Category Archives: Neil McKenzie

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 Auction

The fixtures have yet to be announced, however the auction kicks off on the 6th of February, with 111 players up for auction. Each franchise has a maximum of US$2m to spend on their overseas signings in the auction, it is likely that only about 16 players – or two per franchise – will be chosen out of the 111. Kevin Pietersen has a base price of 1.35 million and the experts reckon he will be worth more than the 1.5 million paid for Dhoni.

Modi said the demand for England’s top stars would be high. “If you look at the base price it’s close to US$250,000 and US$350,000 a week for each week he [Pietersen] plays, which is comparable to the top soccer players around the world,” he told Setanta Sports News. “Andrew Flintoff has a minimum base price of US$950,000, but he’ll probably go for a higher figure. It’ll be quite competitive. All the teams can afford it. Everyone’s trying to get England’s top players in their team.”

List of players for second auction

Australia: Brad Haddin, Michael Clarke, Nathan Hauritz, Stuart Clark, Brad Hogg, Beau Casson, Mark Cameron, Peter Forrest, Lee Carseldine, Doug Bollinger, Michael Dighton, Jason Krejza, Nathan Reardon, Chris Hartley, Shaun Tait, Ashley Noffke, Bryce McGain, George Bailey, Travis Birt, Michael Hill, Chris Swan, Michael Klinger, Ben Edmondson, Aiden Blizzard, Mark Cosgrove, Adam Voges, Shane Harwood

England: Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Ravi Bopara, Monty Panesar, Robert Key, James Foster, Sajid Mahmood, Matt Prior, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah, Darren Gough, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, James Anderson, Ed Joyce, Dominic Cork

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mehrab Hossain jnr, Rajin Saleh, Ziaur Rehman, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Raqibul Hasan, Nadif Chowdhury

New Zealand: Mark Gillespie, Tim Southee, Jesse Ryder, Jeetan Patel, Kyle Mills, Chris Martin, Jamie How, Peter Fulton, James Franklin

Pakistan: Asim Kamal, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Hameed, Danish Kaneria, Yasir Arafat

South Africa: Gulam Bodi, Rory Kleinveldt, Charl Langeveldt, Ashwell Prince, JP Duminy, Martin van Jaarsveld, Roelof van der Merwe, Andre Nel, Neil McKenzie, Yusuf Abdullah, Paul Harris, Johan Botha, Morne van Wyk, Tyron Henderson

Sri Lanka: Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Mahela Udawatte, Dammika Prasad, Thilina Kandamby, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Jehan Mubarak, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Malinga Bandara, Malinda Warnapura, Michael Vandort, Prasanna Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Jeevantha Kulatunga

West Indies: Sylvester Joseph, Darren Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Fidel Edwards, Dwayne Smith, Kemar Roach

Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda

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.

SA vs Bangladesh 2nd Test: Records are Tumbling

South Africa’s second test has brought on all sorts of records. The first day saw 400 scored by the openers a new record for a one day unbroken opening partnership, which ended at 415 on the second day, which is the highest ever opening partnership. McKenzie scored his first double hundred in any form of the game ending on 226. On the bowling front, Ntini passed Allan Donald’s haul of 330 wickets and is now only behind Pollock the top wicket-taker for South Africa managing 421 in 108 matches.

Dale Steyn has been described as a weapon of mass destruction by Ntini and after picking up his 100th wicket in his 20th test it is difficult to disagree with Ntini’s statement, especially when you consider he has taken more than half his wickets in the last seven tests (this test isn’t finished yet  either!!) To see the records for the players  who have achieved 100 test wickets the fastest click here or here.

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?