No Vice Captain?

South Africa have still not appointed a vice-captain, hours before their first tour game gets underway against a Patron XI. The match is a 3 day warm-up game, and will be useful for some of the youngsters to get acclimatised to local conditions.

I am not sure what is going on in SA cricket but Smith has been very critical of the administration about how the younger players are leaving, which is ironic as it seems the SA squad is very difficult to break into. One wonders who will be the second in command a position which in the past was something special. For current SA players it seems a burden.

Some sensationalist journalism indicates that Smith isn’t sure who his vice-captain is as well as stating Loots Bosman and Van der Wath have broken ties with SA cricket. It remains to be seen if this becomes fact or is fiction.
 

South African Vice-Captain Crisis

The Test side to take on Pakistan was announced the other day (click here) and was missing a vice captain. I wrote to Michael Owen-Smith, the media officer for Cricket South Africa about this. He has always come across as a nice guy and sure enough he got back to me and indicated that a new vice-captain will be announced in the next few days.

It is good to see that there will be a new vice-captain appointed and it is difficult to speculate who it is. Ashwell Prince has captained the test side before and my money would be on him to take the vice-captaincy role however he has recently resigned as the president of the national players association regarding discussions that were leaked to the press. (click here) Prince stated ”I trusted people and that confidentiality has been broken. I was betrayed and used. I feel strongly that Saca had nothing to do with this. But the fact that it could have been a player, or players, made me realise that I cannot represent people whom I cannot trust. “ After making such statements, Prince might well turn down the honour of being vice-captain.

Owen-Smith indicated that there is likely to be a different ODI and Test captain, which further substantiates that it could be Prince as he hasn’t been part of the ODI setup aside from when he was selected for a few games against India and the World Cup. Thus there is a need for different vice-captains.

The ODI (and possibly test) vice-captain could well be Mark Boucher, although after he allegedly brought the game into disrepute the selectors might think twice before naming him as the vice-captain. That said, knowing Mark Boucher he would refuse to take up the role.

With many of the senior players seemingly unavailable for selection Pollock, Kallis who resigned and has refused to reconsider and Boucher, this certainly is going to be an interesting selection that will more than likely raise a few eyebrows, and add to the recent controversies that have happened apart from the Boucher and Kallis Saga

Reasons for SA Failing at Twenty20

There are various reasons that contributed to the downfall of the SA side in the Twenty20 championships. The make up of the squad is a very important aspect of this. Loots Bosman was injured just before the start of the championships and even though he expressed his desire to play the coach indicated he was unfit to play. He is now facing a disciplinary hearing after stating “I am sick of lies, I am very, very disappointed … Mickey tells too many lies.” His physiotherapist said he was fine to play yet CSA ruled him out, costing him R250 000 in lost earnings.

The replacement for Bosman would logically be another specialist batsman, however the selectors had a different idea and believed that another bowler would be the solution thus Andre Nel was selected in his place. This reduced the side of an opening batsman as the Coach Mickey Arthur indicated he had every intention of playing him in this role.

Jacques Kallis can have a good giggle to himself that is if he can stifle a smile about missing out on R250 000 of his salary for being a batsman that scores too slowly. Especially when a side requiring 126 cant even muster a run a ball in the Pro20 format when it counted. The only player to score more than a run a balls was Ntini, who looked a lot better out there than the man who effectively replaced Jacques Kallis – Johan van der Wath who made a single off 6 balls when there was still a chance of the total being reached.

The new selection panel have got off to a shocking start with egg on their faces after their decision to drop Kallis has backfired horribly. Without focusing on his batting ability Kallis has featured as a top international bowler for South Africa. In addition he has years of experience, something you can’t buy with your fish and chips.

The poor vision of the selectors is a worry. There is no reason why Kallis couldn’t have come in at 4 if there was a batting collapse like SA had and if they got off to a flyer he could have been pushed down the order.
The biggest question is what did the see Johan van der Wath doing that Kallis couldn’t have done?? Van der Wath is a good cricketer and deserved the chance to play international cricket but to take the place of Jacques Kallis in the squad seemed ridiculous at the time of selection and was proven in the series.

The captain of South Africa has transformed from a boy with high ambitions to succeed into a man who cant lead from the front. He is a great player but his bark has been worse than his bite for a long time now. The coach and captain seem to share a very close relationship to the point where a conflict of interest seems to be arising and will ultimately lead to an untenable relationship.
The time for a change in the setup of SA cricket is upon us…

SA eliminated from Twenty20 World Championships

South Africa have been embarrassed in the final group match of the inaugural Twenty20 championships. Eric Simons might have an ironic smile on his face as this defeat brings back memories of the heartbreaking 2003 exit.

After the 2003 debacle, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and Pat Symcox stood down as a selector. In this instance the stakes aren’t as high as this format of the game doesn’t hold as much weight in the eyes of cricketers and the fans in comparison to the other formats.

South Africa have only themselves to blame. At the interval there is no doubt in my mind that the coach and captain would have been aware of the minimum required to get to the semi-final. The all important figure was 126 off 120 balls, by no means a tough ask, yet if you watched the match you would have thought differently.

South Africa started off badly with the three specialist batsmen in the squad sent packing with twelve runs on the board. This brought the all rounders to rescue the game and at this stage it should be stressed that 126 would have been the victory target although it didn’t seem the case.

Boucher and Morkel rescued the side from a disgusting 31/5 to take them closer to qualifying before Boucher was dismissed. This left SA needing 26 runs off 20 balls and 4 wickets in hand to qualify. Whilst this isn’t the easiest task it certainly was obtainable yet they managed 16 runs, 4 of which were to Ntini the only batsman to score faster than a run a ball.

It was a pathetic display from the Proteas, who now are firmly in the driving seat as a nation of chokers in the important games. There is nothing more to say about this the guys weren’t good enough and it certainly isn’t in the talent department, SA have some of the most talented players in the world. The mindset is all wrong, and this needs to be addressed quickly. There is a saying that the rot starts from the top, is this true about SA cricket??