Category Archives: Graeme Smith

Sri Lanka thrash England – SA to top the rankings?

Despite a heroic final innings total of 264, England were bambooooozellled by Herath who spun a web around the English taking 6 for 97 in 38 overs. A fine effort by the boy who seems to be following in the twinkling footsteps of the great Murali.

An outstanding effort by South African born Jonathan Trott who managed 112, a fine effort by the man who is one of many England players who learnt his trade in South Africa but like so many other rejects, couldn’t make the cut and barge his way into a very strong Proteas squasd, and so opted to join the SA ‘B’ side, which has a few locals in it to make up the ‘quota’ of English born players to make sure they can technically call it the English cricket team.

England are on a slippery slide after getting dominated by Pakistan (who also spun a massive web around the English batting line-up) and now losing to Sri Lanka, are set to lose their number 1 test ranking to South Africa in a few weeks, with South Africa on a very good run of form, comprehensively beating New Zealand away from home in the recent test, one day and T20 series.

South Africa are looking forward to the upcoming test match series in England, with test match captain Graeme Smith quoted as saying “It will be nice to see some of the boys again. Its almost like playing a domestic match back in SA, so our boys will feel right at home, its the only place where we go on tour and cant speak about on-field tactics in Afrikaans.”

Just a reminder, if England lose the next test match against Sri Lanka, they will slip to 2nd place in the world rankings, with South Africa, who are on a great run of form, taking their rightful place at the top of the world rankings and we can finally have a team there who is actually winning.

SA Contracted Cricketers

Cricket South Africa have released their contracted platyers for the coming year, a big congratulations to Lonwabo Tsotsobe a thoroughly deserved inclusion. Those who have fallen out of favour include Andre Nel, Monde Zondeki and Robin Peterson.

The focus is on the Australians and kicks off on Thursday for the first test.

Contracted players: (from May 2009 to April 2010) Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

IPL Squads and previews – Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League (IPL) starts today after the opening ceremony that is expected to be amazing. This is by far the biggest event organised and should bring a new edge to the way cricket is perceived by the world. It would be crazy to think the bowlers will have any assistance with the pitches, the focus of the series will be as many runs as possible. The sides with mediocre bowling attacks will be slaughtered, the spinners will pick up most of the wickets from good balls or bad shots by the batsman, and will also be heavily targeted.

There are eight different sides and below is a brief review of each team.

Bangalore Royal Challengers

The second most expensive in the IPL, coached by Venkatesh Prasad has acquired 3 South Africans, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Mark Boucher. They have picked a squad full of devastating bowlers, Steyn, Khan, Kumble and Bracken are where their fortunes will lie. Good performances here and they will be a handful.

Squad: Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Jacques Kallis, Zaheer Khan, Cameron White, Wasim Jaffer, Dale Steyn, Nathan Bracken, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Boucher, Misbah-ul-Haq, Ross Taylor, Abdur Razzak, KP Appanna, Balachandra Akhil, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Bharat Chipli, Shreevats Goswami, Sunil Joshi, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Devraj Patil, Vinay Kumar.
Chennai Super Kings

Coached by Kepler Wessels, the side has some great entertainers in the form of Dhoni, Hayden, Oram and Morkel should have the crowds going. Their bowling line-up looks a little weak, but Muralitharan could be a handful.

Squad: MS Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Stephen Fleming, Mike Hussey, Jacob Oram, Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, Albie Morkel, Joginder Sharma, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, Shadab Jakati, Napoleon Einstein, Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, R Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha, Viraj Vilas Kadbe, Palani Amarnath, Manpreet Gony.

Kings XI Punjab

Tom moody is the coach. The side is full on India’s stars, but have the pace of Brett Lee and the experience of Simon Katich. The side should get a lot of supporters.

Squad: Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, James Hopes, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Kyle Mills, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ajitesh Argal, Piyush Chawla, Pankaj Dharmani, Rishi Dhawan, Karan Goel, Uday Kaul, Sahil Kukreja, Wilkin Mota, Nitin Saini, Vikram Singh, Sunny Sohal, Tanmay Srivastava

Deccan Chargers

Robin Singh is the coach. Possibly the most explosive batting side, with Symonds, Afridi, Gilchrist and Gibbs in the side they can beat any side if the batters fire. The bowling side is looking a bit light, but should be strong contenders for the title.

Squad: VVS Laxman, Sanjay Bangar, Halhadar Das, Herschelle Gibbs, Adam Gilchrist, Doddapaneni Kalyankrishna, Pragyan Ojha, Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Sarvesh Kumar, Shahid Afridi, Rohit Sharma, Chamara Silva, RP Singh, Scott Styris, Andrew Symonds, Chaminda Vaas, Venugopal Rao, Paidikalva Vijaykumar, Arjun Yadav, Nuwan Zoysa.

Rajasthan Royals

Coached and captained by Shane Warne. The cheapest purchase out of all the teams costing $67 million, has picked up some great players in the form of Sohail Tanvir and Morne Morkel. Both players can hit some big shots and will be vital at the end of the innings. Certainly a side that can surprise with Warne in charge. When Graeme Smith joins the side he could improve their chances.

Squad: Shane Warne, Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal, Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Darren Lehmann, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Mahesh Rawat, Anup Revandkar, Dinesh Salunke, Jaydev Shah, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Younis Khan.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Coached by John Buchanan who has had great success with the Australian national side. More exciting players – with a very aggressive top order, but looks like they are lacking in quality players when the international commitments rob them of their star players.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly, Ishant Sharma, Murali Kartik, Ajit Agarkar, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, David Hussey, Brendon McCullum, Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt, Umar Gul, Tatenda Taibu, Laxmi Shukla, Saurasish Lahiri, Siddarth Kaul, Iqbal Abdulla, Wriddhiman Prasanta Saha, Rohan Banerjee, Yashpal Singh, Aakash Chopra, Debabrata Das, Cheteshwar Pujara.

Mumbai Indians

Coached by Lalchand Rajput. The most expensive side in the competition, bought for $111.9 million. They have players that will attract fans and certainly one of the strongest sides on paper.

Squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Loots Bosman, Ankeet Chavan, Siddharth Chitnis, Gaurav Dhiman, Dilhara Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Musavir Khote, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Rajesh Pawar, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi, Pinal Shah, Swapnil Singh, Yogesh Vijay Takawale, Dominic Thornely, Saurabh Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Vikrant Yeligati.

Delhi Daredevils

Coached by Greg Shipperd. Glenn McGrath should be a good acquisition and the amount of all rounders could prove interesting

Squad: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Mohammad Asif, Daniel Vettori, Dinesh Karthik, Shoaib Malik, Glenn McGrath, AB de Villiers, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Rajat Bhatia, Shikhar Dhawan, Brett Geeves, Yo Mahesh, Mithun Manhas, Pradeep Sangwan, Mayank Tehlan.

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.

Bangladesh vs South Africa 1st ODI: Bangladesh Battered

Bangladesh have again been battered in the ODI format losing by nine wickets to an under strength South African outfit. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat first, posting a meagre total of 178. The only decent score was made by Tamim Iqbal, who made 82 his top score to date. Iqbal is still a teenager and this being his fourth half-century in 22 ODI starts, hopefully he can bring some composure to this side.

The South African bowlers all got in on the action, Nel picking up 3/24 in 10, Langeveldt, Harris and Albie Morkel each getting two wickets. Botha managed one wicket and was the most expensive bowler conceding 43 in ten overs.

Smith added to his improving form by getting 103* a good sign for South Africa who face India after the Bangladesh leg of their tour. Gibbs is also finding some form as he made 57 in uncharacteristically slow fashion. That said, Herschelle knows that he is playing for his place and the mediocrity shown more often than not in the last two years is now catching up with him. Especially after Neil McKenzie managed a double century in the test series. (Click here for match report)

It is difficult to remember why Bangladesh are in the first tier, and when looking at their track record of 36 wins in 167 games one might point out that their winning average is just over 20%. This may be correct, however when you scratch the surface and see whom the victories are against there is little ground supporting top teams playing against them.

Of the 36 victories 15 are against Zimbabwe, (they have lost 18) and 8 against Kenya (lost 6). It is easier to indicate whom they have beaten. They have won 1/13 against Australia, 2/17 against India, 1/18 against Pakistan and 1/10 playing South Africa. They have never beaten England, New Zealand or West Indies.

It might be harsh to say Bangladesh are a waste of time, the side is a developing one. One has to wonder how long they will take to develop. There are some promising players in their line-up however, when you look at the current sides’ batting averages (CLICK HERE) and only two players average over 30 it seems that the development stage is still in its infancy. 

On the bowling front things seem slightly better. There are four bowlers with averages below 30. (Click here)  This is encouraging for the Tigers, and hopefully if they can develop their batting they will be a side that is worth paying some attention to. They are exciting when they get going, some incredible shots and skill comes out, but with any young side, these high risk and possible high reward shots come out too often and lead to their downfall.