for quality writing

Ken Borland



Surely Hendricks must now keep his place? 0

Posted on December 23, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas play their final game on Tuesday before heading off to Australia for the T20 World Cup, the deciding match in their ODI series in India, and surely Reeza Hendricks must now be a part of every white-ball game for at least the next month?

Hendricks belatedly played his first match in India at the weekend, brought into the XI because regular captain Temba Bavuma was ill, and looked pure class he stroked 74 off 76 balls on a tricky, low-and-slow pitch in Ranchi.

It means Hendricks has now scored 370 runs in his last six innings for South Africa, dating back to July. That is the sort of form that it would be criminal to waste, especially for a batting line-up that has had some horror collapses of late.

Because Hendricks is in the T20 World Cup squad but Janneman Malan is not, one would expect Malan to be the player who makes way on Tuesday if Bavuma is fit to play again. Although Malan’s overall career ODI stats are still superb, in his last 12 innings, he averages just 24.83 at a strike-rate of only 69.95.

Of course, Hendricks should also be in the XI at the T20 World Cup, but he would have to replace captain Bavuma. But if ever there was a good argument for leaving out the appointed skipper, the difference in confidence and output that Hendricks would bring has to be it.

While Bavuma’s position is the major talking point heading into the World Cup, the form of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is also concerning. Sixteen months ago he was first on the T20 bowling rankings, but his performances have been on the slide in India.

It has never been his favourite place to play, and India’s ruthless aggression towards him has made his life difficult, knocking his confidence.

Hopefully he will be out of this weirdly erratic phase in Australia, because he plays an important role in South Africa’s T20 team. Shamsi was also ill over the weekend and his wicket-taking ability in the middle overs was missed by the Proteas in the second ODI, as Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer belted their way to victory by seven wickets with 25 balls to spare.

Hendricks and Markram band together, and Maharaj and Shamsi then do their hustle 0

Posted on September 14, 2022 by Ken

Reeza Hendricks has surely now sealed his World Cup spot as he and Aiden Markram banded together in a dominating century stand that allowed South Africa to score 211/5 in the first T20 against Ireland in Bristol, a score that was safe as houses with ace spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi doing their usual hustle in the middle overs.

After the Proteas had elected to bat first and Quinton de Kock (7) ran himself out in the fourth over, Hendricks notched his fourth successive half-century, scoring a beautifully-paced 74 off 53 balls, scoring freely through the off-side in particular as he collected 10 fours and a six.

South Africa were 47/2 in the powerplay, but Hendricks and Markram then combined superbly for a stand of 112 off just 62 balls for the third wicket.

Markram was explosive, blasting a punishing 56 off just 27 deliveries, including five sixes, but he and Hendricks fell in successive deliveries to leg-spinner Gareth Delany in the 16th over.

That left South Africa on 158/4 after 16 overs, but Tristan Stubbs showed he has the priceless finishing gift as he scored a spectacular 24 off just 11 balls, filled with remarkable strokes. Dwaine Pretorius also did his job with a dashing 21 not out off only seven deliveries, the Proteas scoring 53 runs in the last four overs.

Maharaj, deputising as captain because David Miller had a back spasm, and Shamsi were then the two best South African bowlers. Maharaj struck in the eighth and 10th overs to take 2/29 in his four overs, while Shamsi was also excellent at the other end with 1/22 in his first three overs.

They reduced Ireland to 111/5 after 12 overs, but Lorcan Tucker won himself many fans as he did not sit back, lashing a destructive 78 off just 38 balls.

George Dockrell supported him brilliantly with a defiant 43 off 28 as Ireland regrouped to need 71 off the last six overs.

Shamsi had to stand up and bowl the 17th over and he claimed the key wicket of Tucker, top-edging a sweep, and Dockrell fell to Pretorius next ball.

Lungi Ngidi bowled an effective array of slower balls at the death and conceded just 16 runs in his last two overs, while Pretorius went for just five off the 18th over and Wayne Parnell six off the last, restricting Ireland to 190/9 and a 21-run victory.

Professor Jake & Duane the Dean team up to plot Stormers downfall 0

Posted on July 29, 2022 by Ken

If Jake White is the professor of rugby here in South Africa then Duane Vermeulen is surely the dean when it comes to wise counsel for the players. And the duo teamed up on Friday to plot the downfall of the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town on Saturday.

Not only is Vermeulen, who played for White at the Bulls in 2020 and 2021, one of the most respected wise old heads in South African rugby, but he also has all the knowledge from last weekend’s semi-final when his Ulster team only just went down to the Stormers via a conversion after the hooter.

“Duane is coming to eat with me just now and then he will come to captain’s practice with me this afternoon,” White revealed on Friday. “I will show him our lineouts and he can explain how Ulster felt they stopped the Stormers maul so well last weekend.

“It’s going to be incredible input to have to help us close down their maul as the lineout drives are going to play a big part in the final.”

The fact that Vermeulen is also a Stormers legend and is now in the enemy camp is not going to sit well with the Cape Town faithful. But change is the one constant in life and how the Stormers adapt to the shifting strategic needs during the final will perhaps be the deciding factor in who becomes the first URC champions.

White, who named an unchanged team on Friday, is confident that the Bulls have the game-management skills to fit their tactics to the situation and the expected bad weather.

“This team has found a way to win in different ways, they are clever enough to work out how to win while they’re on the field,” White said.

“They have continually learnt lessons. Last time we were here against the Stormers we didn’t play well, our heads were in another place and the players admitted that. But finals rugby is different.

“We faced unbelievable conditions last week against Leinster, but we found a way to play. Against Connacht we experienced playing against the wind in the first half and in the second half.

“The coaches have done enough work, the scenario planning has all been done. What the players have learnt has given them confidence for the final,” White said.

The World Cup winning coach also said the much-vaunted Stormers scrum, which he admitted was one of the home team’s key strengths, would not be the advantage it should be because of the unstable turf of the Cape Town Stadium.

The canny coach made a plea to the referee, Andrew Brace, to not let the result be decided by a penalty for a collapsed scrum.

Bulls: Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha, Marcell Coetzee (captain), Ruan Nortje, Walt Steenkamp, Mornay Smith, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements – Bismarck du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Robert Hunt, Janko Swanepoel, WJ Steenkamp; Embrose Papier, Morne Steyn, David Kriel.

Elgar uneasy to introduce another new face, but runs now Markram’s last safe port of call 0

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Ken

Given they have already fielded one debutant in the batting line-up in Sarel Erwee, one could sense Proteas captain Dean Elgar’s unease when it comes to introducing another new face for the second Test against New Zealand starting in Christchurch at midnight on Wednesday evening South African time, but making runs right now is surely the embattled Aiden Markram’s last safe port of call.

Markram was far from the only failure in a first Test which saw the Proteas bundled out for embarrassingly low scores of just 95 and 111, but his poor run of form now extends to just 97 runs in his last 10 innings. Captain Elgar admitted on Wednesday that the time for talking is over.

“There is a big possibility of a couple of changes, no doubt,” Elgar said. “Conditions and weather will play a part, but some guys are low on confidence, especially in the batting. But it’s difficult for debutants to come in and make a play.

“Aiden is a tough one and I don’t need to speak to him anymore. We’ve had a lot of tough conversations, he needs to score runs and his position is vulnerable at the moment.

“He knows that. There’s no need for me to harp on about it. He needs to contribute, he’s in a very important position in the top-order. We can’t afford to carry guys in positions like that.

“We’ve had a lot of very good conversations over the last few weeks that have definitely resonated with him. But I need him now to return the favours,” Elgar said.

Apart from the uncertainty surrounding Markram, South Africa have also suffered a blow to their bowling hopes with the news that Lungi Ngidi is still on the road to recovery from his back strain and will not be available for the second Test either.

The Proteas bowlers made the spiteful Hagley Oval pitch look like a road at times, so poorly did they bowl, and Elgar would have loved to have the accurate and probing Ngidi as an option, coming in for Glenton Stuurman, who showed promise with the new ball on debut in the first Test, but grew increasingly flat and ineffective as New Zealand’s massive first innings grew and grew.

If the pitch is considerably flatter after a week of more sunshine than it was for the first Test, then spinner Keshav Maharaj may come into the reckoning. But South Africa are unlikely to not field four pace bowlers, so the left-arm spinner would have to replace a batsman, a risk in itself given what happened last week.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.



↑ Top