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.

 

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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!





A New Leaf?

18 01 2012

The Proteas have been inconsistent against Sri Lanka recently, but there has been one major plus to come from this series – AB de Villiers keeping. His captaincy has been a minty breath of fresh air to a side that has long been stereotyped as “predictable” and “boring”.

I’ll admit, initially I was very disappointed with the election of AB over Hashim Amla. I felt that Hashim was a thinker whereas AB would just be a friendly face. However, he has been very inventive with his field-placings and bowling changes – something that has always been lacking in recent South African captains.

Faf du Plessis showed another trait that South Africans have been struggling with – a calm head in a pressure situation. South Africa are famous for throwing matches away, but Faf did quite the opposite when he took a bad start by the top order and turned it around. The eventual Duckworth Lewis victory can be attributed to his ugly yet clever batting. Add to this that South Africa took a strong Sri-Lankan batting start and pulled themselves back into the game makes me wonder: Have South Africa developed a gutsy edge to their armour?

Its too early to say, in my opinion, but one thing I can say is that this series has not been a waste of time. We have found a gem of a captain and a gutsy middle-order batsman – quite a good ‘easy series’ at the office!

Meanwhile, Pakistan look ahead in their match against England, but England won’t mind how today went. All of the English bowlers with the exception of Chris Tremlett got among the wickets which is always good to see at the beginning of a series.





Collapse

12 01 2012

A freak event occurred yesterday. Massive, in fact. Sri Lanka collapsed for just 43 runs, chasing South Africa’s total of 301. Words cannot describe the events that took place in that innings. Credit must go to the SA bowlers for bowling well, though. Lopsy looked like a new bowler, nipping the ball into the right handers and getting lots of bounce.

King Kallis displayed his tremendous class yet again before being run out. Hashim Amla was dominant as usual, and AB smashed the bowlers around the park with ease.

The Sri-Lankan bowlers, with the exception of Slinger Malinga, just put the ball on the pitch and hoped for the best. The batsmen… well there’s not much to say, is there?

Onwards to East London, then, where South Africa will hope to maintain their dominance. Sri Lanka will look to bounce back, and bounce back they should, if only for their fans.





The New Year Blues

31 12 2011

English: Chris Gayle on the field at the Telst...

Will the West Indies cope without this man?{Image via Wikipedia}

So its nearly New Years where I am. I’m sitting with a few friends who are on their phones, so I am doing the laptop equivalent. We’re so exciting, I know.

The upcoming cricketing year will be anything but boring, though. England will go into it holding the no 1 Test spot, but will an aging India manage to continue relying on top performances from their aging stars? Will South Africa get their act together and perform to their potential? Will Australia rediscover the famous “Aussie grit?” Will Pakistan manage a drama-free year? Will Sri Lanka build on their first win for 18 months? Will New Zealand’s young players continue to develop positively? Will the West Indies find stability in life after Chris Gayle? Will Bangladesh and Zimbabwe upset any stronger nations, and will they create solid platforms for the future?

Look out for a 9-piece series on my 2012 thoughts, previews and predictions for the top 8 Test nations and the Test minnows.

Happy New Year to all readers. What are your cricketing predictions for the upcoming year?





Indian Quick Pick

27 12 2011

India are to earmark a bunch of quick bowlers who will form the core of Indian pace bowling stocks, Marchant de Lange sends one downaccording to Cricinfo. According to BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, these bowlers will constantly be monitored.

Okay…tell me if I’m missing something, but isn’t this part of the selectors job anyway? I’d be concerned as an Indian fan if the cop cricket brass were sitting in a meeting when someone piped up: “Guys, I have an idea we should implement. Why don’t we keep an eye on the pacers with the most potential?”

In other cricket news, Thilan Samaraweera is boring South African and Sri Lankan cricket fans, batting at a strike rate under 40. If anyone is looking for an example to use when trying to explain what “contrast” means, tell them to watch the SA-SL test. Rangana Herath is flaying at everything in sight whereas Samaraweera wouldn’t swing at a 60’s disco club. Thank goodness he isn’t a baseball player! I do appreciate his style of play, though, as Sri Lanka need a solid, reliable batsman to anchor the innings.

As a South African cricket fan, I guess I should end this post with my opinion on Marchant de Lange. My initial thought was “injuries.” He twists his back in a most unnatural position, and according to one of the SABC commentators has already had back surgery. He gets nice bounce and inswing, but will need to be finetuned so that he has variation to his bowling. He will also need to develop his accuracy, but he could go far with the right mentoring.





Happy Christmas from ICB!

25 12 2011

I, eagerBrad, wish all readers a happy Christmas. In this crazy festive season, I urge all Sri Lankan batsmen not to drink and drive, as the SA bowlers will be thankful for the edges.








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