The Silent Warrior reaches a ton of a different kind
The tributes have been coming in thick and fast from all over the world for Hashim Amla’s 100th test. The respect he has from his peers and the love and admiration he enjoys from the supporters could not be bestowed on a more deserving human being. The ability to salute, recognise and praise is often difficult when one competes so closely, coupled with the pressures of sport and its wide variety of controllable and uncontrollable aspects. It is especially warming to see the international reaction, including Sonny Bill, to this great achievement by Hash. I hope we still get to see much more of him in the years to come.
Well done. South Africa salutes you as one of our favourite sons.
Kolpak claims more SA players
Now onto something less exciting and perhaps more conflicting.
Personally, I don’t blame the guys for taking the option to further their careers abroad – as professionals we all need to consider what tomorrow might bring. The uncertainty of the political and economic climate in South Africa does leave our players with quite a few factors to consider, unlike players from other countries.
This is a red flag for cricket and rugby. Currently, South Africa is fast becoming the Free State of world sport in terms of our inability to compete with financial incentives offered by overseas employers. This means that more and more of our outstanding sportsmen and women will be plying their trade, and focussing their attention on accessing the international stage in the colours of countries like England, France or, God forbid, Australia.
An old cliché in sport is “don’t blame the player, blame the game.” In this instance, the game refers to the structures and environment players find themselves in.
As we have seen in South African rugby, SARU’s product has declined in such value that sponsors are considering other options. To compete, one needs depth, and although our cricket is on the up, knocks like these could have a serious influence on CSA’s quality of product in years to come. From another perspective, one must bear in mind that , this year, Hashim turns 34, AB 33, JP 33, Vernon 32, Dale 34, Morne Morkel 33, Cook 35 and Faf 33.
A player like Rillee Rossouw, was key in the succession plan, and now there are rumours that Marchant de Lange may also be on his way. Rossouw was groomed to step into the formidable boots of AB, while De Lange was destined to be a vital cog in the fast bowling department of the Proteas in the future.
CSA should seriously look at their organisation and structures and move away from blaming the players for the choices they make. It is time to be proactive. Blame-storming after the horse has bolted serves no purpose.