Preview: South Africa v West Indies Test Series

  Whilst one-day cricket will be on the minds of cricket fans all over the world with the World Cup coming up in February 2015, attention will for a short moment shift to test cricket. The Proteas take on the West Indies in a three-match test series starting on 17 December in Centurion and ending with the traditional New Year’s test match at Newlands from 2 – 6 January 2015.  The second test match starts on Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth. In 2007 Port Elizabeth was the scene of the West Indies’ one and only triumph over the Proteas on South African soil.  The hosts, however, made amends in the rest of the series and comfortably won the next two test matches – by 7 wickets and an innings and 100 runs respectively. On the West Indies’ first tour to South Africa in 1998/9 the Proteas whitewashed them in a … Continue reading

Tragic death of Phillip Hughes

The tragic death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes shocked the cricketing world. It rekindled memories of the death of Chris Burger, the Western Province fullback who broke his neck in a Currie Cup match in the Free State Stadium during the 1980’s. It left fans with the same sense of loss and sadness. It was fantastic to see how the cricketing fraternity around the world rallied in mourning the death Hughes and celebrating his life.  It proved that cricketers have a special bond that is above race, religion or creed. It was wonderful to witness and experience. The untimely death of Chris Burger lead to the establishment of the Chris Burger fund that today raises millions of rand to assist rugby players that are severely injured during matches. This is a great legacy for a man who lost his life playing the game he loved. It remains to see what … Continue reading

The Indian Juggernaut

In their book Soccernomics, authors Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski identified three factors why Brazil dominated world football during the twentieth century.  These three factors were experience, population size and national wealth.  In a sentence:  A huge talent pool, exposed to good facilities, that has a long history of competing as a nation is hard to beat. Historically Brazil is the greatest footballing power.  They have won an unrivalled five World Cups and their international winning percentage of 63% is far superior to any other country.  Since 1900 Brazil has on average had the fifth largest population in the world.  The latest data puts the number at about 203,500,000 – 2,8% of the world population.  Although Brazil might now be ranked seventh in the world by GDP, the country wasn’t always so high up the ladder.  But you didn’t need to be rich to play football.  It was (and still … Continue reading

Cricket World Cup returns to Australasia

The ICC Cricket World Cup returns to Australia and New Zealand after twenty three years for the eleventh edition in 2015. Especially, Australia with its weather, cricket culture, infra-structure and great cricket venues is probably the best country in the world to stage a World Cup. The 1992 Cricket World Cup was the first time that the tournament was played in coloured clothing, with a white ball and under floodlights. The event was a massive success with regards crowd support and extensive media coverage. It changed world cricket and elevated the game to a new level. Twenty three years later many things have changed in the world and there is a concern if the 2015 World Cup will be a success. In some quarters it is believed that this World Cup will be a watershed for the future of the fifty over game. There are three major changes since 1992. … Continue reading

T20 World Record for Chris Morris

  Chris Morris is the new world record-holder for the most economical bowling figures in T20 cricket. The Lions fast bowler bowled three maidens in his four over stint with the ball, recording figures of 2/2 and making a huge contribution to his team’s comprehensive 47 runs victory over the Cobras in their Ram Slam T20 Challenge match at the Wanderers on Friday. Pakistanis  Zulfiqar Babar and Shoaib Malik and West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine were the three bowlers to lose their record, having all conceded three runs in a four-over spell in the format. In their previous match in the competition against the Knights – where the Lions ended up winning after a super-over on Sunday – Morris was the most expensive bowler in the Lions attack conceding 50 runs in his four overs.  Two days before that match, Morris went for 37 without taking a wicket in his … Continue reading

Cricket needs all the help it can get

According to the United Nations there are 196 independent countries in the world.  Eleven of these (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago) make up the official West Indian cricket team.  Nine others officially play test cricket:  South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, England (for all practical purposes representing the United Kingdom), Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.  In total 20 countries are involved in test cricket.  That is 10,2% of the world’s independent countries.  Put differently, a tad more than 20% of the world’s population is by virtue of nationality connected to test cricket. FIFA, on the other hand, lists all 196 independent countries on their official rankings, plus some independent territories for a total compliment of 209.  100% of the world’s population is therefore connected to international football. In such … Continue reading

Cricket anarchy reaches new levels

The West Indies’ walkout of the recent tour of India has propelled the vulnerability and anarchy of cricket to a new level. This is the first time in the history of the game that a tour has been curtailed by the players. In the past tours have been cancelled or curtailed for political and security reasons by the governing bodies but never before by the players. Is this the first signs that player power is starting to dominate the game with serious consequences for its profile, future and commercial stability? If the players can walk out of a tour of India then it can happen to any country in world cricket. India is the commercial juggernaut that holds world cricket together financially. If player power continues it will have serious ramifications for the controlling bodies of the cricketing nations. We have seen that the Board of Control for Cricket in … Continue reading

Time off for Van Dyk

After a hectic last two years on the global marathon circuit, Ernst van Dyk says it’s time to put his feet up and enjoy a break. Van Dyk took second place in the men’s wheelchair race at the New York Marathon on Sunday, narrowly missing out on a second career victory in the Big Apple: “This was my eighth podium finish in 24 months in major marathons.  I would have liked to end the year on a high with a win, but it’s been an amazing year and I need some down time now to recover and rebuild.” The 41-year-old South African was dropped by the lead group with 15km remaining in the 42km race, slipping to seventh position as he struggled to maintain the pace in windy conditions. But Van Dyk dug deep and, using all his experience from riding in windy conditions in the Argus year after year, … Continue reading

Russell, Kieswetter to play in RamSlam T20

One World of Sport, in collaboration with the London-based cricket agency Essentially, has been instrumental in securing the services of international T20 stars Andre Russell and Craig Kieswetter for the Knights and Warriors respectively. West Indian Russell will join the Knights squad today after his flight from Jamaica was delayed in America. The 26-year old is a right-hand batsman and right-arm fast bowler.  He is one of the most dynamic T20 players in the world. Russell has been particularly instrumental in the recent success of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. He has played 38 ODI’s and 30 T20’s for the Windies and was a key member of their champion World T20 side in 2013. Kieswetter, who was already in Cape Town visiting family, joined up with the Warriors squad in Port Elizabeth earlier this week to prepare for this weekend’s launch of the RamSlam T20 series at the … Continue reading

When a sponsorship becomes golden handcuffs

Cricket is an expensive sport. A cricket equipment manufacturer typically budgets between R15,000 to R20,000 per year for an equipment sponsorship for an individual player.  (You can roughly double that number to get to the retail value of the equipment.)  An equipment sponsorship contract is a sought-after commodity.  When a young cricketer at the cusp of his career is offered an equipment sponsorship, he accepts it without asking too many questions. However, before the contract has run its course, the contract terms and reality often become irreconcilable. The following is a familiar sponsorship:  The young professional cricketer is a much better player now than when his equipment sponsorship contract was signed 18 months ago and as a result he is completely under-rewarded.  The sponsorship contract has become golden handcuffs.  What can the player do? He could ask the sponsor for a new deal, but tactically and practically it is not … Continue reading