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Proteas: Déjà Vu?

Another ICC tournament and the Proteas are yet again on the brink of the ejection edifice. (The word PME comes to mind – editor)

Australia thumped the Proteas yesterday. Perhaps a little payback after we demolished their rugby counterparts on Saturday? Shane Watson, for Australia, was just unbelievable – he dominates the runs, wickets and sixes score sheet for the tournament so far!  Australia simply outplayed us – we were not even allowed to choke.  We were under pressure from the outset, and if it was not for Robbie Petersen’s superb heroics at the end of the Proteas innings, the defeat would have been far bigger.  The selection of Parnell was also a silly one – he is hardly Mr Consistent, is he?

The game that does worry me, though, is the one against Pakistan – I felt AB made some critical tactical errors and, if we were tagged with the dreaded “choke” tag, this was the game where it would apply to us. The errors AB made, after seeing the impact of spin bowling on the game, were crucial. After seeing how effectively the Protea batsmen were contained by the slow bowlers, and how effective his own spinners were against the Pakistan batting attack, he should have read the signs correctly. Deciding to unleash his pace men Albé Morkel and Kallis in the last 5 overs, proved to be pure folly. It was almost like the old SA knee jerk reaction: when in doubt, use pace…

This, as we now know, was a fatal mistake. Johan Botha and JP Duminy only completed 2 overs each with impressive figures. Why didn’t he continue with them?  It’s often said that AB is an instinctive skipper and he follows his gut feeling – perhaps he had an upset stomach on the day…

Early days, though, for AB as skipper. I still think he is a good one, but there are some lessons to be learnt. In this short version of the game, the margins for errors are much smaller than in ODI’s.  There is still a glimmer of hope but to be honest, I am not holding my breath.

And lastly, I think it’s fair to say Levi is not having a happy time. Perhaps it is time for Faf du Plessis or Ontong to come into the side for what may well be the last game of the tournament.

I come to praise Caesar
– by Paul Kruger

Francois Louw








Are we not often keen to blame the coach when things go wrong, and praise the players when it goes well?

Spare a thought, amidst the revelry after the crushing victory against the Wallabies, for Heyneke Meyer. He had to endure more boos than the European Ryder cup players in America. To his credit, he stuck to his guns, but was prepared to make the changes necessary to achieve the result we all craved.

We are all in the “I told you so” brigade, but a coach has a certain loyalty to his players as well, and for this I, and I am sure the players, admire him.

Our talk around the coffee pot this morning concerned the All Black structures. The decimation of the Aussie team on Saturday due to injuries, and the impact thereof on their squad for the trip to Argentina, is unheard of.

The All Blacks, on the other hand, very rarely experience a major injury crisis. They have fine-tuned the rotation system, enabling replacements to slot in seamlessly.

There will be no let-up from the money hungry rugby bosses in terms of demand on the players, as evidenced by the vast number of key international players currently injured. A wise coach will use an intelligent rotation system to lose as little momentum as possible in the inevitable event of injury.

Bobby made the point this morning that a player like Morné Steyn, for instance, should not be drafted into the Currie Cup ranks. He deserves a proper break, away from rugby. The Kiwis, by way of example, will be giving their captain McCaw a 6 month sabbatical to recharge his batteries, and extend his playing life.

Heyneke (and his team) earned him a bit of breathing space from the results driven SA fans. We need to allow him to build and expand his broad player base. Look at what happened since he started introducing more players from the South, for instance.

Okay, you can breathe again. That chirp was only included to wake you up so you could get  back to work.

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