Temba Bavuma: A Rock In A Hard Place

Earlier this year I noticed a strange cricketing trend: over the last decade, the Test teams most likely to be shot out for under 100 were not underachievers like the West Indies or relative minnows Bangladesh. Instead, the most implosion-prone batting lineups on the planet were South African and Australian. I examined this peculiar statisticalContinue reading “Temba Bavuma: A Rock In A Hard Place”

The beginning of the end

“There have been a few rumours floating around,” said AB de Villiers. The nation relaxed. At last the awful speculation would end, and in a second we would hear the good news. The rumours were media speculation. The rumours were a dressing-room joke misheard by a journalist. The rumours were mind games cooked up byContinue reading “The beginning of the end”

South African cricket: build or become croquet

Twenty years ago, everything was different. Twenty years ago, everything was the same. In the summer of 1995, South Africa was a country consciously, self-consciously, trying to build something better. These days it’s become fashionable to dismiss that period as a naïve fantasy – the worst thing a white liberal can be accused of theseContinue reading “South African cricket: build or become croquet”

Damned lies and cricket ratings

When Australian batting star Steven Smith leap-frogged from fourth to claim the top spot in the ICC’s official ranking of Test batsmen this week, it felt like heresy. It wasn’t the size of the leap, but rather the players he surpassed to become the first Australian since Michael Clarke in 2012 to seize the crown.Continue reading “Damned lies and cricket ratings”

Steyn has nothing to apologize for

Dale Steyn has dished out some short and nasty stuff over the years, but this week he was on the receiving end. Granted, it was only moderately nasty, but it was very short: 140 characters, to be precise. The South African giant turns 32 next month, and on Monday hinted in an interview that heContinue reading “Steyn has nothing to apologize for”

Don’t quota me on that

The bombshell landed with more of a thud than a bang. The country had other things to worry about. Trevor Noah had just become the most influential South African in pop culture. Eskom had just fired the guy who replaced the guy who replaced the guy who dropped the bolt into the machine that wasn’tContinue reading “Don’t quota me on that”

2015: A SPACE ODYSSEY

I know how West Indian bowlers feel. I tried to pin down AB de Villiers for a week and got absolutely nowhere. My brief was straightforward. Do an in-depth interview with the mercurial middle-order star. Show us the man behind the legend, the bloke behind the scoring machine who reached 7 000 runs in OneContinue reading “2015: A SPACE ODYSSEY”

Off the pace

The caps are maroon, the accents are lilting, the attitudes laid-back, but don’t be fooled. The team coming to South Africa this summer is not the West Indies. It comes from the Caribbean. It boasts some excellent cricketers – Shivnarine Chanderpaul deserves an ovation at every ground he graces – but the true West Indies,Continue reading “Off the pace”

The third man

Barring any major disasters, at some point in the next couple of months Hashim Amla will shatter Viv Richards’ record of – no, wait. ‘Shatter’ is too violent a word for Amla, a player who seems to embody the lightest and silkiest delights of the batting arts. Let us say, rather, that at some pointContinue reading “The third man”