Proteas remain top international team

On 1 May the International Cricket Council (ICC) released its updated rankings with regard to Test, One Day International and T20 International cricket. The Proteas ranking in all three formats once again proves that South African cricket continues to perform at international level and produce quality cricketers across all three formats. In Test cricket South Africa is ranked second behind India, who has had the advantage of playing all their Tests at home during this period. The Proteas in comparison have won Test series away from home against Australia and New Zealand during this period. With a tour to England and home series against Bangladesh, India and Australia coming up, the Proteas will have the opportunity to overtake India as the world’s number one ranked Test team. The Proteas are ranked number one in One Day International cricket after dominating series wins against Australia and Sri Lanka at home and … Continue reading

The IPL Effect

It would be safe to say (perhaps even an understatement) that the world of professional cricket will never be the same again after the Indian Premier League (IPL).  In so many ways, the IPL has irrevocably changed the landscape of professional cricket. On a global scale, the IPL has given cricket a status it would otherwise never have enjoyed.  Cricket is a commercially viable activity in only about ten countries.  Crucially, it is not a mainstream sport in North America, mainland Europe, China or Japan – the homes to the world’s economic powerhouses.  It is a big sport in only four of the world’s top fifty economies:  India, the United Kingdom (England), Australia and South Africa. But despite these statistics, the IPL is one of the biggest and most popular professional sports leagues in the world.  Various sources put the IPL’s revenue at somewhere between US$3,6  – 4,5 billion.  Whatever … Continue reading

Focus back on South African Kolpak cricketer

The vote for Brexit by the British public has led to a mass infiltration of Kolpak players from South Africa into County cricket. Players who qualify for Kolpak status have realised that 2017 will probably be their last opportunity. Kolpak players are mainly from South Africa whose international careers are over or in decline. To qualify for Kolpak status a player needs to have played at least one Test match or fifteen white-ball internationals. As happened a few years ago, there has been a big reaction to this development in the English media and from cricket supporters on social media. The British as a nation have become paranoid with foreigners parachuting into their islands on a daily basis and sport is no different to other aspects of life.  Who can blame them? England cricket during the decade of the 1990’s was very poor and they struggled to compete with other … Continue reading

South Africa: A cricket production line like no other

Whatever the real or perceived shortcomings and misgivings might be of the South African domestic cricket system, the rate at which this country produces top cricketers is still staggering. The 2017 English county season started last weekend.  A quick glance over the county squads reveals that at least 46 South African born cricketers (and I’m sure there is a name or two missing in the list below) will grace the fields of the sport’s birthplace during the northern summer.  Not distinguishing between the types of contract these players are on – for it is not the purpose of this article to jump on any Kolpak or “defection” band wagon – they are: Derbyshire: Hardus Viljoen, Wayne Madsen, Daryn Smit and Imran Tahir. Durham: Brydon Carse, Keaton Jennings and Stephen Cook. Essex: Simon Harmer, Ryan ten Doeschate and Neil Wagner. Glamorgan: Colin Ingram, Chris Cooke, Marchant de Lange and Jacques Rudolph. … Continue reading

South Africa’s domestic cricket in decline

    Domestic cricket in South Africa is in decline with regard to its standard and profile. There are certain cricket critics who believe that it is actually in free fall. This is a dangerous situation to be in as the domestic game develops future players for the national team. The smaller the gap between international and domestic cricket in a country, the easier it is for future players being able to adapt to international cricket. This ensures that the generation change of personnel does not have a negative effect on the national team’s performances and they remain fairly constant. In other words, there are no peaks and troughs for the national team’s performances as time goes on. Going back to the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s South Africa had probably the best standard of domestic cricket in the world. There were reasons for this:  It was mainly an amateur game … Continue reading

Meet the e-fan

The pace of change in content delivery has enabled the sports industry to flourish in recent decades.  40 years ago we were very excited to see highlights of the Springboks’ overseas matches a few weeks later in cinema news reels.  With the advent of television, we were introduced to a new world of live broadcasts.  India’s domination of the purse strings in world cricket is built solidly on television rights, something that’s happened in front of our eyes (no pun intended) over the last 25 years.  The incredible variety of content on offer on television (think SuperSport’s plethora of channels) is surely the pinnacle? Think again!  In the last decade technology has changed sport once more.  No longer are we restricted to broadcast schedules and whatever the broadcasters decide to dish up for us.  Advances in internet delivery and affordable mobile devices mean we can catch up on sport anywhere, … Continue reading

Cricket’s continuous new frontiers

  The game of cricket has been around for centuries and it continues to push new frontiers all the time. The game has evolved probably more than any other sport in history and now consists of three formats. For many years during the amateur era, the game consisted of first class cricket mainly, as well as international tours and Test cricket. In 1978 the Kerry Packer World Series changed all that went before and the game was never the same again. The Packer Series not only professionalised the game with players being paid, but gave birth to day/night, 50-over cricket played in coloured clothing. It was originally referred to as pyjama cricket by the purists but it changed the game forever. The next revolution was the birth of T20 cricket, claimed by the English but actually a South African initiative emanating from the Discovery Knock-Out Challenge way back in 1999. … Continue reading

The future of personal sponsorships

Politically, socially and technologically the world is in the midst of its most turbulent period ever.  This turbulence is impacting where investment in sport is coming from, how sport content is created and distributed, and is changing the dynamics of the relationships between an athlete*, his sponsors and his fans. According to industry experts, Nielsen Sports, global sponsorship spend will reach over US$62 billion in 2017 and global media rights spend is expected to hit US$45 billion.  These are astronomical numbers.  Individual athletes need to know their place in this vast market otherwise the chance to capitalise on commercial opportunities will be lost. Several key trends have emerged over the past five years, both globally and in South Africa, which will (not can) have a direct impact on an individual athlete’s ability to attract personal sponsorships and captivate fans.  These are the three most notable trends: We live in an … Continue reading

Two cricket laws that make no sense

The injury to Ross Taylor in the first Test match being played in Dunedin has once again illustrated that the International Cricket Council needs to relook the law that does not allow players injured in a match to be replaced. Cricket is the only team sport in the world that does not allow replacements. In fact, they have become even more rigid by not allowing an injured batsman to have a runner.  Over the history of Test cricket, there are many more examples of this.  Once again it has reduced a Test match to an uneven contest.  Injuries form part of any sport, on and off the playing field, and should be catered for in a professional and fair manner. Rugby used to have the same laws but this all changed way back in 1968 in a Test match between the Springboks and Lions at Loftus Versfeld.  Mike Gibson replaced … Continue reading

The hope of the Caribbean Premier League

The various domestic T20 tournaments have now become a permanent feature of the global cricket calendar.  Although each tournament has its own rules with regard to overseas players, the lure remains  – big or small – for these players to experience T20 cricket in a another country. However, for professional cricketers from South Africa there are, realistically speaking, only two options:  the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  Apart from T20 cricket in England, all other countries’ T20 leagues clash with South Africa’s domestic season.  The South African franchises are understandably not keen to release their players for these tournaments.  Getting into the English T20 competition is also out of reach for many South African cricketers as the normal qualification rules with regard to overseas county players apply (i.e. either one Test match or fifteen white-ball internationals). The IPL is a pipe dream for the majority … Continue reading