Grant Mokoena of the Knights during the CSA 4-Day 2020/21 match between Imperial Lions and Knights at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on the 23 November 2020. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Grant Mokoena of the Knights during the CSA 4-Day 2020/21 match between Imperial Lions and Knights at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on the 23 November 2020. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Streaming cricket can be a vital boost for the first class game in SA

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Nov 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - In recognising colleague Brett Proctor turning 60, Jeremy Fredericks reckoned some ‘libation’ was in order after play at the Wanderers on Monday.

The Lions and Knights had been at it for less than half an hour, and already an end of day libation was on the agenda.

Welcome to cricket streamed, a novelty in South Africa, and a much-needed boost for the domestic game - particularly the first class competition which has become a forgotten entity in South African cricket.

There’ll be thousands of arguments about why a player got picked for the Proteas Test team, but outside of accessing scorecards on-line, no one could really speak with any authority about why some bloke only those in cricket circles knew got picked. Having the Four-Day Series available for viewing will change that.

It is critical for CSA and South African cricket and the fact it’s taken so long to get it going doesn’t reflect well on anyone. But it’s here now and to SuperSport’s credit - which is showing the match at the Wanderers via the DStv Now app (on channel 245) - their production was largely good. There was the odd glitch - breaks in the broadcast, which given the country’s problems with connectivity are understandable.

Tladi Bokako of the Lions celebrates the LBW wicket of Shaun von Berg of the Knights during the CSA 4-Day 2020/21 match between Imperial Lions and Knights at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg on the 23 November 2020. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

From the broadcast point of view, there was more available than just bog standard camera angles - behind the bowler at both ends and square on, on both sides - there were lower angles, and replays for boundaries and wickets.

Proctor did bemoan the absence of wagon wheels at one point in the afternoon as it would have illustrated how poorly the Lions bowlers had controlled their lines. Maybe that will become available at a later stage.

More importantly both Cricket SA and SuperSport must start to look at putting key moments on their social media platforms. Tladi Bokako’s ball that nipped back and clean bowled Raynard van Tonder - one of the young, up-and-coming and in-form players at the start of the season - was a peach and would have been shared widely, as would Sisanda Magala’s delivery to Farhaan Behardien, that straightened off the surface and banged into the top of off-stump.

The NFL and NBA in the United States are very good at quickly getting clips of spectacular moments from their games onto social media platforms minutes after they’ve occured. If CSA and SuperSport could do something similar it would add to the interest for the four-day competition.

Domestic first class cricket needs that kind of assistance, it needs custodians to help it grow. Monday was an important step for domestic cricket, particularly the four-day competition which has been hidden from view in South Africa for far too long.

@shockerhess

@IOLSport

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