at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Or is it eGoli, Jozi, Joburg, or Joeys? But whichever name you like to be called by, I am speaking to you ... yes you! What is it about you that you have no respect for the values of Test cricket?
For all the hype and razzmatazz about Twenty20, Test cricket remains the purest form of our great game. And your Proteas are the best in the world at it! The undisputed heavyweight champions of the world (yes, you should read it like that charismatic Las Vegas boxing ring announcer). Graeme Smith’s side is the No 1 Test unit. No questions, no objections.
A group of players we are likely to see only once in our lifetimes. South Africans were not afforded the opportunity of watching greats like Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock, Basil D’Oliveira, Dickie Conrad and Dik Abed in the prime of their careers on the international stage due to the political situation in our country.
But almost in Mother Cricket’s unique way, it has given us a second chance. A chance to see future legends – if they are not already – like Dale Steyn, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander playing together in one team. It is a unique opportunity to see these superstars going about their business at the peak of their powers.
Yet, for some reason, this can still not be appreciated by you up on the Highveld. You had extra motivation to come out in your thousands over the weekend.
One of your very own, Graeme Craig Smith, educated at one of your finest institutions, King Edward High School (KES), was celebrating his 100th Test as captain.
Cricket South Africa extended their marketing budget like never before, with the help of Smith’s private sponsors, to create a memorable occasion. Yet you failed to pitch up at what should have been the biggest party of the year.
Even when Steyn produced the best spell of fast bowling – 6/8 in eight breathtaking overs – to demolish Pakistan for just 49, you still failed to get into your German automobiles, the Gautrain or taxis to make your way to the Wanderers to acknowledge greatness.
Surely, you still cannot be angry with Smith for leaving your concrete jungle for the beauty of the mountain, sea and other many Cape Town pleasures when he was just 19 years old all those years ago?
Here in the Cape, we value “Biff” and we value Test cricket. And in return, he values us. It is not without reason that he has branded the New Year Newlands Test the “marquee Test” of the Proteas’ home calendar.
The Wanderers is South Africa’s premier cricket venue in terms of capacity. Around the corner from Corlett Drive is Cricket South Africa’s HQ too. Perhaps you have become disillusioned with all the shenanigans that have gone on up there over the last 18 months.
If so, that is even more reason to come out and celebrate our Proteas heroes, for what they have achieved against the backdrop of all the administrative bumbling is nothing short of phenomenal.
Yours in cricket,
TWEET OF THE WEEK
@Stuart Broad8 (England’s T20 captain): Was also good fun to pick up my 2nd hat trick in an England shirt. Test match one held in higher regard it didn’t have a caught long on in!!
WHO TO FOLLOW
@Tipo_Morris (Highveld Lions fast bowler Chris Morris): Check up on how South Africa’s latest IPL recruit is going to spend the $650 000 he was bought for by the Chennai Super Kings.
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