The birth of a comedy blog!

17 08 2012

I’m delighted to introduce my new comedy cricket blog:

ICB will now house serious cricket articles whilst Cows Corner will be home to articles based on the lighter side of the game. I urge you to follow both!

I have also now joined the twitter revolution; please follow me @CowsCorner for an often-comedic but sometimes serious outlook on the game.


Kevin Pietersen – Winner or Whiner?

12 08 2012

KP – two letters that will start debates within the cricketing fraternity faster than you can send a derogatory text message. The most recent saga in a career riddled with them has dictated his removal from the 3rd test squad in an act of extreme strength (or retardation, depending on your viewpoint).

Kevin Pietersen in the nets at Adelaide Oval

“And most of all, they’ll miss my offies against Rudolph!”(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The immediate reaction from the online world has been mixed – some allowing their moral compass to overpower their desire for a full strength team whilst others are lamenting the ECB for retracting a key member of the batting line up in such a crucial Test. Darren Gough has labelled KP a “winner” and has put KP’s dismissal down to people “not liking winners.” Then again, its hardly plausible that KP’s best man would showcase any other stance on the matter.

The big question is: where to from here? Its not the first time the outspoken star has been in trouble with the top brass. You’d imagine his Test career is far from over; Kevin has already confirmed that he considers his international career still owning of a future. Its good to see KP keeping the return-door wide open and therefore shunning the stubborn tactics employed by fellow cricket bad boy Chris Gayle. One still feels, however, that it won’t end up as simple as Kevvy P being banned for a few matches, him returning to the squad and life continuing as normal. Where KP walks, drama ensues.

Will Pietersen request an official apology before he returns? Will he refuse a return at all? Will he ask for Graeme Swann to write him a sonnet in which Pietersen is referenced as the best personality in the team? The answer sits in the future.


Humble Pie and a Massive Mug of Cocoa

5 08 2012

Yesterday I posted on how South Africa seemed to have found a killer instinct needed to transform them from a good team to a world-beating one. It is with disappointment that I have to retract my statement of incredible naivety. The killer instinct I claimed us to have has proven to be a mirage of depressing proportions.

The Proteas were seated in firm control of the Second Test but it was, in fact, a South African that disseated them from their position of power. SA were dealt a lesson in quality batting from Kevin Pietersen (sorry, I couldn’t resist the SA reference) and it might well have done the effervescently glowing African powerhouse a world of good to be brought back to earth.

The result of this intriguing match seems headed towards the ‘draw’ category and it is such a shame that the opportunity for one team to take the match by the scruff of the neck is fading away.

In other news, New Zealand seem likely to be beaten by West Indies in what will be a massive disappointment for the former. I picked up this gem whilst surfing through cricket forums:

Feel free to leave comments below!

The Stranglehold Continues

4 08 2012

English: South African cricketer,Hashim Amla b...

Hashim Amla played a key role in a dominant 1st Test victory for SA.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

South Africa have managed to keep complete control of the series as of now – something slightly foreign to the Protea supporter.

South Africa are known as “chokers” but that tag is just the tip of the iceberg. Since its inception the team has been blessed with many highly-talented line-ups, but the talent has until now been tainted by poor mental strength. The famous Australian machine did not thrive as it did due to having a few stars such as Warne, McGrath and Ponting; they thrived due to every player in the line-up playing with a winning, dominant attitude. Sure, without the talent of the aforementioned the attitude would have been wasted, but without both components that great team would have just been a team.

South Africa, in contrast, struggled to dominate world cricket despite also having a wealth of quality players. For every Ponting there was a Kallis; for the McGrath/Warne duo there was Pollock/Donald. It’s fair to argue that the Australian team had more talent, but the gap between the two nation’s performances certainly outweighed the gap of talent.

It is therefore refreshing to note that South Africa are not only displaying an obvious new generation of talented cricketers (AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Graeme Smith are the obvious names), but also a previously unseen X factor present in past world no 1 teams. Now it would definitely be premature to declare SA the next no1 machine (ie the next 1980s WI or 2000s Australia) but they are displaying many signs that hint towards it being a firm possibility.

As a South African fan am I setting myself up for disappointment or am I beating down the right bush? Leave your opinion in the comments section!

Eng vs SA 2nd Test – Preview

2 08 2012

A dominant performance coupled with England’s tendency to bomb out at Headingley has seated SA in the pre-match opinion driving seat. If South Africa underestimate their esteemed opponents, however, it could result in a quick jolt back to earth.

South Africa crushed a frail and seemingly unmotivated England side in the first Test. My worries as a South African ahead of the first  test are yet to be vanquished, however. de Villiers was not heavily dumped with batting responsibility and his ability to juggle the two different types of gloves is yet to be determined. de Villiers is a vital cog in the SA batting line up and a weakened SA will not fair well against an England attack expected to bounce back with determination and the raw aggression of Finn.

My second worry is a bowling attack overreliant on Steyn and Philander. Despite claiming 4 wickets in the first Innings, Morne Morkel didn’t implement the fearsome bowling of which we know he’s capable. Tahir is still hit-and-miss, and Jacques Kallis can’t be expected to bowl heaps of overs at this stage of his career. If Steyn has an off-day, we suffer; this was evident on day 1. Morkel needs to step up to the plate and command fear from the English batsmen.

On the English side, Bopara has been culled with Lions captain James Taylor his replacement. He seems a fair choice what with his reliability – a trait England desperately need in their middle order alongside that of Matt Prior. Finn is expected to replace either Bresnan or Broad, and the affect this will have will be intriguing to gauge.

All in all, a wounded world no 1 Test team is never a nice prospect. England will be fighting against the odds given their lack of form heading into the match and their record at Headingley, but it will be a great test of their character. SA will be looking to develop a killer instinct needed if they hope to gain and maintain a world no 1 ranking. A more intriguing match will be hard to find.

The keeper conundrum – rekindled

14 07 2012

Albie Morkel at a training session at the Adel...

Hopefully Albie’s influence on the Test series will be limited to being a part of practice(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I posted an entry last year with regards to the South African keeping conundrum that is replacing Boucher. At the time the question involved another question within the question – should Boucher be dropped in the first place? No longer does this sub-question exist; now we need to find a solution and fast.

AB de Villiers is expected to take the gloves, but Thami Tsolekile will be in with a shout too. Tsolekile is deserving of the opportunity and in this blogger’s opinion is the best option at the moment. He looks a good shout to fill the gap while De Kock is groomed for the role in the long term. I’d love to hear (read) your opinion on the matter in the comments section.

Albie Morkel is the other late inclusion into the squad at the expense of an injured Marchant De Lange. Albie? He’s not done enough to keep his spot in the ODI team so why does he get a spot in the longer format (to which he is not suited)? His bowling has been proven ineffectual on the international scene and his batting is overrated. I’d much rather have seen someone who has been performing well domestically or for SA A getting an opportunity eg Kleinveldt or Abbot.


Still, he hopefully won’t have to play at all.

Morkel – A Raw Talent Second to None

4 07 2012

Morne Morkel at a training session at the Adel...

A man with unfulfilled potential (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Morne Morkel – a name that strikes fear into many an international batsmen. I don’t think the television viewer gets a full picture of just how scary a Morkel delivery is. A ball hurtling at you at 145kph+ is scary at the best of times, but when it is hurtling at your chest after bouncing off the pitch in a manner similar to a tennis ball it becomes a different proposition altogether.

Dale Steyn is famous for his brutal attack on Craig Cumming. Morne is yet to have such a moment, but he certainly will. In fact, he will probably have many. It seems a South African pace bowler phenomenon – Allan Donald had a similar experience with Mike Atherton. I hope that when Morkel has his moment of similar aggression- for it is not a question of if – it will rub off on him in a manner similar to how it did on Steyn. That moment changed Steyn – he was no longer just a technically amazing bowler who swung it at pace. He was a fast bowler, and a darn good one.

Morkel has the ability to be a fast bowler, and just as good a one as Steyn. Big call, I know, but I really believe it. He just needs to get his game to click into place – we’ve seen it happen sporadically, but not enough. Morne, the situation is simple: find consistency; find greatness.

SA vs England – a Test Series preview

4 07 2012

Its the biggie. South Africa take on England in a titanic battle between the two premier Test sides of the moment. I’m not sure if its possible for a cricket fan not to be excited!

The SA team are currently in Switzerland at a “bonding camp” after which they’ll arrive in Somerset for their first of two warm-up games. I don’t see why the team couldn’t bond around some more warm up cricket matches rather than chocolate factories but I guess I’ll have to suck it up. Imran Tahir was allowed to play for SA A so as to get some cricket (and hopefully confidence) under the belt. Fair call given his lack of consistency at the best of times.


SA Test Squad:
Graeme Smith (c)
Alviro Petersen
Hashim Amla
Jacques Kallis
AB de Villiers (vc)
JP Duminy
Jacques Rudolph
Mark Boucher (wk)
Vernon Philander
Dale Steyn
Morne Morkel
Lonwabo Tsotsobe
Marchant de Lange
Imran Tahir
Robin Peterson

Squads courtesy of Cricinfo

Key Matchups:

Steyn vs Cook

The world’s best Test bowler against the toughest opening batsman-shaped nut in Test Cricket should make for a tantalising duel. Vernon Philander has been the form pacer for the Proteas in their past few series but expect the quality of Dale to shine through in this series.

Anderson vs Smith

Jimmy has been nigh on unstoppable on home territory and will see Smith’s weakness against the swinging ball as a way to get England off to a good start each innings. However, Graeme is one tough nut and loves leading from the front – expect him to try to impose himself early.

Swann vs the SA middle order

South African teams are known to struggle against spin and this outfit is no exception. Rangana Herath was the only bowler that managed to strike genuine fear into the hearts of the SA batting line up when SL toured SA. The outspoken Swann will be eager to have a crack at the SA spin-facing frailties.


All in all, its going to be one heck of a series. I’ll be providing updates here so tune in!

I leave you with two questions:

1) What is your prediction for the Test series result?

2) Which player do you back to be player of the series?

ODI Tri-Series Preview: SA vs Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe

7 06 2012

South African cricket fans have been dealt a cruel lesson in patience over the past few months. The much-awaited South Africa vs England series has seemed to loom for years, yet it is still over a month until the first warm-up match will be played. In the interim Protea fans will have to make do with a far less appetising triangular series involving the two minnows of Test cricket – Zimbabwe and Bangladesh (although many stronger Test nations have been trying their best to out-minnow them recently).
I mean no disrespect to the two nations when I say that they are highly unlikely to prove a massive challenge for the Proteas. My biggest worry as a Protea fan is that our team will struggle to adjust to “the next level” when we reach England after getting used to maintaining a “first-gear” approach in the triangular. 
On the flip-side, this series will help the development of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh’s national teams immensly. The experience they will receive is experience they desperately need in their attempts to develop into “genuine” Test outfits. Bangladesh, in particular, have heaps of high-quality youngsters in major need of some high-quality Test opposition so that they can develop as cricketers.
Players to watch:

South Africa: I sincerely hope to see Colin Ingram  be given another opportunity to show his mettle. The stylish left-hander is a limited-overs genius and needs gametime in the green and gold in order to gain the confidence on which he thrives in the SA domestic scene.

Bangladesh: Batsman, Bowler, Leader – Shakib Al Hasan does it all. One team has not relied on one player the way Bangladesh do since Brian Lara retired from international cricket, and the Bangladeshi outfit will be looking to him to be the rock around which they build an attempt to upset South Africa. He’ll be keen to dominate the Zimbabwe batsmen and bowlers, too.
Zimbabwe: Lanky pace bowler Shingurai Masakadzashowed great promise when Zimbabwe last toured South Africa and he’ll be looking to continue this good run this series. He has good pace and hits the deck hard – good traits for a pace bowler to have. He has the potential to eclipse the likes of Henry Olonga in this writers humble opinion, and this series would be a good place to start.

So near, but yet so far

22 01 2012

South African cricketer Graeme Smith.

A quality innings from this man{Image via Wikipedia}

Sri Lanka pulled off a great escape that even Houdini would have placed on his “impressive” list.* They nearly pulled off what would have been an ironic choke against the masters of the trade, South Africa.

From a South African point of view, it was great to see Graeme Smith take a step back to devastating form. A century was well needed from a sheer ‘runs under belt’ aspect, but the way in which he was middling the ball put hope into me like no other innings of his has of late.

AB was his awesome ODI self and although I don’t rate him highly as a Test batsman, I feel that he is quite possibly the best ODI batsman in the world. His captaincy has so far proven to be top notch, and I completely admit that I was wrong in suspecting him of being anything less. His decision to give Robbie P the white ball for the final over was inspired (although I don’t feel that Robbie should have been in the team in the first place).

The Sri-Lankans must have batted well although I admittedly didn’t catch much of it due to another engagement. I saw the end, though, and the near-choke made me excited – had SA taken their tag by the scruff of the neck and thrown it into a den of Sri-Lankan lions? The answer was no – our biceps couldn’t quite handle the throw. The fact that we did as well as we did at the end is a positive, though.

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