for quality writing

Ken Borland

Elgar goes from pumping up the tyres of his team-mates to telling them it’s time to make amends 0

Posted on October 11, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar has spent much of the series pumping up the tyres of his team-mates, telling them how good they are, but now that Australia have won the rubber, he said on Tuesday, on the eve of the third and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, that it was time for the team to make amends.

Well-beaten in both Brisbane and Melbourne, Elgar has made it clear that there is still much to play for and he expects his team to do everything in their power to restore some pride.

“There’s nowhere to hide in Test cricket and the top five need to find a way to execute their batting disciplines,” Elgar said. “Whatever we do in terms of selection, hopefully we provide a better spectacle than in the first two games.

“There’s also a lot for us still to play for – the World Test Championship final is a massive incentive – and we should be playing every Test like it is our last.

“But talk is cheap, we need to go out and perform and really make amends. It’s very frustrating because these are really talented players, but it just hasn’t gone our way.

“We want to go home with a lot of pride restored and so there’s still a lot to play for, as well as our position in the World Test Championship. It’s about how we rise up to the challenge and grasp the opportunity,” Elgar said.

Cynics would say whatever changes South Africa make to their XI will be like putting mag wheels on a skedonk. But the Proteas have to make at least one change due to Theunis de Bruyn returning home for the birth of his daughter.

“The only options in our squad in terms of batsmen are Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen,” Elgar confirmed. “Rassie has played for an extended period at Test level so he’s more experienced, while Heinrich is immensely talented and maybe deserves an extended chance.”

South Africa could well make a second change, bringing in a second spinner – Simon Harmer – but Elgar intimated that the off-spinner would have to replace another bowler.

“We need to have another look at the pitch, but Simon is definitely in the mix because Sydney has been low and slow, with a bit or turn, recently, so that might force our hand,” the captain said.

“But Keshav Maharaj is still our number one spinner and I’m still a 6/5 fan, that’s what I’m thinking. But all options are on the table, although playing seven batsmen makes it a massive ask for the bowlers.

“They’ve had a big workload, especially in the last Test when they racked up big numbers of overs. So it’s a big ask to have just four bowlers, especially only three seamers,” Elgar said.

Proteas the butt of much criticism, but back from the anus-end of the earth with image strengthened even more 0

Posted on April 08, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas have been the butt of so much criticism in recent years that it almost feels like they are now not getting enough credit for their sterling exploits over the last nine months.

Their latest achievement may have just been a 1-1 stalemate against New Zealand, a team that has never won a series against South Africa, but, as ever, context is important.

Their 198-run win this week in Christchurch was the most dramatic of comebacks considering how heavily they were hammered in the first Test. That was a largely indefensible performance, except for the fact that the team had to travel to the anus-end of the earth, spend 10 days confined to their rooms in quarantine and then come out and take on the reigning world Test champions while their bodies were still trying to deal with jetlag.

The current Proteas are far from a star-studded outfit. Only Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj would probably be in contention for a World XI. But beating both India and New Zealand, the two sides that contested the World Test Championship final, in back-to-back series shows that there must be a pretty solid team culture being built in their changeroom.

Of course there are those who would like to see the efforts of the last nine months all go to waste by firing the current coach. If Mark Boucher leaves the Proteas family, there can be little doubt it will have a negative effect on performance. But Cricket South Africa has a history of believing the results of their showpiece product don’t matter.

Apart from the remarkable resilience, determination and composure shown by the Proteas, it is always most pleasing when so many crucial contributions come from players who are still relatively new to Test cricket.

Batting does not come much harder than on the opening morning of a Test at the Hagley Oval, but Sarel Erwee knuckled down with Dean Elgar and backed up his captain’s incredibly brave decision to bat first after winning the toss. A statement of intent and sheer bloodymindedness if ever there was one.

Batting through to lunch unscathed was a superb effort and Erwee then announced himself on the Test stage by going on to a highly-skilled century, one that has literally taken years of hard toil.

There were similarities in the second innings when Kyle Verreynne and Wiaan Mulder crucially survived the first hour of the fourth day under big pressure. If wickets had come during that period, South Africa would probably have been bowled out with a lead of less than 300 and the Black Caps would have really fancied themselves to get that.

It was also a very brave decision for the Proteas to include Maharaj in the starting XI on a ground where spinners have seldom been in the game. But a major factor in South Africa’s victory was the fact that they read the conditions in Christchurch much better than the home side did.

Maharaj’s first contribution came in the Proteas first innings when he shared a crucial ninth-wicket partnership of 62 with Marco Jansen. Again, in the second innings, South Africa’s bowlers were in fine form with the bat with Rabada’s sensational 47 off 34 balls not only providing vital quick runs but much inspiration.

Maharaj was a key figure with the ball in the second innings, and while Rabada and Jansen were also in the wickets, Lutho Sipamla made his mark in the game with a tight spell that kept the batsmen in check and ultimately resulted in the major wicket of Devon Conway, trapped lbw for 92 when the bowler fired in an impressive yorker.

Even Mulder fulfilled his role with some useful medium-paced seam bowling.

In fourth place now in the World Test Championship, and with two Tests against Bangladesh coming up in South Africa, we look forward to this Proteas squad, including management, being kept intact so they can continue to make waves in international cricket.

Currie Cup the big prize Bulls are after at end of the day – Jake 0

Posted on January 26, 2021 by Ken

The Bulls have already broken their 10-year trophy-drought this season by winning the SuperRugby Unlocked title, but at the end of the day, the Currie Cup is the big prize they are after according to coach Jake White.

The Bulls won the SuperRugby Unlocked competition by four points and those points were then carried over to the Currie Cup. White’s charges have subsequently finished top of the log in the Currie Cup as well, but this time they have to get through two knockout matches to claim the silverware, starting with their semi-final against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re not trying to be arrogant, but we said at the start of the season that we wanted to play in the final and win the Currie Cup. So we’ve now got two weeks left to play, whether you look at this season as one or two competitions or two competitions in one, at the end of the day we are in the playoffs. Now we want to get to the last round and win the trophy.

“We’ve done the hard work to get into the final, we’ve put the hard yards in to justify home advantage. The reality is we’ve got a lotto ticket for the last two rounds, hopefully we stay alive after this weekend. There won’t be any crowds but I still think it’s a massive bonus for the guys to sleep in their own beds, be in their own changeroom, all the little things,” White said this week.

While the 2007 World Cup winning coach acknowledged that it was far from a fait accompli that the Bulls would achieve their goal, White did make their journey in 2020/21 sound somewhat miraculous.

“I’ve coached in competitions before where the first and second team on the log don’t play in the quarterfinals, they go straight to the semis and get a week off. But sometimes the team that finished first on the log doesn’t win, there are still no guarantees even if you finish first. But this team really want to win the Currie Cup, they want to be part of history and write their own script.

“No-one expected us to do so well. I’ve had seven months to work with this group and in the last 10 years the Bulls had not won a senior trophy, we lost five of our six SuperRugby games last year and finished sixth in the Currie Cup in 2019, losing to Griquas at Loftus. So other teams were far ahead of us and I’m very satisfied with how things have gone. But we haven’t really won anything yet,” White said.

Members Council should get a look this weekend at forensic report they have owned since December 0

Posted on September 12, 2020 by Ken

The Members Council ‘owned’ the Fundudzi Forensic Report auditing the affairs of Cricket South Africa in the wake of the suspension of then-CEO Thabang Moroe from the moment they commissioned it last December and they are hopeful that they will finally get to see it without onerous conditions this weekend.

CSA announced in the early hours of Friday morning that the CSA Board of Directors and the Members Council would hold “a joint workshop this weekend to discuss critical matters” and while their statement was in response to Sascoc’s intervention in their affairs revealed on Thursday evening, provincial presidents have confirmed to The Citizen that Saturday’s agenda includes a discussion of the forensic report, which was completed in June.

“We will all be under one roof and hopefully we will at least get a partial view of the report that we will dissect and analyse. I’m pretty sure the forensic report will be made available, or at least what can be made public knowledge will be. This weekend is really make-or-break time for Cricket South Africa, I believe. And then hopefully we will meet with Sascoc on Sunday,” a Members Council delegate told The Citizen on Friday.

According to a president of a major CSA affiliate, efforts to get the organisation, which has postponed the AGM they were meant to hold on September 5, back on track by allowing the Members Council to be informed of any other directors or staff implicated in the misgovernance which saw Moroe being formally dismissed last week, have been hampered by the seven Board members who also sit on the Members Council.

“I’m disappointed by the Members Council to be honest, we just seem unable to make a decision, some representatives are just going along with whatever the Board members say,” the president said.

“There are seven other members of the Members Council and three of them have been especially vocal, but there seems to be a very serious conflict of interest amongst the Board because some of them earn double what their normal income would be by being directors. It’s a flaw in the system but Sascoc are dealing with the Members Council as we look at our Memorandum of Incorporation as well.”

According to their constitution, CSA have to hold an AGM by November 5.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Thought of the Day

    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


↑ Top