Category Archives: SA selectors embarrassing

Black Batsman and All-Rounders not good Enough according to Majola

Gerald Majola has come out with a statement which might bring one to question his knowledge of provincial cricket. He said: “we have to understand that there are special positions. We need a balanced team, and that there are specialist positions. For instance, we are not blessed with a lot of black batsmen and all-rounders, but lots of black bowlers, and we have to take note of that. We have to start producing them.” (click here for the full article)

The Supersport Series, is the 4 day provincial format which is the only competition that can be compared to the upcoming test match series in India. If Majola had bothered to check the statistics for the series he might be surprised to learn that Henry Davids, scored the most runs for the season, continuing his rich vein of form from the end of last season. He managed 3 centuries and 5 scores above 50 taking him to 817 runs at an average of 48.05 and is the only player to get above 800 runs for the season.

There are 3 players of colour in the top 10 for the most runs scored, the other two being Imraan Khan and and Ahmed Amla (These days its hard to know who is a quota player and who is not – Luke Watson the stormers ex captain is black according to some click here for the story and picture of him)

If Majola wanted to pursue this a bit further and checked the statistics by average, again he would find a player of colour leading the way in the form of JP Duminy, with a massive 93.25 average. Davids is in the top ten here as well, with Vernon Philander 11th averaging 43.25

One would think that Prince, Hashim Amla, Gibbs, Duminy, Davids, Alviro Petersen and Loots Bosman would be disappointed to hear that there aren’t many black batsmen as all of these guys deserve to play at the very least in the SA A side (most of them have or have been selected)

On the All-rounder side, Philander averaged 43. 25 with the bat and 16.13  with the ball.  I am not sure what Majola sees in the transformation department but any player that averages above 35 with the bat and under 25 with the ball is going places, and a player averaging 43 with the bat and 16 with the ball should already be there!!!!

Langeveldt Pulls Out of SA tour to India

Charl Langeveldt has pulled out of the 3 test tour to India, which kicks off on the 26th of March. Langeveldt indicated that the controversy surrounding the team selection has upset him and he wont be in the right frame of mind.

It is now common knowledge that the South African touring side consisting of 14 players must have 6 players in order to be approved. Langeveldt has worked out that his selection is not based on anything else apart from race. He last played test cricket two years ago in Australia, which was just his 6th test. He averages 37 with the ball in tests and had a shocking display in this seasons Supersport Series (the 4 day domestic competition) averaging 43.45 with the ball!!!

Langeveldt was deservedly voted as one of the South African cricketers of the Year in 2007 and it takes only slightly more intellect than those that meddle with the team have to work out its not for his ability in the 5 day format.

Langeveldt has impressed in the ODI format, averaging 28.46 in 59 matches. He also contributed in the MTN domestic championship picking up 17 wickets at an average of 14.70. He also had an outstanding world cup and is an integral part of the ODI squad.  

Statistics don’t mean everything but they are a good way to gauge where Langeveldt’s speciality lies. In Bangladesh he picked up 2/32 and 3/31 before being rested for the last game.

My sympathy goes out to Langeveldt who knows he wasn’t the best player for the job and also understands the reason why he was picked. The politicians like the Ministry of sport Butana Komphela have no place in the game. (if you don’t know who he is – he is the person that wanted passports taken away from the Springboks for not meeting transformation standards – read more here) He came out to defend Arendse when the side from Bangladesh was rejected for not having enough transformation players and told the media that:

“We must build this country through unity and through sport, we have all seen how united this country becomes as soon as one national team wins. All of us, even the president (Thabo Mbeki), supported the Springboks when they won the World Cup.

“People asked me ‘why’ and I said ‘they might be white, probably by accident, but they are South Africans, it doesn’t make them lesser South Africans.’

He also went on to say “But our agenda is to tell them to transform and that is not going to stop. We are unapologetic about that because the truth is very simple: we all need to feel like we have a place in the national team.” (to read more of his statements click here and yes it gets worse)

As mentioned in another post why must 6 players of colour be taken when only 4 will play? Who will replace his spot? If policies are to be adhered to, one thing is for sure it wont be Andre Nel.

SA Squad for India

Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn.

The team has seen Andre Nel threaten to quit SA cricket (see more here) after being dropped for Charl Langeveldt. There is a lot more to it than his childish but understandable outburst about being dropped. He has been an integral part of the test setup this season edging out the legendary Shaun Pollock, no mean feat and something difficult to comprehend for the experts and casual followers. However if you saw him bowling against West Indies you will remember that he justified his inclusion in the side.

It is clear that the selectors who picked a squad of only FOUR players of colour for the Bangladesh tour (Peterson replaced Harris who was injured) when six was the target have now been instructed to pick a squad of six players of colour. Another clear message came from the 2nd test in Bangladesh where Botha had done nothing wrong to be dropped, yet he was dropped for Peterson which ensured the side had four players of colour.

I am still trying to figure out why there must be 6 players of colour in the squad if only 4 will play. In the current line-up which wont change much from the last few test the team has been made up of: Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn.

This means that either Charl Langeveldt, Robin Peterson, JP Duminy or Paul Harris (if fit) will make up the last spot. If Harris is chosen which is more than likely, the squad will have to adapt, with the possibility of Morkel making way for Langeveldt/Peterson or McKenzie dropped for Duminy.

Andre Nel has had a good tour of Bangladesh and clearly was not impressed by the omission. The bottom line is the selectors have put their heads together and believe that Morkel is a better bowler than Nel, and thus he is left out. For quota reasons Ntini wont be dropped (nor should he be for any reason)

If you had to say which player of colour would be the first one to be picked out of the ODI squad, most people would have gone with Herschelle Gibbs ahead of Langeveldt. This is a clear sign to Gibbs to get his act together if he wants a place in the team to England in June.

Peterson bowled himself into contention picking up  5-33 in the second innings of the second test. That said we now have two spinners who are left arm orthodox, instead of Botha who would add another dimension to the team.

It is the toughest challenge yet for SA in this season, facing an Indian side that could have easily won the Test series against Australia and ended off on a high note. It will take another monster effort from the worlds best bowler, certainly most destructive bowler Dale Steyn and a massive performance from the inexperienced Morkel to give SA a chance of completing a clean sweep of the season. With a fragile top order on the batting front, it will be a remarkable series victory.

The Cost of Transformation in SA Cricket

South African cricket always seems to be part of some controversy. At the moment there are rumours going around that Norman Arndse’s job is on the line. There is talk that a vote of no confidence will be given against him tomorrow. The SA team manager and Vice president of CSA has flown back for an emergency meeting to be held tomorrow. 

Arendse vetoed the squad sent to Bangladesh 3 times before Majola stamped his approval on the same squad. The government has come out and backed Arendse indicating that there should be more black players in the squad. Some would say that is fair enough there are only 4 out of 14 BUT what is the point of taking 6 players of colour when only 3 are going to play? Yes there is exposure to the international arena but surely it is better to stay behind and participate in the local league keeping match fit?
 
The only player that was unlucky to be left out was Monde Zondeki, he had a fantastic season and is really pushing for a place in the national side. He is developing and maturing as a fast bowler and should really have been picked and possibly been chosen before Ntini. However that said SA would then had 3 inexperienced youngsters opening the attack. Zondeki wouldn’t be able to replace Steyn who is now the second best bowler in the world nor Morkel who is not only developing in to a great bowler but also as an all-rounder.
  
What is sad to see if the governments point of view, the whole article can be accessed here. These are chilling extracts from Komphela who chairs the Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s Portfolio Committee. Whilst  commenting on the criticism received by Arendse he said it is “an attack on transformation in cricket”.

He also went on to say: “We must build this country through unity and through sport, we have all seen how united this country becomes as soon as one national team wins. All of us, even the president (Thabo Mbeki), supported the Springboks when they won the World Cup. People asked me ‘why’ and I said ‘they might be white, probably by accident, but they are South Africans, it doesn’t make them lesser South Africans.’
 
“But our agenda is to tell them to transform and that is not going to stop. We are unapologetic about that because the truth is very simple: we all need to feel like we have a place in the national team.”

“We are committed to having a free and fair South Africa without fear – we don’t want to create a Kenya or a Zimbabwe here – but there is a section of the community that pushes us to the limit and tries to make us regret what Nelson Mandela has done for this country, and we don’t want to regret that,” said Komphela.

“We are pleading with them not to push us that far. People say sport should not be political. Sport has always been political in South Africa, it has been used as a guillotine for black people. Now we want sport to unite people and not be what it was before.”

It will be an interesting day tomorrow, to see whether Arendse can survive the chop after appealing to the government. At the end of the day the side is one that is becoming more racially balanced but is at the moment built on merit. Every player deserves to be there, regardless of colour and there is no doubt the JP Duminy and Zondeki will soon stake their places in the team.

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.