Tomorrow morning, at 9am sharp, or as sharp as one can be on a Saturday morning, I shall lead the might of the SAB Mark Boucher Rhino Foundation team as we seek to win the Momentum Cricket Sixes at Old Eds.
I have been chosen as captain, a decision made by the wise and |insightful Graeme Smith, the unsightly Doug Worth and the sighted Justin Kemp, in charge of a squad of media people.
Muscle memory. When all else fails, when there is despair running through your body, muscle memory will see you through. That’s what Garry Reed of the Cullinan Hotel told me before I rode the 106km of the Tsogo Sun Amashova from Pietermaritzburg to Durban yesterday. Muscle memory will see you right.
Typical. On the day the Dale Benkenstein announces he has decided to retire from all forms of cricket, bringing to an end a wonderful career by one of the quieter men in the sport, Kevin Pietersen brings out his book on cheese and the world forgets about the other South African in England.
Benkenstein has never been the loudest player. Quietly but strongly spoken, he was once being discussed as a possible future captain of South Africa. He may even have been in the same squad as Pietersen at so-me stage at Kingsmead, before the latter left for England furious at South African cricket. This week, in the maelstrom around the bullying, soul-sear-ching, soul-sucking big cheeses who have been outed in Pietersen’s new book, one small line almost went unnoticed.
The small, temporary hut at Carisbrook that housed the media shook during before the All Blacks played the Springboks on a cold August night in 2005. The “scarfies”, the students of Otago University, who were next to the media hut, were well fuelled and rocking. Then there was a confused hush. Tana Umaga was leading the haka and taking his time about it, but this was not Ka Mate.
As Umaga began the haka, a New Zealand Rugby Union media liaison ran around the hut, handing out releases. This was Kapa o Pango, the new haka that had been a year in the making. Umaga looked fit to rip his jersey apart. The Springboks looked on a little bemused. Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana, the latter scoring in his first Test against the All Blacks, were in that Bok team, as were Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger. Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu were the only survivors of that 2005 team to play on Saturday.
In “Mitch – The Real Story”, John Mitchell, who has been linked with the Sharks as the replacement for Jake White, says that he would never coach another team that was at its weakest with a dysfunctional administration. His two last teams, the Force and the Lions, were such.