Category Archives: Mark Boucher

Ashwell Prince Opening 3rd Test

It is always a mystery how cricket in South Africa has been run. Ashwell Prince has been a fighter in the SA team for years, after maturing into one of SA’s most consistent batsman since our re-admission to cricket. Prince lost his place to Duminy and quite rightfully didn’t get it back from him. However there was certainly a spot for him in place of Mackenzie, yet this never happened. Prince has been recalled to the test squad, not only to fill the openers role, but to captain the side. Strange how Prince was dropped form the side then re-instated as captain. Even stranger was the captaincy was taken away from him not many hours later. I hope Prince is a lot more intelligent than I am, as I couldn’t figure out quite how that happened!!!

 I recall the young Ashwell Prince, a man who was tempted by the hook and pull shot all too often. That young lad fell into the trap every time. Unsurprisingly Ashwell got the chop after chasing one too many early on in the innings and returned to provincial cricket to mature.

Prince returned to the international scene a far better player, a player who has steadied the shaky South African ship more often than he should have, which is how SA went unbeaten for 10 tests. The unfortunate injury cost him his place and the very fortunate Neil Mackenzie kept his place.

Prince will return to the SA test side as an opener next week, a position he would be unfamiliar with, however this week in the Supersport series, Ashwell has opened for the Warriors and has sent a warning to Australia, he is quite comfortable opening the batting. Prince is currently 171* at the close of play, I am sure his nerves were calmed down by the next great opening batsman for South Africa, Jon Jon Smuts who made 46 and let Prince steal the limelight.

The Warriors are a side to watch, Lopsy Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell play there as well as Prince, Kallis and Boucher. JT Smuts will be the next big name from the Warriors, perhaps after he has finished his studies at UPE, as Smuts is a fairly serious guy about things like academics.

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.

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?