Test Cricket Terminal?

The President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Shashank Manohar, has made a statement that Test cricket is dying and that the Test Championship, due to start after the Cricket World Cup later in 2019, needs to be the saviour. The ICC has always stated that Test cricket remains their number one product and priority. However, they have only paid lip service to this statement and let the world game drift with no structure to ensure the balance between limited overs and Test cricket. It is a pity that the ICC President took the negative route on what he thought the state of Test cricket was when he should have positively enhanced the ICC’s strategy around Test cricket with the new imitative of a Test Championship. Also, why did he not place the spotlight on the re-emergence of the West Indies team that easily beat England, the ICC’s number one … Continue reading

Cricket World Cup 2019: The prediction of three armchair fans

  At a recent social gathering, completely unrelated to cricket, I found myself in the company of three amiable strangers.  After the usual chit-chat about the weather and politics, our discussion – to my pleasant surprise – turned to cricket.  And more specifically the South Africa’s chances at this year’s World Cup.  (Note that at this point my new acquaintances had no idea of my involvement in cricket.) Their cricket knowledge was above average and I decided to keep a low profile, only chipping in with the occasional remark.  The discussion quickly escalated past the top six batsmen (“yeah, those playing now are the best we’ve got and we just have to hope for the best”), the wicketkeeper-batsman position (“Quinton de Kock on his day is the best in the world”) and the bowlers (“we’ll always be all right in this department”) to the real weak spot: the all-rounder. The … Continue reading

Where are South Africa in terms of the 2019 World Cup?

South Africa produced their best performance of the series against Pakistan at Newlands to secure the ODI series 3-2. The Proteas victory in this series must not be underestimated as Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017 and are good white-ball team. The ODI series was hard-fought with the South Africa probably a bit lucky to go to Newlands still in the series. Pakistan coasted to victory by big margins at St. George’s Park and the Wanderers. South Africa’s victories in Durban and Centurion had a measure of good fortune in them – the luck going with them in Durban when they were against the ropes and the Centurion match a Duckworth/Lewis decision with South Africa chasing a big score. The rain certainly had a negative impact on Pakistan’s spinners when they were squeezing the South African batsmen before the rain came. So where does this leave … Continue reading

Social media usage is not a contractual issue

Earlier this week, for the umpteenth time, social media was the battleground for a war of words between two cricketers.  This time former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was involved in a Twitter spat with Essex fast bowler Jamie Porter over Pakistan’s perceived weakness against the short ball. During the second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan in Durban on Tuesday, Pietersen posted the following tweet:  “Pakistan’s 1st wicket falls AGAIN to a short ball… What the hell????!!!! A month in SA and they still cannot play it! Weak & pathetic!” . Porter replied:  “Reminds me of a certain someone against left-arm spin…” – a reference to Pietersen’s struggles against such bowling during his England career.  Pietersen retorted:  “Big difference between a technical flaw and a mental flaw…! But you’d know cos you play for Essex! And if playing for Essex is, ‘living the dream’, then f**k me, I’ve got it … Continue reading

The toss needs to go

The traditional toss to see who bats and bowls at the start of a cricket match has been part of cricket since the game’s inception. However, in the interest of sustainable Test cricket it needs to be done away with, allowing the visiting captain to make this decision. The reason for such a radical change needs to be implemented to ensure that Test cricket once again becomes a contest around the cricketing world. Historically winning Test series away from home has always been difficult but recently it has almost become impossible due to the doctoring of wickets to suit the home team under the guise of home ground advantage. In recent years any sub-continent team touring South Africa has been bullied by having to play on green bouncy wickets that suit the South African pace attack. The recent tours by India and now Pakistan are evidence of these types of … Continue reading

What’s happened to common sense?

On the face of it, the one match suspension for a slow over-rate handed to Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, after the second Test match against Pakistan in Cape Town is ridiculous.  But is it really? Over-rates in Test cricket, and the punishment for failure to adhere to it, were introduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the 1980’s.  At the time the Windies were the kings of the cricket world.  A huge part of their success was based on their fearsome four-pronged pace attack.  In order to keep his bowlers fresh, captain Clive Lloyd (and his successors) slowed down the over-rate.  When wickets started to tumble, the over-rate could go down to as few as 10 per hour.  It was all a bit of gamesmanship but perfectly within the laws of cricket at the time. However, the feeling was that the opposition teams were being disadvantaged because on … Continue reading

Australia’s new cricket culture is right

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has come out publically that Australia will not be successful with the new culture that Cricket Australia is trying to create after the banning of current captain Steve Smith and David Warner following the ball-tampering incident at Newlands. Clarke has stated that they will “Win sh—t” with the new culture and that their aim is to be liked but not respected. He wants to continue with the verbal (and at times bordering on physical) abuse and arrogance of the past. He has endorsed the old culture of the Australian team and sees nothing wrong with the bully tactics of years gone by. This is disappointing for a respected and successful Australian captain who has a head in the sand approach. If Clarke thinks that world cricket is going to tolerate an out of control Australian team, he is out of touch with reality. World cricket … Continue reading

Proteas far from World Cup ready

At the conclusion of their recent white-ball tour to Australia, Proteas coach, Ottis Gibson, and captain, Faf du Plessis, declared their satisfaction with the status quo of the ODI squad.  Both admitted that the team is not the finished product yet but that they are happy with the preparations for next year’s World Cup in England. Except for the fast bowlers, I’m not so sure. The Proteas have played sixteen ODI’s this year.  (There will be no more in 2018 before a five-match ODI series at home against Pakistan from 19 to 30 January 2019.)  In a six-match series against India in South Africa in February, the Indians completely outplayed the Proteas. They won the series 5-1 and became the first Indian touring team to win an ODI series in South Africa. In July/August the Proteas beat Sri Lanka 3-2 in an away series.  It might sound impressive but Sri … Continue reading

Mzansi Super League a watershed event

The Mzansi Super League (MSL) that starts at Newlands today with a match between the Cape Town Blitz and Tshwane Spartans is a watershed event for South African cricket due to historical reasons. The MSL faces many challenges and is an important event for the credibility of Cricket South Africa (CSA). The MSL is being launched against the failed backdrop of the T20 Global League which was cancelled last year at the very last moment. There are challenges facing the MSL with the biggest one being the financial success of the event; this was the very reason why the T20 Global League was cancelled. On the surface it looks like CSA is prepared to carry the operational losses to establish the MSL, hoping that they will recover these losses in the future. The prediction is that the loss for the inaugural tournament will be between R100-120 million. The SABC are … Continue reading

Cricket must find its communities again

The case for cricket to re-connect with its communities has never been stronger than now.  Three major international events at the end of last month prove this point. In 2016 unheralded Leicester City scripted one of the Cinderella stories of sport by overcoming odds of 5,000 to 1 to be crowned English Premier League champions.  The success was built on the investment of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai billionaire of the King Power business empire, who took over ownership of the club in 2010. Unfortunately this relationship came to a tragic end on 28 October when Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash after attending a Leicester City game.  A torrent of grief followed the news, as well as astonishing stories of Srivaddhanaprabha’s kindness towards the fans, gestures that showed he cared for the citizens of Leicester and big donations he made to local charities and hospitals that went unreported. Cynics … Continue reading