Category Archives: Justin Ontong

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!!!!

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.
 

SA Twenty20 Cricket Squad Announced

On Saturday the South African squad was announced for the upcoming Twenty20 Cup. There was the shock omission of Jaques Kallis, which can easily be justified if Strydom is sticking to his guns about not exposing all the senior players to this form of cricket. Bearing this in mind, there was no surprise that all the players currently playing for SA “A” in Zimbabwe were left out. This includes Nel, Hall, Langeveldt, Botha, Ontong, van Wyk and Prince (who will join the squad for the second game).

My predictions were slightly wrong as Kallis was replaced by Bodi allowing for Peterson to be dropped as the quota target was reached. Van der Wath replaced Peterson, which adds depth to a rather untested bowling attack apart from Pollock and Ntini. Personally I would have liked to have seen Steyn get the nod and still believe he is the most dangerous bowler we have.

As predicted the Morkel brothers were selected, and if South Africa want to shine, Morne Morkel in particular needs to deliver the goods. If his bowling is accurate, South Africa has a good chance to win the tournament. If there is any shortcoming in the South African line up it will be the in the bowling department, as South Africa have picked a squad full of all rounders instead of specialist bowlers.

The squad selected is a strong one, with a nice blend of youth and experience and will perform strongly in this tournament. The squad consists of: Graeme Smith (capt), Gulam Bodi, Loots Bosman, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Justin Kemp, Albie Morkel, Mornè Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Vernon Philander, Shaun Pollock, Thandi Tshabalala and Johan van der Wath.

Surprises in the SA “A” Squad

The South African A side has been selected a short tour to Zimbabwe for two 4 day matches. A perfect opportunity to blood the youngsters and see who is pushing for a place in the upcoming tour to Pakistan. Its not often South Africa can send a young side to the wrong side of the Limpopo river for some bonding and a more than likely confidence boost for thrashing the helpless Zimbabweans.

So many names rush to my mind as to which players are knocking on the door in the selectors eyes before seeing the side. Will they let Vernon Philander develop a bit more? Has Ontong been given another chance to play in the longer form of the game? Surely with only two four day games, the essence of the squad will be those brought in to help South Africa’s dismal recent performances in this arena. We have climbed the rankings as India and Pakistan fell, so without a game being played South Africa moved from 6th to tie 4th!!!

When I saw the side, it seemed like a veterans side, until I noticed Neil McKenzie wasn’t part of it. It turns out that he is already playing in the long version of the game for Somerset in the County Championship.  With all the wisdom gained from years of insightful choices our selectors decided to top previous questionable decisions by selecting a squad of players with more experience than the current Zimbabwe test line-up.

The only thing I can be thankful of is Lorgat hasn’t come up with another 5 foot under player like Paul Adams. Adams is still the best spinner we have had since re-admission and was fantastic but he had fallen into the pit of anonymity, not being seen as a regular for the Cobras then lo and behold he was recalled into the squad and co-incidentally brought about the resignation of Boje.

The squad selected already went through another moment of embarassment when there was however a late substitution with Friedel de Wet getting axed for Johan Botha, which is a huge shame and disappointment for the Lions player after being told he was selected.

Here is the SA A squad: Boeta Dippenaar (c), Yusuf Abdullah, Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Andrew Hall, Paul Harris, Imran Khan, Charl Langeveldt, André Nel, Justin Ontong, Alviro Petersen, Aswell Prince, Thami Tsolekile and Morné van Wyk.

There are a few things you can read from the squad selection. The players chosen are more than likely not going to play in the Pro20 world cup, thus the logical conclusion is Philander will play in the Pro20, Garnet Kruger is not considered part of the future plans nor is Roger Telemachus. Finally and painfully so, South Africa are not testing out any new captains nor coaches for the new future.

Its good to see the spinners selected, and to see some talented youngsters joining the battle hardened veterans. Peterson and van Wyk certainly deserve higher honours, and our middle order at test level needs serious re-wiring.

The first four-day game is on 9 to 12 August and the second from Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th August 2007.

South African Provisional Squad for Pro20 World Cup

The squad is as follows: Graeme Smith (Captain), Jacques Kallis (Vice-Captain), Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Gulam Bodi, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB De Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Paul Harris, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Morné Morkel, André Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Ontong, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Roger Telemachus, Alfonso Thomas, Thandi Tshabalala, Johan van der Wath, Morné van Wyk

Out of the 30 members of the provisional squad, half of them will fall away when the final squad is announced. There are few surprises in the squad, however Neil McKenzie returns to the international set-up, along with Hashim Amla. The only real surprise is the amount of spinners selected, especially when there are cries by the nation to develop a world class spinner, 4 have been selected in the form of: Botha, Harris, Peterson and Tshabalala.

Lance Kluener hasn’t been considered even though he would be considered as one of the most dangerous players in this form or cricket. Unless there is a change of captain, Klusener’s international career has ended.Vaughn van Jaarsveld has also been left out of the squad, even after a fantastic domestic season, reaffirming his decision to enter into a kolpak contract.

The tournament kicks off on the 11 September and the final is on the 24th of September.