Probably what the English selectors mumbled to each other when choosing their side for the crucial third test against South Africa this weekend. Kevin Pietersen is A Problem Ou Pêl, or words to that effect in the Queen’s English.

Bobby discusses this in the following article, while I spend a moment or two on the Olympics.

The rugby I will leave to our discerning readers this week as I was unfortunately on a totally undeserved break, building up my reserves in anticipation of the international games awaiting us.

Feeding on their own
By Bobby Londt

The final onslaught to capture the much desired number 1 spot is almost upon us. A win or a draw at the home of cricket, Lords, will lay claim to the much anticipated and underlying prize of this series.

As tours go, I would think this has been one of the easier series for Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten to deal with from a media perspective.  Don’t discount the possibility of some clever PR and communications strategies to allow them to stay under the radar – perhaps that is the conspiracy theorist in me talking but more about that later.

With help from the English Cricket Board (ECB) the often tough and unforgiving England press has had plenty to write about in their own camp without bothering the tourists much.  The Kevin Pietersen saga continues. The selectors left him out of the final test due to SMS allegations – it was nothing naughty like Shane Warne’s messages, but KP is rumoured to have texted some of his Proteas  friends (Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers) during the last test, expressing his frustrations with Strauss and Flower. The ECB  released a statement which included the following:

“The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust. Whilst we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected we have sadly had to conclude that, in the best interest of the team, he will miss the Lord’s Test.”

Now KP has definitely contributed to his own demise but I can’t help thinking that the supposed “adult” in this relationship has failed equally, if not more, by not dealing with the whole episode more professionally.  The ECB who places such high value on trust and team unity has cast their naughty boy aside by publicly embarrassing him, this after his heroics in the last match at Headingley.

The ECB, caught up in their perceived importance, fell short of their own standards. They failed to discipline KP within an environment they lay claim to be the foundation of their success. A vital ingredient of a successful team is the ability to protect the individuals in a team. They failed to protect KP, perhaps from himself, but never the less, they failed to protect! This is not first time either, remember the David Moores incident when KP lost the captaincy?

But hey, who really cares? We would rather face an English side without KP than with him. With that thought in mind, ponder this:

Lets presume KP did send a few text messages to AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn airing some frustrations. Let us also presume that South Africa leaked these messages to the media. This could mean that the Proteas could be seen as a contributor to the removal of the English player they fear most!

So my next question is: who really got played here? The ECB, or the Media?

As I see it, whether South Africa had a hand in it or not, the dangerous English press machine that loves feeding on touring teams have been well played and are now feeding on its own players, and the ECB let it all happen! So much for unity of purpose and trust – the cracks are showing and the Proteas are coming for you!

The Unsung Heroes

The Olympics have two kinds of heroes – those who win, and those who do without a medal to show for it.

There were probably more examples, but the guy from Lesotho who finished the marathon as the walking man, but finished, certainly qualifies, in my view.

And then of course, Burry Stander, who exemplified what the games are really all about.

Na die wedren het hy glo gesê mens kry uit wat jy insit en die ander het meer as hy ingesit. Geen verskonings nie, aanvaarding van wat gebeur het en dat daar weer geleenthede sal opduik.

I jokingly remarked that the man from the mountain kingdom was probably exhausted by the lack of hilly terrain. Flat stuff, she ain’t for the boys from the mountain kingdom, but his guts to complete the race won as many accolades for Africa as the three who won.

Burry Stander

Burry Stander

Then there was Burry Stander. He fell, he got up, he fought his way back from 19th position to temporarily take the lead, and eventually finished fifth. He earned the respect of the world, and made me as proud a South African as when we won the RWC (twice), won the 384 cricket match against Australia, and even as far back as when Karen Muir broke the world record as a 12-year old in 1960.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Ou Manie is nie vandag werk toe nie. Na die uitmergelende marathon gister moes hy boonop twee ure van bergfiets wedrenne deursien. Hier so in die middel van die vierde rondte het hy sy rug beseer met ‘n halstarrige prop wat nie uit die bottel wou kom nie. Blykbaar was dit so mistig buite dat hy gevoel het ‘n bottel Kaapzicht sal die WP help.

Maar, soos die Prediker dit stel, tevergeefs.

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