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Cricket News & Views

Fielding collision -- and broken leg

THERE is nothing that legislation or equipment can do to prevent serious accidents in the deep field. Kyle Wilson has become the latest player to suffer at first class level, breaking his leg during a one-day match in Johannesburg.

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Wilson, 21, in his first season with Border, was fielding in the CSA Provincial one-dayer against Gauteng at the ABSA Oval on November 28 and collided with team-mate Lucky Pangabantu as they sprinted for Pieter van Zyl's lofted straight drive, converging from long-on and long-off with eyes only on the ball. Play was held up for several minutes after this incident.

The best known, and more serious, collision occurred at Kandy in 1999 during the first Test between Sri Lanka and Australia when Steve Waugh's face met Jason Gillespie's leg at deep square leg as they both raced for a catch from Mahela Jayawardena's sweep shot.

The collision was so violent Waugh felt he was lucky not to have broken his neck, escaping with wrecked nose. Gillespie broke his left wrist and right leg, both players having to be airlifted to hospital.

CHARLIE SAYS: It has happened to me in a Radlett club match in the 1970s, running full tilt for a lofted straight drive from long-off. The converging collision with the Herts fast bowler Nick Draper came as a shock I still remember to this day. My shoulder hit his sternum and he was severely winded, when the incident could have been far worse for either of us.

Posted by Charlie Randall
02/12/2010 12:21:05

Rossouw 319 is part of prophecy

THE batsman tipped as a big name of the future announced himself with a triple-hundred in a partnership of 480 at Centurion today, a South African record for any wicket. Rilee Rossouw means little to most people, but that seems likely to change.

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The former Test batsman Boeta Dippenaar said he would "bet his mortgage" on Rossouw enjoying a long and successful career at the top, and Sussex's bowlers would probably agree after encountering the left-hander in the Champions League at New Delhi last October.

Rossouw, 20, from Bloemfontein, had already proved himself at franchise level for Diamond Eagles before featuring in today's huge second-wicket stand with Dean Elgar against Titans at well over five runs an over. He became the first man to hit a triple hundred in a day in South Africa and, at 276 balls, he reached it quicker than any previous South African before gloving an easy catch for  319. Elgar -- a left-hander with experience at Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire -- finished the first day of this Supersport Series game with a more 'normal' 156 not out and the score at 502 for three.  

Surprisingly Rossouw was not especially successful during his time for South Africa Under-19, but he has now hit seven centuries in first class cricket and has signed a provisional IPL contract for Bangalore Royal Challengers, the franchise that acquired Kevin Pietersen.

Rossouw, a fresh-faced heart-throb in Free State, made his first impact in Twenty20 cricket when he took 65 in 62 balls off Sussex. Though that was hardly sensational, it was enough to earn him the man of the match award and without that innings Sussex would probably have won instead of tieing and losing on super-over.

In the 2008/09 season the run-hungry apprentice finished as Diamond Eagles' top batsman. He hit 765 runs in 10 matches at an average of 40.26 and scored his maiden century a couple of weeks after his 19th birthday. The murder of the Titans attack this week seems to have given the world due warning.

CHARLIE SAYS: Rossouw finished on the losing side, the first time I can remember this happening to a triple centurion since 1996 when Lancashire lost to Derbyshire after Jason Gallian had hit 312, still the highest individual score at Old Trafford. Scores at Centurion: Eagles 570-9 dec & 164 (Rossouw 64 off 85 balls), Titans 546-9 dec & 190-8.

 

Posted by Charlie Randall
25/03/2010 18:16:57

England are making too much noise

PROBABLY Michael Vaughan was right to point out that a batsman will never 'walk' again with the ICC's introduction of the Decision Review System. So diminished sportsmanship is part of the price for more accurate decisions, but the England management's snick fury at The Wanderers was misguided.

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Like Vaughan, most people felt that Hot Spot and even Snickometer should have been available for the South Africa series. Cost was the reason for the absence, and the ICC should consider sharing the expense. The South African authorities could not afford the whole range of gadgets, and Hawk Eye was apparently horrendously expensive at the top of the list.

But the fact remains that these snick detectors were not available to the third umpire. So that any fine edges the on-field official fails to notice will have to be adjudged by video eye if DRS is applied. The claims made by England that the third umpire Daryl Harper did not have his monitor volume switched up enough might not be correct, but even if the accusation proved to be true it makes not a blind bit of difference.

What seems to have been forgotten is that Tony Hill, the on-field umpire, was not satisfied that the snick was bat on ball or that there was a snick at all. If batsmen were given out every time the ear heard something, cricket would be in a mess. John Crawley once 'snicked' a ball while batting for England A in South Africa and everyone assumed he was out, but the sound was actually his St Christopher neck chain flipping up against his helmet grille. The umpire also heard a realistic snick noise but turned down the appeal on a gut feeling -- a brilliant decision.

Harper could not have overturned the 'not out' decision against Graeme Smith on sound alone in any case, because the evidence has to be compelling through technology. A sound through a stump mike is not enough. In fact, it is absurd to claim that it should be. However, infra-red Hot Spot could certainly have settled the issue.

But as Hot Spot was not available at The Wanderers, England should not have started whingeing. Instead they should sort out why they produced yet another pathetic batting display, which virtually handed South Africa a series-levelling victory on the first day of the fourth Test.

The ICC agreed to follow up the protest from the England camp. The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We have received a letter of complaint from the ECB and we will launch a formal investigation into the exact circumstances surrounding the application of the decision review system after completion of the Johannesburg Test match.

"There is a large amount of controversy, speculation and potentially unfair criticism circulating at present so it is important to establish the exact facts before reaching any final conclusions. This is early days for the DRS, and so far we are pleased with its effectiveness and the value it can add to the game in support of umpires. However, we have always acknowledged there is room for further improvement in the available technology and this investigation will be conducted in that light so the system becomes even more reliable."

The ICC's initial reaction was to play down the importance of the alleged low-set volume control. Roshan Mahanama, the referee, said:

"The third umpire, when reviewing the decision, used a range of technologies that were made available to him by the host broadcaster, including the slow-motion replays, amplified stump microphone sound (at normal speed and slow motion), approved ball-tracking technology and pitch mat generated by the ball-tracking technology.

"During the review the TV umpire followed the correct protocol and as he did not hear any noise to indicate the ball hitting the bat, he recommended Mr Hill to uphold his earlier decision. It must be noted that umpire’s decision is final.

"There have also been suggestions in a section of the press that Mr Harper had turned down the feed volume. It is clarified that the volume on the third umpire’s feed, right throughout the series, had been configured to optimise the quality of the audio, by both an SABC head engineer and the ICC technical advisor.

"It is also worthwhile to mention here that at no stage I indicated to the England team management that the third umpire had forgotten to adjust the volume of the speakers. I had actually briefed the England team management of the protocols that were followed during this review.

"If the audio level had been increased above its optimum level, distortion on the audio feed would have occurred and the feed might not have given a clear indication of the true sound. It should be kept in mind that the TV umpires sometimes receive feeds which are at a different level to what others are receiving for the simple fact that various broadcasters at times use different technologies while televising a match and the Johannesburg Test is a case in point.

"In the end, it must be remembered that there needs to be conclusive evidence to over-turn the decision of the on-field umpire as the Decision Review System has been designed to eliminate the obvious umpiring errors."

CHARLIE ASKS: Where are the batsmen capable of challenging for an England place? Why is Kevin Pietersen (a fine batsman) still regarded as a crucial player when events of 2009 proved that no one is indispensible?

Posted by Charlie Randall
16/01/2010 23:17:33

England are wasting their luck

IT IS just as well England's attempt to lose the third Test in Cape Town was foiled by the obdurate batting of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood. They go into the fourth and final match in Johannesburg on Jan 14 one up in the series after putting South Africa in to bat in two matches and nearly paying the full consequence.

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Andrew Strauss had luck with the coin, inserted the South Africans at Centurion and nearly lost. Then he repeated his folly at Newlands, and once again England had to eke out a draw with the last pair at the crease, making Graham Onions twice the jack hero. Whatever the reason officially ventured for gambling away the advantage of a won toss, taking the risk of bowling first was simply not justified -- at the time and in retrospect.

England look a stronger all-round side than South Africa and they gave themselves a diminished chance of proving it. Perhaps it was professional funk, like Hussain at Brisbane in 2002 when he gave the Australians the Ashes initiative before a ball was even bowled. Naturally he did not see it that way; there was a good 'reason' for bowling first.

One reason why Strauss was reluctant to bat first might be found in the ICC Reliance World Rankings, where England's thin resources were underlined. After the Newlands draw the off-form Kevin Pietersen slipped down to 19th and Strauss himself was 16th, the highest-rated England player. The bowling remained relatively strong, with the admirable Graeme Swann at fifth, James Anderson at seventh, Stuart Broad 12th and Ryan Sidebottom 18th. The world's leading bowler and South Africa's potential trump card was Dale Steyn. without forgetting that Paul Harris, their left-arm spinner, was ranked at 13th. This is one place higher than Daniel Vettori, suggesting that the pompous and constant derision heaped on Harris by Geoff Boycott on Test Match Special has been misplaced.

There is a chance that South Africa will win the toss and bat first at The Wanderers. If that happens Anderson will have to be at his best with the new ball, because batting out the final day for a draw on this more bouncy pitch will be much harder. South Africa called up leg-spinner Imran Tahir into a 15-man squad before realising his eligibility had not been confirmed.

Tahir is a tenacious much-travelled wrist-spinner. He propped up Hampshire with rare brilliance in 2008 and, at 30, he has signed for Warwickshire for 2010. His first international experience was for Pakistan A, and this dangerous customer might well have made his debut for South Africa. The uncapped Wayne Parnell could deputise for Friedel de Wet if he fails to recover from a sore back, which reduced his effectiveness at Newlands. He did not bowl on the final day, a crucial factor in England's survival.

England depart Johannesburg on Jan 19 and are then due in Dubai on Feb 14 for two day-night Twenty20 matches against Pakistan, announced today by the ECB, before Strauss's squad fly on to start their tour of Bangladesh. Pakistan won the World Twenty20 in London last summer, so a good interest in the emirates seems guaranteed for the fixtures on Feb 19 and Feb 20 at the 25,000 seat Dubai International Cricket Stadium. England will be playing in The Gulf for the first time in 12 years since Adam Hollioake led them to victory in the Sharjah Tournament in December 1997.

England Lions are due to play in a Twenty20 tournament against Pakistan A and the United Arab Emirates in February, followed by a 50-over one-day series against the Pakistanis, still unable to play international cricket at home due to security fears.

England itinerary

ARAB EMIRATES

Feb 17: England Lions (20/20 Abu Dhabi)

Feb 19: Pakistan (20/20, Dubai International Stadium)

Feb 20: Pakistan (20/20, Dubai International Stadium)

BANGLADESH

Feb 21: Arrive in Bangladesh

Feb 23: Warm-up v BCB XI (NOS Dhaka)

Feb 25-March 1: Warm-up v BCB XI (NOS Dhaka).

Feb 28: 1st ODI v Bangladesh (SBNCS)

March 2: 2nd ODI v Bangladesh (SBNS)

England Lions itinerary

ARAB EMIRATES

Feb 9: UAE v Pakistan A (20/20 Sharjah)

Feb 10: UAE v England Lions (20/20 Sharjah)

Feb 12: England Lions v Pakistan A (20/20 Sharjah)

Feb 14: England Lions v Pakistan A (20/20 Sharjah)

Feb 16: England Lions v Pakistan A (20/20 Abu Dhabi)

Feb 17: England Lions v England (20/20 Abu Dhabi); Pakistan A v Pakistan (20/20 Abu Dhabi).

Feb 22: England Lions v Pakistan A (50-over, Dubai)

Feb 24: England Lions v Pakistan A (50-over, Dubai)

Feb 26: England Lions v Pakistan A (50-over, Dubai).

Posted by Charlie Randall
08/01/2010 19:38:04

Davies and Moore move higher

MARK DAVIES AND STEVE MOORE NEXT IN LINE

QUESTION MARKS LINGER OVER LANCASHIRE SYSTEM

ALASTAIR COOK NEXT ENGLAND CAPTAIN

ENGLAND'S cricket authorities have announced 14 players outside the senior squad with a good chance of playing Test cricket within the next three years, and a total of 41 names have been listed as potential candidates. This is a laudable attempt to improve selection transparency and instil motivation.

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For the enhanced England Performance Programme, beginning in November, players have been divided into three categories according to their differing stages of development. England Under-19 internationals feature strongly in the youthful 'C' list, though one hopes that not too much credence will be put on this, because few from the younger age groups tend to move through to the elite for various reasons.

The ECB said that four ‘A’ graded players were those perceived to be closest to graduating into the England team, and the names of Mark Davies, the Durham seamer, and Stephen Moore, Lancashire's former Worcestershire opener, might seem a surprise to followers of the game, but not to anyone who watched them, as I did, on the England Lions tour of New Zealand in March. Davies was absolutely outstanding, and Moore, despite a quiet 2009 summer and moderate success on that tour, stood out as a strong competitor and a batsman with character.

The other two 'A' players are Amjad Khan, the talented if injury-prone Kent paceman, and Michael Carberry, the Hampshire batsman that no one seems sure about. All four are to receive individualised support programmes.

The ‘B’ players are those with experience of first class cricket and perceived to be one to three years away from the England team, according to the ECB. I am a little surprised that Chris Woakes, the Warwickshire all-rounder, was not listed as 'A' after his great strides last summer, whereas Joe Sayers, the Yorkshire blocker, might need more encouragement than most. The 'B' men are to undertake training camp at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough in November, and the 'C' group visit the CSA High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, in December. Both camps will feature some competitive cricket opportunities.

The ECB said that players on the South Africa training camp before Christmas would have the opportunity to work alongside former international players Graham Gooch, Allan Donald and Saqlain Mushtaq, who will support the full-time coaching team of David Parsons, Kevin Shine, Dene Hills and Bruce French at various stages throughout the camp.

One interesting aspect from the announcement of the senior party to tour South Africa was the naming of Alastair Cook as vice-captain, a clear case of succession planning especially as he was deservedly added to the one-day squad for the first time. A really lamentable fact has emerged too. Of all the men listed, from top downwards -- 61 names in total -- there are only two Lancashire players from 2009. One was James Anderson, the leader of the attack, and the other was Sajid Mahmood, still a speculative choice as a one-day bowler. And that's it. There's no one else from Old Trafford. Perhaps swing bowler Tom Smith was unlucky to be excluded, but the small representation is a terrible indictment of Lancashire's development system.

England's senior fringe players Ian Bell, Steven Davies, Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett, all named in the Test squad against South Africa, will train in Pretoria with players on the Performance Programme before joining up with the England senior side on completion of the one-day series. A group of young fast bowlers are to spend time at a conditioning camp in Florida and at the MRF fast bowling camp in Madras under the guidance of the Australian legend Dennis Lillee.

As in previous winters, England Lions will undertake an overseas tour early in the new year and further details of the squad and opposition are still to be released.

Commenting on the winter programme, ECB performance director David Parsons said: "I am really excited about the depth of the programme we have put in place for our most talented young players this winter. We will be offering a greater range of training and support than before and have carefully tailored the programme to ensure that we can cater to the specific needs of individuals and their stages of development."

"To see eight players who were part of the England Performance Programme last winter selected for England’s tour of South Africa next month is a good indication of the importance of the programme for a player’s development. With players like Eoin Morgan, Jonathan Trott and Graham Onions having made an immediate impact in the international arena this summer, having spent time with EPP and England Lions squads recently, we are keen to identify other players within county cricket who can make a difference to the full England side. "

England Test squad

Andrew Strauss         (capt, Middlesex)

Alastair Cook             (vice-capt, Essex)

James Anderson         (Lancashire)

Ian Bell                     (Warwickshire)

Stuart Broad              (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood         (Durham)

Steven Davies            (Surrey)

Graham Onions           (Durham)

Kevin Pietersen          (Hampshire)

Liam Plunkett             (Durham)

Matt Prior                  (Sussex)

Adil Rashid                 (Yorkshire)

Ryan Sidebottom        (Nottinghamshire)

Graeme Swann           (Nottinghamshire)

Jonathan Trott           (Warwickshire)

Luke Wright               (Sussex)

England one-day squad

Andrew Strauss          (capt, Middlesex)

James Anderson          (Lancashire)

Tim Bresnan               (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad              (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood         (Durham)

Alastair Cook              (Essex)

Joe Denly                   (Kent)

Sajid Mahmood           (Lancashire)

Eoin Morgan               (Middlesex)

Graham Onions           (Durham)

Kevin Pietersen          (Hampshire)

Matt Prior                  (Sussex)

Adil Rashid                (Yorkshire)

Graeme Swann          (Nottinghamshire)

Jonathan Trott         (Warwickshire)

Luke Wright             (Sussex)

HIGH PERFORMANCE PROGRAMME

A group

Mark Davies (Durham)

Amjad Khan (Kent)

Stephen Moore (Lancashire)

Michael Carberry (Hampshire)

B group

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Andrew Gale (Yorkshire)

Rory Hamilton-Brown (Sussex)

Chris Jordan (Surrey)

Chris Nash (Sussex)

Joe Sayers (Yorkshire)

Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)

James Taylor (Leicestershire)

David Wainwright (Yorkshire)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

C group

Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Vikram Banerjee (Gloucestershire)

Keith Barker (Warwickshire)

William Beer (Sussex)

Alex Blake (Kent)

Andy Carter (Nottinghamshire)

Liam Dawson (Hampshire)

Luke Fletcher (Nottinghamshire)

Billy Godleman (Essex)

Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire)

Richard Johnson (Warwickshire)

Richard Jones (Worcestershire)

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire)

Jake Mickleburgh (Essex)

Sam Northeast (Kent)

Ollie Rayner (Sussex)

Ian Saxelby (Gloucestershire)

John Simpson (Middlesex)

Tom Smith (Sussex)

Max Waller (Somerset)

Adam Wheater (Essex)

David Willey (Northamptonshire)

Fast bowling programme

Jade Dernbach (Surrey)

David Griffiths (Hampshire)

James Harris (Glamorgan)

Stuart Meaker (Surrey)

Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)

ENGLAND'S SOUTH AFRICA DATES

Nov 1: England squad arrive in South Africa

Nov 6: President's X1 (50-over,  Bloemfontein)

Nov 8: President's X1 (50-over, De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley)

Nov 10: South Africa A (20-over, Bloemfontein d/n)

Nov 13: 1st Standard Bank Pro20 International (Wanderers, Johannesburg d/n)

Nov 15: 2nd Standard Bank Pro20 International (SuperSport Park, Centurion)

Nov 17: South Africa A (50-over, Potchefstroom d/n)

Nov 20: 1st MTN one-day international (Wanderers, Johannesburg d/n)

Nov 22: 2nd MTN one-day international (SuperSport Park, Centurion)

Nov 27: 3rd MTN one-day international (Sahara Park, Newlands, Cape Town d/n)

Nov 29: 4th MTN one-day international (Sahara Oval, St. George’s, Port Elizabeth)

Dec 4: 5th MTN one-day international (Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead, Durban d/n)

Dec 9-10: SA Airways XI (Buffalo Park, East London)

Dec 11-12: SA Airways XI (Buffalo Park, East London)

Dec 16-20: 1st Castle Test (SuperSport Park, Centurion)

Dec 26-30: 2nd Castle Test (Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead, Durban)

Jan 3-7, 2010: 3rd Castle Test (Sahara Park, Newlands, Cape Town)

Jan 14-18: 4th Castle Test (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

Jan 19: England squad depart

Posted by Charlie Randall
13/10/2009 15:12:59

England's sunshine dates

CRICKET South Africa have announced the four Test, five one-day and two Twenty20 internationals schedule for England's tour next winter, which involves Christmas in Durban and New Year in Cape Town.

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The tour will open with the two Twenty20 internationals in Johannesburg and Centurion and will be followed by five one-dayers in Johannesburg, the Centurion ground near Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban with three under floodlights. The four Test matches will begin on Dec 16 in Centurion followed by the Boxing Day Test in Durban, the new year Test in Cape Town with the series concluding with the fourth Test in Johannesburg. The tour party is due to return on Jan 19.

ENGLAND TOUR TO SOUTH AFRICA (Nov 7, 2009 -Jan 18, 2010)

Nov 10: South Africa A (20-over, Bloemfontein). 13: 1st Pro20 International (Wanderers, Johannesburg). 15: 2nd Pro20 International (SuperSport Park, Centurion). 17: South Africa A (50-over, Potchefstroom). 20: 1st ODI (Wanderers, Johannesburg). 22: 2nd ODI (SuperSport Park, Centurion). 27: 3rd ODI (Cape Town). 29: 4th ODI (Port Elizabeth). Dec 4: 5th ODI (Durban). Dec 9-10: SA Airways XI (Two-day, East London). Dec 11-12: SA Airways XI (Two-day, East London).

Dec 16-20: 1st Test (Centurion, near Pretoria). Dec 26-30: 2nd Test (Durban)

Jan 3-7: 3rd Test (Cape Town). Jan 14-18: 4th Test (Wanderers, Johannesburg)

Posted by Charlie Randall
23/01/2009 13:34:33

Herschelle Gibbs in drink clinic

THE life of the South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs has hit a crisis before his expected arrival to play for Glamorgan next summer with the news that he is to spend a month of rehabilitation for alcohol abuse at a clinic.

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His agent Donne Commins confirmed in the Cape Times newspaper that Gibbs was going to take "some time out" before his trial in March for alleged drunk driving in Cape Town.

Gibbs, 34, was recently divorced from his wife, with alcohol abuse cited in the case, and he was dismissed from South Africa's national squad in November for breaking a team curfew before a 20-overs one-day international against Bangladesh. Cricket South Africa said he would be having treatment for alcohol abuse.

Gibbs, a brilliant Western Province batsman and general sportsman, has been regarded as an amiable character easily led, a flaw that has landed him in trouble. He was found guilty of smoking marijuana with team-mates while on tour in the West Indies in 2001, and his name was dragged into the mud by the Hansie Cronje match-fixing revelations in 2001.

During the 2007 World Cup unnamed South African players were accused of drinking too much in Grenada after a defeat by New Zealand in a leaked fitness report by trainer Adrian le Roux. Cricket South Africa confirmed that they had held an official inquiry into drinking, and the chief executive Gerald Majola said it had been viewed “in a serious light”.

Majola added: “The inquiry, our findings and recommendations took place well before Adrian submitted his routine report after the World Cup. The players concerned know they let themselves and the team down on that occasion, and are now fully aware of what is expected of them at all times as professional cricketers representing their country.”

Gibbs is set to return to Glamorgan after a successful Twenty20 Cup stint last season. The club said he would bring to the club a "wealth of experience and expertise".

Posted by Charlie
04/12/2008 21:14:14

Champions Eagles all out 28

THE experienced fast bowler Makhaya Ntini has been gradually marginalised by South Africa -- sacked from the one-day squad this year -- but he caught the eye today in a freakish Supersport Series match at Port Elizabeth, where Eagles were bowled out for 28.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Eagles, the franchise champions based in Bloemfontein, recorded the lowest first class score in South African cricket for 49 years and the fourth lowest in history -- all three previously by Border. Ntini, 31, did most of the damage with five wickets for nine in 10.5 overs, backed up by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, with four for three.

The Eagles debacle was another day in a terrible year for Boeta Dippennaar. His season at Leicestershire was so bad he had to be dropped and here he was at St George's Park, struggling on a decent pitch for six in more than an hour. Top scorer was Ryan Bailey with 10 as the tail subsided after lunch on the second day, the last five wickets falling for two runs in under four overs.

Warriors, the Eastern Province and Border combination, made 256 in their first innings, the former Leicestershire batsman Arno Jacobs top-scoring with 77. They declined to enforce the follow-on and went on to seal a 261-run victory as another seamer Rusty Theron took 7-44, his career-best figures.

Posted by Charlie
10/10/2008 19:30:49

UCB fraudster goes to jail

CRICKET South Africa lost more than £400,000 through fraud by one of their employees, and it was a happy coincidence that conviction was achieved in Johannesburg within a few days of the Test team wrapping up the series against England at Edgbaston.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Diteko Modise, 39, a former financial director of the United Cricket Board -- as the authority was known then -- was sentenced by the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court to effectively 30 years in prison after being found guilty on eight counts of fraud and one count of money laundering totalling £517,000. Only a small proportion was recovered.

Modise, who joined the UCB staff in 200, was told he would be considered for parole only after serving 20 years. He indicated he would appeal.

According to court reports, his version was that the money in question was genuinely given to him by former UCB chief executive Ali Bacher to develop cricket grounds in the rural areas of Postmasburg and Kuruman in the Northern Cape. However, one of the Board officials, Don MacIntosh, disagreed, saying the money was meant for the development of cricket in Soweto and Mamelodi.

The court heard that in 2002 Modise instructed his subordinates to transfer funds into an account held by More Raud Investments, a company solely owned by him. He instructed one of his subordinates to transfer an amount of more than £90,00 into the More Raud Investments account on the pretext that it was for the purchase of a bus for the Proteas cricket team. Instead he bought a Land Rover for his own use and later pruchased a Mercedes-Benz. The prosecution alleged he spent other funds on designer clothes and furniture.

Other UCB funds were utilised to establish companies in the cleaning, construction and mining industries, all of which were operational in Kimberley before being attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit during Modise's arrest in 2004. He also bought three houses in Pecanwood, Dainfern Valley and Buccleuch, north of Johannesburg, and an apartment in Bloemfontein.

Magistrate Jeremy Janse van Vuuren said Modise had paid back the UCB about £22,000 after he was confronted by the chief executive Gerald Majola about the fraud. Another £90,000 was recovered following an asset forfeiture order in the Johannesburg High Court in May this year.

The court rejected his request for a correctional supervision sentence. Modise had earlier asked the court to give him a non-custodial sentence, saying he had since formed a company and that he would use the profits to reimburse the Cricket South Africa, but the magistrate refused. "You must take responsibility for the crimes you have done," he said.

"At no stage did you admit guilt. You should have desisted from continuing with your criminal conduct in August 2002, but you chose to continue. These crimes were clearly planned. This was clearly an act of greed."

The prosecution alleged Modise embezzled the money between 2000 and early 2004. The fraud was uncovered in March 2004 when the Border Cricket Union informed the UCB of an overdue payment.

Posted by Charlie
04/08/2008 15:00:37

Steyn wants to join that list

By Mark Harrison

THE South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn says he is looking to add his name to the Lord’s honours board, alongside those of team-mates Makhaya Ntini and Graeme Smith, the captain and opener his colleagues know as 'Biff'.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

Steyn has never played at Lord's or even a Test in England, but he is looking forward to the series opener which starts on Thursday. "Getting your name up on the honours board is one of those things we all talk about," Steyn says in The Wisden Cricketer magazine. "Biff is there with his double-hundred, and Makhaya took 10 wickets last time. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could do something similar?"

Steyn is currently the form fast bowler in world cricket, with 120 wickets in just 23 Tests and is relishing his partnership with the fast-emerging Morne Morkel. "I expect something big from Morne on this tour. He’s just getting better, bigger, stronger, faster. He’s even starting to scare me.

"I know he’s done well for Kent and Yorkshire and in English club cricket, and he’s starting to make that opening partnership with me his own."

England’s batsmen may be un-nerved to learn that Steyn cannot say who is the quicker bowler: "That’s a tough call. It’s funny because, when I get a bit of fire in my arse, I can really get it through but we’re different kinds of bowlers. I’ve done so well recently swinging it late.

"Morne is tall, fast and gets unbelievable bounce. To have him towering over you from a few yards away can’t be nice. He’s a bloke who can get it down at 145 clicks, or 90mph, and at the other end is a skiddy guy swinging it at 145 clicks. We’re two different arsenals, if you like, and we can both be quicker than the other on our day. I can hardly wait."

The key England wicket in the series will be Kevin Pietersen, and Steyn says he is looking forward to the contest: "He’s a great player. He’s everything you want to play against and I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing against us as well.

"He’s the kind of guy who won’t block six balls, that’s for sure. But then, if he hits the first five deliveries of my over for four and then gets out to the sixth, look who’s laughing. We’ll have our plans against him. The fact that he’s ex-South African has got nothing to do with his ability or skill."

Despite having never played at Lord’s, Steyn reckons he will feel no pressure when he takes the new ball against England. "No, there’s no real pressure," he says. "If I do the basics, I know I’ll get wickets. I love the thought that my captain wants to throw me the ball. I really thrive on responsibility. And it’s nice to be known as someone the opposition is wary of."

The August issue of The Wisden Cricketer is on sale at leading outlets from July 11.

Posted by Charlie
07/07/2008 10:40:01
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