South African cricket needs spin culture

  Dane Piedt the debutant off spinner against Zimbabwe enjoyed a fantastic match for the Proteas when he took 8 wickets for 152 runs in Harare. It has been the most promising debut for a South African spinner since Paul Adams way back in 1995. The young spinner now needs to be managed and nurtured; something that South African cricket is not good at. South African cricket has historically struggled to produce quality spinners but has probably produced the best fast bowlers in the history of the game. One only has to think back to Neil Adcock, Peter Heine, Peter and Shaun Pollock, Mike Procter, Alan Donald, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn to mention but a few. There were many other real quality South African fast bowlers that other countries would have died for. There are probably only two spinners, Hugh Tayfield and Paul Adams, who made an impact for … Continue reading

Piedt takes man of the match award in debut test

    Off-spinner Dane Piedt capped a stunning debut test match against Zimbabwe in Harare by claiming the Man of the Match award. Starting their second innings with a deficit of 141 runs, Piedt was instrumental in bowling out Zimbabwe for 181, leaving the easy victory target of 41 for the Proteas. They quickly knocked off the target, winning by nine wickets with a day to spare. At one stage it looked as though Zimbabwe might set the Proteas something of a target when they reached 80/2 at lunch. But Piedt’s guile changed everything in the afternoon session. He took four wickets in an innings for the second time in the match to give him a match return of 8/152 in only 49 overs for the best ever figures on debut by a South African spin bowler. Previously Ian Smith had taken seven on South Africa’s tour of England in … Continue reading

Unlocking Social Media for athletes – 20 June 2014

Social media is tailor-made for international athletes, not big brands and corporates.  A simple comparative exercise will prove this point: According to BrandSouthAfrica.com, the five strongest South African brands in 2013 were, with their Twitter followers in brackets:  MTN (101,000), Vodacom (119,000), Sasol (173 sic!), Standard Bank (32,000) and Absa Bank (19,800). Total Twitter followers:  271,973. The first five batsmen in the last Test match the Proteas played against Australia at Newlands in March were, with their Twitter followers in brackets:  Graeme Smith (654,000), Alviro Petersen (68,500), Dean Elgar (2,922), Hashim Amla (370,000) and AB de Villiers (1,260,000).  Total Twitter followers:  2,355,422. Proof that social media offers top athletes an incredible platform to not only improve their public image, but also unlock unlimited exposure for their sponsors.  David Carter, an American authority on sports business and strategic marketing, recently remarked that even “a mid-level player with social media savvy can … Continue reading

The South African Test Captains

South Africa has been playing Test cricket for a 126 years since the first Test match was played at St Georges Park against England in March 1888. During this period there have been five captains who have made a significant contribution towards the high profile that South African cricket enjoys today. The first captain to develop a competitive South African team was Jack Cheetham. He played 24 Test and captained South Africa in 15 of these. The South African tour of Australia in 1952/ 53 was almost cancelled because it was deemed that the South African team was too weak to tour Australia. It was also feared that the tour would not be financially sustainable. Eventually the tour took place under the captaincy of Cheetham and the series was shared two all with a very strong Australian team. He also led South Africa to England in 1955 and lost the … Continue reading

Provincial award for Paterson – 12 June 2014

Cobras fast bowler, Dane Paterson, this week received the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) First-Class Player of the Year award for his outstanding performance with the ball in the 2013/14 season. Paterson took 39 wickets at an average of 14.66.  This haul placed him sixth on the list of wicket takers in the competition despite playing less games (9 out of a possible 13 before being called up by the Cobras) than any of the players above him.  His best innings figures were 7/20 and best match analysis 10/62. The Cobras rewarded Paterson for his excellent season by offering him a franchise contract for the 2014/15 season. The WPCA’s annual awards ceremony focuses on celebrating the success of amateur cricket from grassroots level to first-class provincial level.  It was hosted by Western Province Cricket Club.  

South African-born players in County Cricket – 6 June 2014

On 16 May 2008, the county ground at Grace Road, Leicester was the scene of what was to become a watershed moment in English cricket. Leicestershire was hosting Northamptonshire and on any other day it would have been the last day of just another rain-affected county championship match. But, as cricinfo famously described it, the teams resembled a “United Nations conference”.  No fewer than thirteen overseas-born players (i.e. players who didn’t qualify to play for England) participated in the match.  More pertinently, nine of those were South Africans:  HD Ackerman, Boeta Dippenaar, Jacques du Toit, Claude Henderson and Dillon du Preez for Leicestershire; Nicky Boje, Lance Klusener, Andrew Hall and Johan van der Wath for Northamptonshire.  (Make it ten if you want to throw Kepler Wessels’ son, Riki, into the equation; although he was born in Australia he qualified to play for South Africa through his father’s citizenship.) As a … Continue reading

Van Zyl, Piedt & Hendricks get first call-ups – 5 June 2014

Cricket South Africa (CSA) earlier this week named Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Piedt as new caps in the Proteas Test match squad for the tour to Sri Lanka next month, while Beuran Hendricks has been included in the Proteas ODI squad for the first time. “Van Zyl and Piedt have been outstanding throughout the Cape Cobras’ successful Sunfoil Series campaign, finishing up as leading runs scorer and wicket-taker respectively,” commented CSA selection convener Andrew Hudson.  “This emphasizes once again the consistent route the selectors have always followed to recognise form through the pipeline path of franchise and South Africa ‘A’ performance.” Hendricks made his debut for the Proteas in the T20 Series against Australia in March and also went to the ICC World T20 that followed.  Returning from a successful IPL debut season with the Kings XI Punjab, he will now hope to make his 50 overs debut on … Continue reading

Hashim Amla next Protea captain? – 30 May 2014

The Cricket South Africa Board meets on the 3rd June to approve the new Proteas captain. However, there is little doubt that the Board will appoint Hashim Amla captain now that he has made himself available and has shown enthusiasm for the captaincy. There are a few reasons that will make him the CSA Board’s choice for this important position.  He is assured of his place in the team and is a very experienced world class player. Also, he has leadership skills and experience having captained the SA U19 team and the Dolphins.  Very importantly he has never been aligned with any camp in the Proteas team during the past and is his own man. Transformation will also play an important part in the Board’s decision and they will not let slip the opportunity to appoint South Africa’s first black cricket captain on merit. He is the best man to … Continue reading

Too close for comfort – 23 May 2014

English football star Wayne Rooney will never sign for any other club than Manchester United and here’s why:   In February this year Rooney signed a new four-year deal with Manchester United that remunerates him on three different tiers.  It has been said that the deal has made Rooney “the most innovatively paid player in the world”. The first tier of the deal is Rooney’s basic salary, reported to be around £300,000 per week.  The second tier is payment for his image rights.  In essence Manchester United will pay Rooney an annual fee to use him as part of a collective of other Manchester United players for promotional activities, either directly for the club or for the club’s manifold sponsors.  This part of his contract, according to reports, basically doubles his weekly income. The first two tiers of the deal are run-of-the-mill in terms of the basic structure of Premier … Continue reading

Van Dyk makes history – 22 April 2014

Photograph by: Jim Rogash, Getty Images Ernst Van Dyk returned to the top of the podium for a record tenth time in the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon.  Van Dyk became the first athlete in any division to win the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon ten times. Van Dyk led from start to finish on Monday, getting in front early and extending his lead through the hills at the start of the course.  He broke the tape in an excellent time of 1:20:36, the second fastest time of his ten triumphs.  Only in 2004, when he set the former course record of 1:18:27, did he complete the event in a quicker time. After his ninth victory in 2010, Van Dyk had to endure four frustrating years to achieve his goal of ten Boston titles.  The 41-year-old said afterwards:  “South Africa needed good news and I regarded it as … Continue reading