Category Archives: South African selectors

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 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.

West Indies Win 1st Test

The West Indies won the first test by 128 runs, on the 4th day. It was an unexpected display, a fairytale win and their first test victory in 2.5 years. The West Indians dominated the game from the word go, the only time they looked to be in trouble was in their dismal second innings. The damage had been done in the first and the measly 175 left SA with too much to chase with a malfunctioning top order.

The South African selectors are going to have to ask some serious questions about their batsman. Gibbs didn’t get off the mark and has been struggling in the test arena for the past few seasons, whilst Smith hasn’t been much better. Gibbs averaged 45.6 in the 04/05 season, 15.1 in 05/06, 26.9 in 06/07 and 21.9 in the current 07/08 season. Smith made 39.2 in 04/05, 31.4 for 05/06, 32.8 in 06/07 and 33 for the current season. These figures aren’t pleasing especially when you consider “the rock” of the side Jacques Kallis has averaged 67 in 04/05, 38.2 in 05/06 44.1 06/07 and 121.7 for the current season.

The South African commentators have been talking about bringing Neil McKenzie back into the fray, which has some merit as he has been performing in the domestic competitions. Personally Morne van Wyk would be my answer, he is a classy player who can open the batting which is the biggest headache SA are facing. The current combination isn’t working and De Villiers struggled up the as well. He has had a good season in the middle order and it would be costly to meddle with his position.

To illustrate the problem in the top order, South Africa lost their first 4 wickets for a combined total of 108!! There are very few sides that would be happy being 4 down with only 108 on the board, in their first innings, yet SA were 63/4 and 45/4 in each innings. What is more frightening is that the last 4 wickets produced 93 runs just 15 less than the top-order!!!

The South African bowlers struggled in the first innings, especially Dale Steyn who lacked the rhythm he has had all season. Apart from this the West indies played fantastically, starting off with Gayle tearing the attack apart, followed by contribution from everyone and another excellent performance by Chanderpaul who had an incredible season, being denied in the second innings from scoring a 50 or more in every innings of the year. He managed 7 in a row, with one of them being in 2006. it is an incredible feat and without him, the Windies would still be searching for a Test win against decent opposition.

The second innings saw a worrying collapse for the Windies 6 wickets fell for 21 runs, before Taylor had a little cameo knock.

I genuinely believed it would be a question of how much the Windies would lose by not would they lose? It has certainly made the second test more appealing, South Africa will be looking to even the series, whilst the Windies would be feeling something many of the players haven’t felt before, a sense of pride, a knowing they are indeed good enough to compete.

Questions about Smith’s tenure are surely being asked, it was a huge error to allow the West Indies a first taste of the pitch, one which they savoured, taking the game away from SA by lunch on the second day. They followed this with a fine bowling display which was lacking in the series against England. The West Indies might be slightly undercooked on the batting front, however their firepower in the field can and has made up for this.

SA vs WI Day 3

South Africa managed to add 73 runs before being all out on 195, a score that allowed the West Indies to enforce the follow on. The second biggest captaincy error was made when Gayle decided the Windies would come out to bat for their second innings instead of enforcing the follow on. The end result is the Windies are 146/8 and have a 359 lead.

The question is can SA get it?? In the morning the Windies will not score more than 400, in all likelihood the will not get past a 380 lead. This leaves the question, who can score 380 odd on a docile pitch? Certainly the Australians could do it, as much as I hate to admit it the Australians would tear that score to pieces. Could the Indians do it? Pakistan? Even England?? The south Africans have a chance, but it would take a decent opening pairing, which Gibbs and Smith have been for years, it just seems that Smith is struggling at the crease, this needs to be followed by a typical Kallis century backed up by Amla, Prince and de Viliiers, not an easy task but if SA want to be the best they need to perform and tomorrow brings just that, an opportunity to perform, especially from a situation that looks desperate!!