Patel one for 19, South Africa were all out for 87 in the 17th over.

Proteas may not like the cut of the Hagley Oval’s jib, but they have to adapt 0

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas can be forgiven for not liking the cut of the Hagley Oval’s jib after their humiliation in the first Test against New Zealand, but they have no choice but to adapt and do better when the second Test starts at the same Christchurch venue at midnight on Thursday evening South African time.

Losing an important toss and having to bat first, jetlag, or the effects of 10 days of hard isolation can all be proffered as reasons or excuses for the Proteas’ dismal failure last week, but international cricket, especially these days, is all about adapting to foreign circumstances. South Africa need to find the same resilience they show at home.

“Whoever adapts quicker will get the upper hand,” opening batsman Sarel Erwee said on Wednesday. “It’s not neccessarily the team that wins the toss and bowls first that will have an advantage, the stats show there is not much difference at Hagley Oval.

“We face a lot of tough conditions at home and it’s about adapting to them and making peace with the conditions. Mentally we have gone over our game-plans and processes.

“We need to stick to what we did right and those things that didn’t work, we need to adapt to be better. We mustn’t overthink it, but there were a few mistakes made and we need to put those right.

“It’s not going to get easier and our backs are against the wall. The only way to deal with it is to step forward and try and throw the first punch. I think people will see a different side and energy this Test,” Erwee said.

But taking on the New Zealand attack, even though it will still be without Trent Boult, is an advanced task, not just a simple matter of confidence and energy.

They were magnificent in their discipline, control and skill in the first Test.

“I always knew the intensity would be high and there would be no let-up,” Erwee said of his debut last week, “but the biggest surprise was that the intensity just never went away. It did not seep away, it was there every minute and every ball.”

Notwithstanding all the dropped catches and loose bowling, it is the South African batsmen who are under the most pressure. They need to get in and someone needs to go big. It will require much more discipline and patience in waiting for the Black Caps bowlers to come to them.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

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