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

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, 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

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

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