Category Archives: Andrew Hall

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.

Players to watch in the Twenty20 Championships

Australia
Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist. Symonds can win matches in this format, he is a brutal hitter which can swing the game into Australia’s favour and is my key man for an Australia assault.

England

Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright. Luke has had a fantastic time in the English county season and has the ability to murder an attack. The legendary Kevin Pieterson will be looking to prove a point to his old country and should be their top run scorer. Prior also needs to fire at the top for them to post something remotely defendable with their limited bowling attack.

India

 Dhoni and Singh. India will hope Dhoni can blast the various attacks all over the place while Singh could enjoy this format of the game. India has a great all round side and are always a threat.

New Zealand

Bond and Styris: Bond can ruin the top order on his day and they have various batting options but performances from McCullum McMillan and Styris will be vital

Pakistan

No surprises in this line up who the star could be. Afridi has proven to the world many times that he can rip up an attack as well as perform admirably with the ball. A dark horse in this tournament and could easily end up victorious in the inaugural event.

South Africa

The Morkel brothers. SA has picked a side full of all rounders. Captain Smith is the leading Twenty 20 run scorer, De villiers is an incredible talent and Philander showed he is class in the emerging players tournament. However my pick for SA are the Morkels. Albie Morkel can be termed a forgotten man of SA cricket yet he is more lethal than Hall, with the bat and certainly no stranger to bowling at the death. A few years ago he starred for SA “A” against New Zealand “A” in SA. Morne Morkel is going to be vital to the SA bowling attack. With the best bowler SA has in the form of Dale Steyn sitting on the sidelines – SA need to ensure that if Pollock and Ntini get knocked around there is adequate support and Morkel is the key man here. If SA win one of the Morkels will have a huge part to play.

Sri Lanka

Sanath Jayasuriya and Malinga. Jayasuriya is as deadly as ever and Malinga can be the weapon in the bowling department with his unnatural bowling style. A team to watch as they can beat anyone on their day.

West Indies

Gayle and Smith: and co can chase down big totals but it will be up to the bowlers to try defend their scores. I don’t think they have the bowlers to offer much threat in this tournament.

SA Cricket Current Controversies

Jacques Kallis has refused to reconsider being the South African vice-captain, however he has committed himself to South African cricket in the future.

Andrew Hall has indicated that he is not interested in playing cricket for South Africa again and there is a strong possibility he will join the new Indian Cricket League (ICL) along with Boje and Klusener.

Loots Bosman has hit out at the national coach, Mickey Arthur calling him a liar and questioning his decision to drop him from the squad. Bosman stated  “”I am tired of the lying, I am fine, ask my physiotherapist in Bloemfontein who treated me last week. I am very, very, disappointed. Mickey tells too many lies.” According to the Beeld newspaper.

 Andre Nel has been selected for the 20/20 competition after SA lose a specialist batsman

Ryan Mclaren seems keen to sign up to play for England along with Vaughn van Jaarsveld while Garnet Kruger has turned his back on SA cricket accusing them of not picking players of colour in the side after selecting them for the squad – this might well be shown again in the Pro20 matches

These are just a few of the problems in South African cricket at the moment

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.