A news item to savour


Hello, what's this? At the top of the inbox, fresh in, is an item whose subject field reads 'South Africa's legspin prodigy'.

Prodigy can mean anything from 'phenomenon' to 'genius', and when it is used alongside the word 'legspin' a fellow can get quite excited. For those of you who may have forgotten, legspin is what Shane Warne bowled. You get the drift.

One therefore accesses this particular email with trembling fingers. It is a very interesting item and reminds us furthermore that international cricket is taking place in South Africa right now. Most of you have been watching cricket in India but there's a whole lot of action going on here at home. It is just not being televised.

That's the problem with women's cricket. It hasn't yet cracked a big enough audience in South Africa to make it financially viable on the television screen.

That's a pity because it would have been good to watch Dane van Niekerk in action on Sunday but you had to be in Cape Town to do so and I happened to be in Joburg.

Dane is South Africa's legspin prodigy. She is a shade over 16 years old and she can bowl the leg break, the wrong 'un and the flipper. That's probably more than Shane Warne could do at a similar age.

In a runaway seven-wicket victory over the West Indies yesterday, she took three wickets for 25 runs in 10 overs. That's as economical as you can get, particularly since legspinners are often quite expensive.

"I am still quite young so people might not take me that seriously," she says, "so I just want to enjoy my cricket."

Considering that her three victims were all specialist batters, chances are good that she will be taken seriously as this four-match ODI series continues ahead of two T20 Internationals.

Unfortunately, if you're not in the Western Cape, you won't see any of this. All the matches are either played in Cape Town or Paarl. More's the pity for someone like Dane van Niekerk who represents Northerns and would therefore be much in demand at Centurion.

Still, that chance will no doubt come for a young lady who made her international debut seven months ago in the ICC Women's World Cup in Australia - more than a month before her 16th birthday.


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