Pitched online – by Bobby
Preparations seem to be going well for the Proteas as they are due to face the Black Caps in the first T20 tomorrow in Wellington. The warm-up game yesterday in Christchurch, the first international since the earthquake almost a year ago, against Canterbury provided a good contest. AB de Villiers was delighted with the win but more so that most of his batsmen had a “feel” out in the middle for Kiwi conditions. The star with the bat was Richard Levi who made a strong claim for a place in Fridays T20 side with a blistering 63 off 32 balls. The star though was Lopsy (Tsotsobe) with his first career hat-trick. He finished with figures off 4 for 18 in his 4 overs.
South Africa: 150-6 in 20 overs (Richard Levi 63, Hashim Amla 35; George Worker 3-23)Canterbury: 130 in 19 overs (Michael Henry 42, Matt McEwan 30; Lonwabo Tsotsobe 4-18, Rusty Theron 2-34
In other news –
The England side seems to be getting its act together as they have so far totally outplayed the Pakistan side in the first two ODI’s leading the four match series 2-0. Captain Cook has been leading the charge with two centuries. There is lots of pressure on KP from the press, though, He has not scored a century in the last 30 ODI innings for the England.
India’s cancer-stricken World Cup star Yuvraj Singh who is undergoing chemotherapy in the United States for a malignant tumour located between his lungs, said on Wednesday he was inspired after getting a message from US cycling legend Lance Armstrong wishing him a speedy recovery. We hope you get well soon too, “Youvi”!
Speaking of Armstrong, the legend of the Tour de France who has recently turned 40, took part in his first Ironman (Panama 70.3) over the weekend and finished an inspiring 2nd after he led most of the way – the guy is a machine and an inspiration to all.
Game time is almost upon us – hope your Alarms are set!
Injuries outshine Form in Super 15 – by Paul
A look at the injury list of key players in the Super series gives one the impression that we are over the halfway mark of the competition.
The fact of the matter is, of course, that it only kicks off next weekend.
While we mainly read about our own walking wounded, things are not looking much better overseas. The NZ Herald reports as follows:
The Highlanders’ injury crisis is so severe they have been forced to call up their scrum coach and former All Black Kees Meeuws for their pre-season match against the Blues in Auckland tomorrow.
Meeuws, a 37-year-old who played 42 tests for the All Blacks, has been drafted on to the bench after tighthead props Ma’afia Fia (hamstring) and Chris King (groin) were ruled out with injury.
Coach Jamie Joseph has 10 players on the sidelines due to injury and any more tomorrow would put further pressure on a thin squad before the season has even started.
Those who encounter the Crusaders early on in the competition will be relieved to hear that Richie McCaw is only likely to play in April. The anticipated date of return coincides with their home match against the Stormers. Shame, manne!
From Australia comes the news that New South Wales will start their season without Wallabies winger Lachie Turner, who is expected to miss the season with a hamstring tear, while Drew Mitchell has said he will not be fit for the first game.
Dan Vickerman may have played his last game for the Waratahs and Wallabies, with injury concerns understood to have him contemplating retirement.
On a positive note, a number of key local players are on the comeback trail. Andries Bekker, Duane Vermeulen, Heinrich Brüssow come to mind, while Juan Smith’s progress is carefully monitored. He must be a strong candidate for the ‘Bok captaincy, given the new coach’s approach of horses for courses as far as the captaincy is concerned.
Joke of the Year
The controversy around the inclusion of the Southern Kings is actually laughable.
How can one consider including a team in the Super series when they cannot even win the B division of the local league?
Whoever made that promise to EP must have stipulated that the offer was subject to them at least being competitive before being able to join. They will become the ridicule of world rugby if they are involved next year. There is no way that Alan Solomons and Cheeky Watson can transform this side into being competitive, let alone be contenders for the crown, in one year.
The fact of the matter is, of course, that attempts to include an EP/Southern Cape side started in 2005 already with the Southern Spears who lost their cutting edge and was eventually replaced by the Southern Kings in 2009.
Being a born and bred Eastern Cape boytjie, I would love nothing more than for the massive amount of talent from that part of the world to be able to stay there and prove just how much the country owes this breeding ground of of sporting talent.
Equally strongly, I would hate to see them being humiliated simply to appease someone’s political appetite.
We have enough of that in politics proper, thank you.
Jy kan nog ‘n bietjie sluimer, en nog ‘n bietjie slaap, ou Grote, maar weet dit: die nag kom nader, en so ook die rugby en krieket hier en anderkant die water, en Doer Onder.