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Ken Borland

Selection convenor fighting fires of criticism that Jansen adulterated Proteas attack 0

Posted on January 27, 2022 by Ken

Not even the downpours that washed out the entire second day’s play of the first Test between the Proteas and India in Centurion on Monday could put out the fires Cricket South Africa’s selection convenor was fighting as critics continued to lambast the inclusion of Marco Jansen ahead of Duanne Olivier as adulterating the home attack.

But Victor Mpitsang, the convenor of the selection panel, did confirm The Citizen’s report on the first day of the Test that Olivier had been left out due to his bowling workloads not being sufficient to last a five-day match due to a bout of Covid he suffered at the start of the month.

The 21-year-old Jansen was therefore brought into the team for his debut and struggled, along with the rest of the Proteas attack. India, having won the toss and elected to bat, amassed 272/3 led by Lokesh Rahul’s unbeaten 122. The left-arm quick’s first day of international cricket could have been very different though if wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock had taken a sharp catch off Mayank Agarwal in Jansen’s fifth over.

Jansen ended the first day with 0/61 in 17 overs. Lungi Ngidi, another man whose fitness was in question given how little competitive cricket he has played in the last few months, was the only wicket-taker for South Africa with 3/45 in 17 overs.

“Duanne Olivier is healthy and well, but did return a positive Covid-19 test result a number of weeks ago, which forced him to quarantine and took time away from his training ahead of the current Test series against India,” Mpitsang was reported as saying on the second day of the Test.

“His workloads were not where the selection panel would have wanted them to be by the time he entered the team bubble ahead of the first Test.

“He also picked up a hamstring niggle during the two-day inter-squad match at the start of the camp, and the selectors did not want to risk him unnecessarily when there are two more Test matches to think about,” Mpitsang said.

“Marco Jansen was the standout performer with the ball against India A in their recent tour to South Africa and the selectors backed him to take on the senior India team and do well,” Mpitsang added.

“Every player who has been selected for this Proteas team is believed to be capable of representing the national team and giving a performance of the highest level. The absence of one player does not take away from the quality that another brings to the set-up.”

Unfortunately for CSA, the fact that the explanation only came out on the second day of the Test has seen the press exercise their autonomy to react negatively to being kept in the dark.

Conspiracy theories also abounded on social media.

The good news is that Olivier is expected to be fully fit for the second Test at the Wanderers starting on January 3.

Glenton Stuurman is reportedly also carrying a leg niggle.

Don’t see domestic cricket & SA A as an inconvenience, says new convenor of selectors Mpitsang 0

Posted on October 23, 2020 by Ken

New national convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang said on Wednesday that it was important domestic cricket and the SA A side are not seen as an inconvenience but as crucial parts of the selection system leading up to players being chosen for the Proteas.

The former ODI international’s appointment was announced by Cricket South Africa on Wednesday and the 40-year-old from Kimberley has been involved as a scout, a bowling consultant, selector and assistant coach through various levels of the pipeline, as well as being a television commentator.

Mpitsang acknowledged that his focus as convenor of selectors for the national side will have to shift somewhat from being a spotter and developer of talent into a sifter of talent to choose finished products ready to shine in international cricket. Which is where he sees the franchise game and the SA A team playing a crucial role.

“In terms of the Proteas, when guys come into the side, the reference point is how well they have done in domestic cricket; we want them to transfer that into international cricket and we want to make sure they can dominate at that level too. Some players flourish immediately with the Proteas, while others take a bit of time, but it’s all about playing cricket at the right intensity.

“That’s where the importance of the domestic system comes in; that plays a vital role in providing the cricketers. Our high performance programme is also critical. Franchise cricket and the SA A team might not totally bridge the gap to the Proteas, but it’s important that we give prospects some sort of international standard exposure, which is where the A side comes in with their tours to Australia and India, playing in those conditions,” Mpitsang told The Citizen on Wednesday.

The former pace bowler who took 245 first-class wicket at an average of 29.80 admitted that the health – or lack thereof – of the Proteas Test team was his greatest challenge going into the job.

“In terms of challenges, how the national team performs is obviously the focus. Results don’t always give a true reflection, but as a starting point, the Test team hasn’t really been great recently. We pride ourselves on being a strong Test nation and we need to turn those results around, we need to find a successful formula.

“Obviously there’s the issue of the new Test captain and for that a real leader is needed. I have some ideas, but we need to discuss that as a team and then I can see who the leaders are. I also need to understand where the Proteas system is at; I’ve been involved at all levels of our game, but I need to understand from the inside, see what the Proteas’ true culture is and then I can sit down and decide on the way to go,” Mpitsang said.

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