Category Archives: South Africa A

SA Cricket in Crisis Arendse vs Arthur

Just when South African cricket looked like it was recovering from the many set backs from last year, another bombshell has hit. This time there will be casualties. There is unlikely to be any final warnings, something has to give.

Norman Arendse is the president of Cricket South Africa and he refused to approve the selectors decision over the 14 man squad for the tour to Bangladesh. “ If two of the players selected for Bangladesh are not fit and will undergo fitness tests on Monday, why don’t we wait until Monday before we announce the squad?” Arendse said, referring to Neil McKenzie and Andre Nel. This is a fair and valid point put across by the president. However he went on to state: “My role is to ensure that the CSA transformation policy is complied with.” This is where it all got messy.

Mickey Arthur’s reply to the above was: “As a coach and a selector I share Norman’s determination to push the transformation agenda but, at the same time, I want to be able to look every player in the eye and tell him: I believe you’re the best player for this position.” One wonders which team Mickey Arthur has been coaching as the team that he is in charge of regularly has players that the majority of SA will say are not the best players in that position. This statement can easily be backed up by statistics as can be seen here.

As the day progressed it came to light that Arendse had laid charges against Arthur accusing him of being “abusive and disrespectful” and “cocking a snook at his employers’ policy of (racial) transformation.” A bit later on in the day Arthur laid a counter-charge of “disrespectful and abusive behaviour” against Arendse, stating “I have no problem with transformation and I am very willing to work for transformation, however, seven players of colour in a squad of 14 is a target and not a policy.” To top off what is more than likely his last roll of the dice Arthur stated “We have sent the same squad to him (Arendse) for approval, the ball is now in his court.”

If his foot was in the proverbial grave, he certainly wasn’t scared of going 6 foot under when he indicated “Yes, there is animosity between us. I told him he was power-crazy and egotistical but I never swore at him. I can say now that he regularly sends back teams” stated Arthur which might have been to confirm the allegations that Arendse was responsible for the dropping of Kallis and Hall in the Twenty20 tournament mentioned here.

There are few people that have taken of the administration and won. Arthur has jumped on that boat and if any players want to be on board, they must be prepared for the worst, there is no fairy tale ending where the administration backs down and the good guys win.

The real solution would have been to take a side focused on transformation to Bangladesh and a more experienced side to India. It might not be the ideal solution but it would have saved Arthur the DCM (Don’t Come Monday) letter which might be in the post already.

Neil McKenzie recalled

Neil McKenzie has been called up to join a squad that was selcected for the first two tests. This is an indication that he will be playing, it would be pointless to add a 13th man to the sdide. The journalists in the know expect him to replace Gibbs and to open the innings.

Another great call from the selectors here, getting a man to open for his country when he traditionally comes in at 4. I guess they informed him he is only going in 5 overs earlier, as Gibbs and Smith are usually chilling in the pavilion by this stage!!!

I am very against shuffling AB de Villiers around yet again and thankfully I read somewhere so are the selectors. This is for two reasons: firstly he didn’t sparkle as an opener and secondly he is the heir to the gloves and must adapt to playing at 5 or 6 so he has some rest between keeping and batting.

I indicated before I would prefer to see Morne van Wyk there as he is a natural opener and has also been on the fringe for a few years now. Neil has proven himself in the domestic competition for the past few years and has the talent to be there, my biggest frustration with McKenzie was his predictability and lack of concentration. Often he used to get 60 odd runs before throwing his wicket away, generally to a sweep shot that wasn’t on. The experts out there say he has matured, if he has he may well be the answer to our middle order woes yet strangely he the to sort out the top order problems. I think its unfair to ask him to open, however he has got another chance against a side that has been less than ordinary for seven years, so hopefully he will take it.

One other question is what happened to Boeta Dippenaar?

Boxing Day Tests

Australia vs India

Australia have won the toss and have elected to bat on a pitch that is supposed to be flat, however some rain from the last few days should make it a tricky start. Ponting believes it was a good toss to win, with some cracks already in the pitch. The Indian side have gone with two spinners whilst Australia has only one.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson.

India: Anil Kumble (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Vangipurappu Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh.

South Africa vs West Indies

South Africa have named an unchanged side from their series victory against New Zealand, it is just a question of who will sit out. There has been rain in Port Elizabeth which indicates Pollock would be the logical choice to exploit the conditions and bolster the batting. Nel has somehow managed to survive the chop thus far and could well be in the starting XI. Smith has indicated that only a very very green pitch would be the undoing of Paul Harris’s spot from the team, which means the selectors will decide between Polly and Nel.

If Pollock is selected he should pick up a few wickets given the conditions, if not Dale Steyn will more than likely get his third 10 wickets in a match running. Dale is the only strike bowler currently in the SA side. Unfortunately Nel, Polly and Ntini just don’t seem to have the edge they once had. That being said, they are still quality bowlers who can exploit the weaknesses of any side, however they don’t inspire confidence in me that a wicket is imminent when they have ball in hand, a treat Dale Steyn brings to the attack.

Personally I think Pollock is the right call for this match, given the bad weather down in the Eastern Cape, with more rain likely during the test. Pollock is still one of the best at utilizing favourable conditions which are likely to prevail.

On the West Indian front, things look dire. Although they thrashed the Proteas in the Twenty20 match, they were embarrassed by the South African “A” side in a 4 day warm up game which lasted only 3 days as SA “A” won by 10 wickets. They have lost 17 of their last 20 tests on the road and the captain remains a doubtful starter.

On the positive side the West Indians seem to be forming an attack which could cause havoc amongst the South African middle order, which can be fragile if Kallis goes cheaply. Kallis has been the star this year with 5 hundreds and 5 fifties in 15 innings. Chanderpaul has gone one notch higher and hasn’t scored less that 50 in any innings this year. This may sound impressive however he has only had 5 test innings this year.

South Africa are the firm favourites for the series and it will take something incredibly special for the West Indians to challenge the number 2 side in the world. It is not going to happen, unfortunately the question is by how much will the Windies lose by?

Preview of the West-Indies Tour

The West Indians have recently been in South Africa, participating in the inaugural World Twenty20 Championships. In the warm up games they beat Kenya and New Zealand and looked set for their third straight win in the 20 over format in the opening match asainst South Africa as Gayle smashed 10 sixes in his 117 off 57 balls to help them reach 205. The South African side managed to reach the score fairly easily and it got worse for the Windies as Bangladesh knocked them out of the tournament.

The return to Africa could not have started off any worse, as Zimbabwe beat them by 30 runs in the first ODI. Ray Mali must have been smiling after the first match – for the uninformed Ray Mali declared Zimbabwe will be cricketing champions of the world in three years !!(see more here)  Natural order in the hierarchy of cricket was restored for the remainder of the series, as the Windies won the following three matches whilst the last game was rained out.

On the 14th of December, the West Indies face the Makhaya Ntini Invitational XI which includes: Makhaya Ntini (capt), Paul Adams, Mark Boucher, Herschelle Gibbs, Tyron Henderson, Jacques Kallis, Mfuneko Ngam, Yanda Pangabantu, Shaun Pollock, Jonty Rhodes, Pieter Strydom

On Sunday the 16th the Twenty20 match takes place at St Georges for the first time. The SA squad is: Morne van Wyk, Herschelle Gibbs, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, Gulam Bodi, Shaun Pollock (captain), Vernon Philander, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.

Greame Smith has been ruled out with a mysterious illness and thus Morne van Wyk is in the squad.

On the 19th of December the warm up game against SA A gets underway with Neil McKenzie captaining the side. The rest of the side is: Morne van Wyk (wk), Justin Ontong, JP Duminy, Gulam Bodi, Vernon Philander, Monde Zondeki, Johan Botha, Freidel de Wet, Charl Langeveldt, Robin Peterson (12th man)

Boeta Dippenaar was unavailable as he is writing exams

The West-Indies tour squad: Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards, Daren Ganga, Rawl Lewis, Runako Morton, Brenton Parchment, Daren Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Jerome Taylor.
 

West Indies Tour to South Africa Fixtures

December 2007

14   Makhaya Ntini Inv XI v  West Indians D/N Buffalo Park, East London
16 South Africa v West Indies Pro 20 Sahara Oval St George`s, Port Elizabeth 18:00
9  South Africa A v West Indies  Buffalo Park, East London
26 South Africa v West Indies Test Sahara Oval St George`s, Port Elizabeth 10:30

January 2008

2 South Africa v West Indies Test Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town 10:30
10 South Africa v West Indies Test Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, Durban 10:00
18 South Africa v West Indies Pro 20 Liberty Life Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 18:00
20 South Africa v West Indies ODI SuperSport Park, Centurion 10:00
25 South Africa v West Indies ODI Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town 14:30
27 South Africa v West Indies ODI Sahara Oval St George`s, Port Elizabeth 10:00

February 2008

1 South Africa v West Indies ODI Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, Durban 14:30
3 South Africa v West Indies ODI Liberty Life Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 10:00