Have the Proteas improved under new management?

With the conclusion of the England tour it is time to assess if the Proteas have improved under the new management of Graeme Smith as Director of Cricket and Mark Boucher as head coach. They took over at a time when the Proteas were in serious decline after losing five Test matches in a row to Sri Lanka at home (2) and against India (3) away. Also, the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England was a disaster. They certainly took over a Proteas team in crisis. England comfortably won the Test series 3-1 after losing the opening match at SuperSport Park that sparked hope for a quick recovery by the Proteas in Test cricket. This was dashed as England became acclimatised to the quicker South African wickets after their tour of New Zealand where they lost the Test series. There was also talk that some England players were sick during … Continue reading

The boys are OK. The coaches, mmm…

Since the heady heights of the 2014 U.19 World Cup triumph, South Africa has fared badly at the bi-annual event. In the aftermath of their disappointing 2020 campaign (where they finished eighth), a lot of criticism has been levelled at the team.  A number of maladies have been put forward for this:  Bad selections, poor management, players simply not being good enough, poor decision-making in crucial situations.  The list goes on. The selection policies are what they are and have been for a long time.  I also don’t believe that the players were that bad.  Players like Luke Beaufort, Tiaan van Vuuren, Jono Bird, Gerald Coetzee and Bryce Parsons are very good.  The respected former international players Ian Bishop and Tom Moody even said that Coetzee was one of the future stars of the game.  These five players may or may not become international stars, but I confidently predict they … Continue reading

South African cricket needs a strong domestic system

Cricket South Africa (CSA) needs a strong domestic system if the Proteas are to be sustainable and compete at international level. CSA and the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) have been at loggerheads since CSA announced that a new provincial system of twelve teams will replace the existing franchise and provincial system. SACA have sued CSA for this decision as they believe they have not been consulted as prescribed between the two parties in the current Memorandum of Understanding. A court date has been set for the end of February 2020. With CSA now under new leadership after the appointment of Jacques Faul as Acting Chief Executive Officer and Graeme Smith as Director of Cricket, we could see the situation defused and litigation avoided. Both are cricketing people and have a better understanding of the needs for South African cricket, rather than satisfying a political agenda. It is crucial for … Continue reading

Do you want to play for the Proteas?

The recruitment of new cricketers is an integral part of the business of One World of Sport.  It is something we have to work on continuously because, as with any business, we need to find ways to grow and expand.  A natural consequence of the recruitment process is that we get to meet new people on a regular basis. In broad terms recruitment is done from two pools of players:  Established cricketers (those who have played at least a few first-class games) and young cricketers (under 20 years old with no experience of first-class cricket).  An established cricketer would be recruited because he has already displayed an ability to play professional cricket.  But a young cricketer is recruited purely on potential. Because it is a leap into the unknown, the recruitment of young players is in many ways a more exciting process.  You meet people from very different backgrounds holding … Continue reading

South African cricket under siege

The Proteas find themselves in a very difficult period since the end of last season when they beat Pakistan in all three formats. Even then there were signs that there were problems ahead. Since then they exited the 2019 Cricket World Cup without really competing and have lost seven of the last eight Test matches that they have played. This includes losing to Sri Lanka, who was the first sub-continent team to win a series in South Africa. The margins of these defeats are concerning; three have been by an innings and most of the others by big margins. They managed to break the losing streak against England at SuperSport Park in December, but have since lost the last two Tests by large margins. One can’t help but feel that England only lost the first Test because of sickness in the team and acclimatising to the conditions in South Africa … Continue reading

Cricket overload!

In 2020 there are now officially four formats of white-ball cricket: 50 overs, 20 overs, 10 overs and 100 balls. 50-over (or List A) cricket stands on its own; in many ways closer to first-class than T20 cricket.  Because of pressure from television stations for made-for-TV cricket, the proliferation of formats is happening around short-format cricket.  (For the sake of convenience I’ll use “short-format” as a collective noun for 20 overs, 10 overs and 100 balls.) Any new short-format league firstly has to be approved by its home board and then by the International Cricket Council (ICC).  For the period January 2019 to March 2020, the ICC received from its 92 Associate Members no fewer than 25 applications for new short-format tournaments!  There are also the established short-format leagues hosted annually by the 12 Full Members, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Australian Big Bash League (BBL), the … Continue reading

Mzansi Super League has a place in South African cricket

The second edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) has just been completed and from a cricketing point of view it was a success. The quality of event and cricket was endorsed by the Australians Ben Dunk and Dan Christian who are well travelled T20 cricketers. Only the Jozi Stars disappointed and never won a match under new coach Donovan Miller. For the rest, all five could still qualify for the playoffs in the last two rounds. The MSL provided very good opportunities and experience for South African cricketers. The problem remains the financial sustainability of the MSL as the projected loss will once again run into millions of rands. The major problem is that the SABC was again awarded the rights to broadcast the tournament. It is common knowledge that the SABC does not have the funds, like the pay channel SuperSport, to secure the rights at the market … Continue reading

“Krieket is onse game in die somer”

My parents live in a small village up the West Coast, Aurora.  It is on Google Maps, I promise. It is just off the N7, about 170 km from Cape Town.  The nearest place with a hospital and Woolworths, Vredenburg, is half an hour away.  There are 112 houses in Aurora (I know this for a fact because my daughter recently did a geography assignment on the town) and the permanent populations is just over 1,000. Lying in the foothills of the Cederberg mountains, Aurora is postcard pretty.  It is a meeting place for local farmers but otherwise the town is unremarkable.  In summer it can get hot, but the locals regard 40°C as mild. On such a “mild” Saturday afternoon my mom asked me and my dad to drop off a basket of freshly baked beskuit at tant Maria in Rietvlak.  Rietvlak is a remnant of apartheid, the corner … Continue reading

Where are the cricket fans?

The Mzansi Super League (MSL) has now reached the halfway stage. The crowd attendances have been poor and the tournament generally badly supported commercially. After the local derby at Newlands between the Cape Town Blitz and Paarl Rocks, Cricket South Africa (CSA) released a media statement about the good crowd of 5,200 people and the great atmosphere at the ground. In years gone by that would be an unacceptable attendance figure for the best supported or any venue in the country. It is unfair to compare eras but in the days of Benson & Hedges cricket, the Impalas, a composite team drawn from Boland, Border and Griqualand West, drew better attendances. They were considered the minnow team of the competition and played all their matches away from home. For the first edition of the MSL last year the crowd attendances were disappointing, with the biggest league match attendance being 7,000 … Continue reading

Is CSA serious about Test cricket?

The Proteas have now lost five Test matches in a row – two against Sri Lanka in February and three against India in October. For any self-respecting cricket nation, this would be a crisis.  More so if one considers the manner of these losses.  Sri Lanka beat the Proteas in South Africa, becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.  The way in which the Proteas capitulated in the second Test match in Port Elizabeth was particularly embarrassing. The Proteas were always up against it in India.  But the magnitude of the series loss was alarming.  For example, the defeats in the second and third Test matches were the first time since 1936 that South Africa lost successive Tests by an innings. The Proteas’ next challenge is England.  In recent times, England has consistently been ranked above South Africa in the Test rankings.  The team … Continue reading