Cape Town - What a start to the domestic cricket summer we’ve had over the past weekend!
After a winter where cricket dominated the front pages - once again - due to the ongoing ego tussle and handbag slapping between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over India’s tour fixtures and CSA’s new quota policy relating to black Africans, it was a grand sight to see some contests between willow and leather out on the lush green ovals of our country once again.
The action across all three 1-Day Cup matches was certainly compelling to keep both the spectators that attended the matches and TV audiences royally entertained.
The healthy Centurion crowd - who stayed on despite a customary highveld thunderstorm interlude - should also be commended for the vibe they created at SuperSport Park on Friday night.
Speak to any sportsman or woman and they will tell you their game is raised automatically by at least 10% when there’s a good atmosphere in the arena/stadium, and the Cape Cobras players certainly revelled in putting on a show.
The overall quality of the cricket, especially in relation to the batsmen across all three games, was not of the highest standard. There was a distinct lack of responsibility, with almost the accepted wisdom that somebody else would score the runs, while the understanding of individual roles was almost non-existent.
However, saying that, it was the first round of fixtures and batsmen traditionally take longer to ease into the season than bowlers. It’s all about getting the feet moving again, the head into position, assessing the pace of early-season pitches, and while nets are useful, it simply does not compare to actual gametime in the middle.
The other exciting aspect of the weekend’s cricket was that it breathed early life into the 50-overs competition. The tournament sponsors have invested a great deal not only into this series but also into the development of the game across many diverse formats (especially women’s cricket where it was much-needed) and to see such promising signs in their premier product should certainly be encouraging.
I have been a harsh critic of 50-overs cricket in the past. For me, it is an outdated concept that sits alongside CD players, desktop computers and car phones. It was cool and nifty when it first arrived on the scene, but like any eight-year-old will now tell you “Get wiff it”.
The saving grace for “50-50” is the World Cup in less than 16 months’ time. And for South Africans, it remains the holy grail due to the Proteas’ deeply disappointing exits over the past 21 years.
So, like it or not, this automatically places massive importance on the 1-Day Cup. It appears that players on the domestic circuit have certainly taken cognisance of this fact as there has certainly been an increase in the intensity levels compared to previous seasons.
Cricketer of the week:
There were some outstanding bowling performances, especially Wayne Parnell’s 6/51, but JP Duminy’s quote on Hashim Amla’s 20th Test ton summed it up for me: “I saw a stat on TV today that he is about 30 Tests behind Gary Kirsten and only one Test ton separating them, that says a lot.”
Tweet of the Week:
@BumbleCricket (Former England coach David “Bumble” Lloyd): @Aggerscricket: Confirmed that Tendulkar’s last Test will be in Mumbai (could it have been anywhere else?)” Fancy a bowl......????