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Archive for June, 2008

Player Profile(#26)…Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe)

Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 28, 2008

Photobucket

Eddo André Brandes (born March 5, 1963, Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) is a former Zimbabwean cricketer who played in 10 Tests and 59 ODIs from 1987 to 1999, spanning four World Cups.

He took a hat-trick in an ODI against England in January 1997 that is still regarded as the highest in terms of total average of the batsmen dismissed. The Mirror ran a headline proclaiming “Clucking useless!; England lose to chicken farmer” to mark the occasion, making Eddo Brandes perhaps the most famous chicken-farmer to ever play cricket. Only two months short of his 34th birthday, he remains the oldest player to have taken an ODI hat-trick.

As of 2003 Brandes has moved to Australia to pursue a coaching career, and is currently coaching the Sunshine Coast Scorchers who play in the XXXX Gold Brisbane Grade Competition/ Tewantin-Noosa Thunder.

He is also known for this quote:

-Exchange between Glenn McGrath, the Australian bowler, and Eddo Brandes after McGrath gets frustrated at being unable to dismiss Brandes.

1.McGrath: “Why are you so fat?”
2.Brandes: “Because every time I f*** your wife she gives me a biscuit.”

More info about Eddo Brandes can be found by right-clicking Cricinfo Profile on Eddo Brandes.

Photobucket

Posted in Biscuit, Chicken Farmer, Eddo André Brandes, Glenn McGrath, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Shepstone, South Africa, Sunshine Coast Scorchers, Tewantin-Noosa Thunder, XXXX Gold Brisbane Grade Competition | Leave a Comment »

In the International Spotlight…Zimbabwe Cricket

Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 28, 2008

Photobucket
Photobucket

The Zimbabwean cricket team is a national cricket team representing Zimbabwe. It is administrated by Zimbabwe Cricket (formerly known as the Zimbabwe Cricket Union or ZCU).

Zimbabwe is a full member of the International Cricket Council (I.C.C.) with Test and One Day International status, although it is currently inactive in Tests (see below).

In common with all the other full members of the I.C.C., Zimbabwe had a cricket team before it achieved Test status.

A brief summary of key moments:

Zimbabwe(formerly Rhodesia) was represented in the South African tournament, the Currie Cup, between the wars, and then again from 1946.
Following independence in 1980, the country began to play more international cricket.
On July 21, 1981 Zimbabwe was elected an associate member of the ICC.
Zimbabwe then participated in the 1983 cricket World Cup, as well as the 1987 and 1992 events.

TEST STATUS:
Zimbabwe played its first Test match in 1992 (against India at Harare resulting in a draw), becoming the ninth Test nation.

Zimbabwe’s early Test performances were consistently weak, leading to many suggestions that they were undeserving of that status. In the one-day arena, however, the team soon became competitive, if not particularly strong. In particular, world respect was gained for their fielding ability.

1990s:
In spite of his team’s difficulties, wicket-keeper/batsman Andy Flower was at one point rated the best batsman in world cricket. During this era, Zimbabwe also produced such cricketers as Flower’s brother Grant, allrounder (and later national captain) Heath Streak and professional chicken farmer Eddo Brandes, who achieved considerable fame as a bowler. Murray Goodwin was also a world-class batsman; following his retirement from international cricket, he has scored heavily for Sussex. Sometime captain and middle order batsman Alistair Campbell, leg-spinning all rounder Paul Strang, and pace bowler/opener Neil Johnson were other important contributors for Zimbabwe on the world stage at this time.

With the appearance of some quality players, a breakthrough was achieved in levels of performance in the late 1990s where the Zimbabwean team began winning tests against other nations, which included a series win against Pakistan. Unfortunately, the political situation in Zimbabwe declined at around the same time, which had a detrimental effect on the national team’s performances.

THE 2003 CRICKET WORLD CUP:
Increasing politicization of cricket, including selectorial policy, along with the declining situation in Zimbabwe disrupted the 2003 cricket World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and South Africa.

England forfeited a match scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe, risking their own progress through the competition, citing “security concerns” as their reason.

Zimbabwean players Andy Flower and fast bowler Henry Olonga wore black armbands, for “mourning the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe. Both were immediately dismissed from the team and applied for political asylum overseas. This public political protest caused considerable embarrassment to the co-hosts and disrupted team harmony.

Since the 2003 World Cup, with a succession of Zimbabwe’s best players ending their international careers early, a new side began to develop, featuring the likes of Travis Friend, Andy Blignaut, Craig Wishart, Ray Price, Sean Ervine, Mark Vermeulen, Douglas Marillier, and Barney Rogers. Whilst not of the same calibre of Streak, Goodwin, and the Flower brothers, this new breed of predominatly multi-disciplined players formed a solid backbone to a competitive, if usually unsuccessful, side.

In late 2003, Zimbabwe toured Australia in a two-match series. The series was more memorable for Australian opener Matthew Hayden’s innings in the first Test – in which he overcame a back strain to score a then record 380 runs – than for the Zimbabwean performance.

THE STREAK AFFAIR:
In 2004, captain Heath Streak was sacked by the ZCU, prompting an on-field streaking by 14 other players during an Australia-Zimbabwe match in protest of political influence in the team’s selection.

Because of this, the ZCU accepted that Zimbabwe were to play no further Test cricket in 2004, though its status as a Test nation was unaffected.

In early 2005, Heath Streak was reinstated into the national side, but the political situation in Zimbabwe involving Operation Murambatsvina disrupted the Zimbabwean team. During overseas tours, the players were often said to be buying necessities which were unavailable – or prohibitively expensive – at home, as opposed to the souvenirs which other touring teams would purchase.

In 2005 an agreement was signed which led to the return of many of the rebels to the Zimbabwe side. However, results failed to improve as in March Zimbabwe lost both their Tests on tour against South Africa by an innings. Worse was to follow in August, when they were crushed on home soil by New Zealand, in a match that was completed in just two days, instead of the usual five. In the process, Zimbabwe were humiliated; they became only the second side in Test history (after India in 1952) to be bowled out twice in the space of one day. Then they lost both their tests to India at home later in September. After the series against India, Streak announced his retirement from international cricket, dealing yet another blow to the beleagured team.

By November 2005, the players were once again in dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket over political interference in the management of the game as well as contract negotiations, and the new captain, Tatenda Taibu, resigned from international cricket.

By January 2006, 37 Zimbabwean cricketers had failed to receive any offer of renegotiation talks from Zimbabwe Cricket after their contracts with the board had expired. This body of players demanded that the chairman and managing director of Zimbabwe cricket, Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute, be removed from office for there to be any hope for the players to return to the international stage.

On January 6, 2006, the Sports and Recreation Commission, a division of the Zimbabwean government, took over the offices of Zimbabwe Cricket. The apparent takeover has resulted in the firing of all whites and Asians among the board directors, because of “their racial connotations and saving their own agendas and not government policy” according to Gibson Mashingaidze, an army brigadier and chairman of the government’s Sports and Recreation Commission.

An interim board was appointed as the new leading party of cricket in Zimbabwe, with Peter Chingoka appointed as the committee’s head. Given Chingoka’s close ties to Bvute, it is likely that the latter will continue in his post as well.

SELF-IMPOSED TEST SUSPENSION:
On 18 January 2006, Zimbabwe Cricket announced that they were suspending the playing of Test cricket for the rest of that year. Zimbabwe’s coach Kevin Curran has said that Zimbabwe are aiming to play their next Test against the West Indies in November 2007. It is currently felt by observers that the Zimbabwean national team is not of sufficient Test standard, and that competing against Full Member sides would do little to improve standards, given the likely one-sided nature of the games. Bangladesh, for a long time seen as the ‘whipping boys’ of Test cricket, recorded their first win against Zimbabwe, and are now generally regarded as being of a superior standard.

Domestically, the Logan Cup – Zimbabwe’s first class competition played amongst the provinces – was cancelled in 2006 for the first time since its inception over a century ago (though the Cup was not played during some of the years of the World Wars). This was widely seen as due to concern by ZC that the standard of play would be so poor as to be both not worthwhile and potentially harmful to the external image of cricket in Zimbabwe. The one-day trophy, the Faithwear Cup, was contested, and drew complaints from observers that the quality was less than club level. As well as player exodus, the main reason for this catastrophic fall in standards was put down to wrangling within Zimbabwe Cricket, where internal politics motivated the removal of the historic provinces and their replacement with revamped, newly-designated provincial teams.

In a further harmful incident, ex-player Mark Vermeulen was arrested after attempting to burn down ZC’s offices, and successfully destroying the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy’s premises. In a nation in increasing social and economic turmoil, such facilities are hard to replace, and their loss has proven difficult to manage for a cricket administration already short of top quality facilities.

The ICC has not supported Zimbabwe’s return to full Test status until the national team can perform consistently at that level and compete competitively against other test sides.

2007 CRICKET WORLD CUP:
In the period coming up to the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, and to stop a similar exodus of players after the 2003 World Cup, the selected players were asked to sign a new contract. The players were summoned to meet Ozias Bvute, Zimbabwe Cricket’s managing director, a week or so before they were due to set off and given an ultimatum – sign the contract on offer or be removed from the squad. It is understood that they were not allowed to take advice and were told they had to make the decision there and then.

One player told his team-mates that there were certain things contained in the contracts that needed clarification. He was summoned back into Bvute’s office and warned that it was a take-it-or-leave -it offer: this player was later revealed to be Anthony Ireland. Another said that when he told Bvute he wanted to consult with friends, Bvute picked up the phone and called Kenyon Ziehl, the head of selection, and told him he wanted the player replaced in the squad. Unsurprisingly, the player backed down and signed.

In light of the poor state of Zimbabwe’s finances, and that Zimbabwe Cricket had to borrow around US$1 million in early 2007 pending receipt of monies from the World Cup to help them over an ongoing cash crisis; the board agreed to pay match fee’s in US Dollars. The players are being paid US$2000 per appearance and a series of US$500 bonuses based on wickets taken and fifties scored. The maximum payment was believed to be capped at around US$8000. However, fee’s will not be paid until June 2007 to stop the exodus and help cash flow.

The spectre of continued problems with the ZC board has influenced some players to cut their losses and seek to finish their careers abroad: Ireland accepted a contract to play for Gloucestershire during 2007, while opener Vusi Sibanda also left. More are thought to be considering following suit.

TWENTY2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
Zimbabwe upset Australia in its opening match of the Twenty20 World Championship in Cape Town, defeating them by 5 wickets. Brendan Taylor led the way for Zimbabwe, with first class wicket keeping (a catch, stumping and run out) and a crucial unbeaten 60 from 45 deliveries. He was man of the match. They then lost to England by 50 runs, meaning they exited the tournament at the first stage due to their net run rate being inferior to both Australia and England after Australia beat England in the other group game.

2007-8 SEASON:
There was more encouraging news in October 2007, when it was announced that Zimbabwe would compete in all three domestic competitions in South Africa as part of Cricket South Africa’s attempts to improve the standard of cricket in Zimbabwe. However, their participation in the above competitions was thrown into doubt when the plans were postponed pending a Cricket South Africa board meeting. A compromise was reached in late November, meaning Zimbabwe will take part in the MTN Domestic Championship and the Standard Bank Pro 20 Series, but not the SuperSport Series as originally planned.[6] Instead, they played three first-class four-day games against a South African Composite XI made up of franchise and provincial players. The three games, in Paarl, Potchefstroom, and Kimberley were all won by Zimbabwe.

In between those games, they played a five match One Day International series against the West Indies, scoring an upset win in the opening match before losing the series 3-1. The final match was abandoned due to rain.

FUTURE:
The immediate future does not look too promising for the Zimbabwean cricket team. The effects of the player exodus can be seen in repeatedly poor on-field performances, which have been perpetuated by the failure of domestic cricket to provide sufficient quality replacements. Whilst the likes of Streak, Ervine, Price, Goodwin, the Flower brothers, Friend, and Johnson have been awarded first-class contracts abroad, it is highly unlikely that many of the players remaining in the national side could do so, such is the gap in ability. Even ex-skipper Tatenda Taibu, a rock for the new Zimbabwe before being forced out, failed to find a first class club. In the aftermath of the 2007 World Cup, opener Vusi Sibanda and seamer Anthony Ireland both announced their departures, as rows over player contracts and representation rumbled on.

On the bright side, however, with most of the squad now aged about 20-23 years there is a good chance that by the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the team will be of reasonable strength, providing that they continue to have exposure at international level and there are no further player retirements. The batting of Sean Williams and off-spin of captain Prosper Utseya have stood up well to international-class scrutiny, while Brendan Taylor has shown promise as a reliable wicketkeeper-batsman. Terry Duffin and Hamilton Masakadza are two young players who have demonstrated their fine potential at different stages, whilst quick bowler Ed Rainsford is developing into a serious new ball threat. Whilst Zimbabwean resources are not as great as their international rivals’, this group of players represents a starting point from which a revival can be staged.

The national team’s eventual re-introduction to Test matches will give some clue as to the strength of Zimbabwe cricket in relation to the rest of the world. Most commentators predict that results, at least initially, will be poor at best, so more emphasis will be placed on individual performances, team-building, fielding, and squad cohesion than on winning matches. Realistically, it will take a long time for Zimbabwe cricket to recover from its current state to a level of respectable competitiveness, last achieved during the late 1990s/early 2000s.

NOTABLE ZIMBABWEAN CRICKETERS:

  • Eddo Brandes (chicken farmer who stunned England with a hat-trick in 1997)
  • Alistair Campbell (former captain and opening batsman)
  • Kevin Curran (former coach)
  • Andy Flower (quality wicket-keeper batsman and black arm-band demonstrator. Once ranked as top batsman in Test cricket. Former captain)
  • Grant Flower
  • David Houghton
  • Anthony Ireland – retired post 2007 Cricket World Cup
  • Neil Johnson
  • Murray Goodwin
  • Henry Olonga (quick bowler, musician and black arm-band demonstrator)
  • Heath Streak (former captain and leading wicket taker for Zimbabwe in both forms)
  • Tatenda Taibu (regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s few current international class players. First black captain)
  • Brendan Taylor (current wicket-keeper batsman)
  • John Traicos (spin bowler who broke records for longevity of Test career)
  • Guy Whittall

    * Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com, Owners of pictures and videos.

    ** Personally I would like to say that if we can all somehow get the major cricketing nations to help Zimbabwean Cricket rebuild a solid foundation and maintain its stability then it will definetly provide a challenge to the cricket teams in the top echelon in world cricket. Maybe the whole team could be based at a neutral venue elsewhere in the world? It isnt the cricketers fault that Zimbabwe Cricket has declined so badly, it is the political situation that has gripped the country in recent years, in my opinion politics shouldnt have a place in sport, especially when you look at this situation and see what it has done to a once very proud cricketing nation. Lets hope that somehow they can return to what they once were and us help them help themselves achieve that status again. Any ideas are welcome to be left as comments.

  • Posted in Andy Flower, Eddo Brandes, Faithwear Cup, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Henry Olonga, Logan Cup, Operation Murambatsvina, Paull Strang, Peter Chingoka, Rhodesia, ZCU, Zimbabwe Cricket | Leave a Comment »

    Player Profile(#26)…Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe)

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 28, 2008

    Photobucket

    Eddo André Brandes (born March 5, 1963, Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) is a former Zimbabwean cricketer who played in 10 Tests and 59 ODIs from 1987 to 1999, spanning four World Cups.

    He took a hat-trick in an ODI against England in January 1997 that is still regarded as the highest in terms of total average of the batsmen dismissed. The Mirror ran a headline proclaiming “Clucking useless!; England lose to chicken farmer” to mark the occasion, making Eddo Brandes perhaps the most famous chicken-farmer to ever play cricket. Only two months short of his 34th birthday, he remains the oldest player to have taken an ODI hat-trick.

    As of 2003 Brandes has moved to Australia to pursue a coaching career, and is currently coaching the Sunshine Coast Scorchers who play in the XXXX Gold Brisbane Grade Competition/ Tewantin-Noosa Thunder.

    He is also known for this quote:

    -Exchange between Glenn McGrath, the Australian bowler, and Eddo Brandes after McGrath gets frustrated at being unable to dismiss Brandes.

    1.McGrath: “Why are you so fat?”
    2.Brandes: “Because every time I f*** your wife she gives me a biscuit.”

    More info about Eddo Brandes can be found by right-clicking Cricinfo Profile on Eddo Brandes.

    Photobucket

    Posted in Biscuit, Chicken Farmer, Eddo André Brandes, Glenn McGrath, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Shepstone, South Africa, Sunshine Coast Scorchers, Tewantin-Noosa Thunder, XXXX Gold Brisbane Grade Competition | Leave a Comment »

    In the International Spotlight…Zimbabwe Cricket

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 27, 2008

    Photobucket
    Photobucket

    The Zimbabwean cricket team is a national cricket team representing Zimbabwe. It is administrated by Zimbabwe Cricket (formerly known as the Zimbabwe Cricket Union or ZCU).

    Zimbabwe is a full member of the International Cricket Council (I.C.C.) with Test and One Day International status, although it is currently inactive in Tests (see below).

    In common with all the other full members of the I.C.C., Zimbabwe had a cricket team before it achieved Test status.

    A brief summary of key moments:

    Zimbabwe(formerly Rhodesia) was represented in the South African tournament, the Currie Cup, between the wars, and then again from 1946.
    Following independence in 1980, the country began to play more international cricket.
    On July 21, 1981 Zimbabwe was elected an associate member of the ICC.
    Zimbabwe then participated in the 1983 cricket World Cup, as well as the 1987 and 1992 events.

    TEST STATUS:
    Zimbabwe played its first Test match in 1992 (against India at Harare resulting in a draw), becoming the ninth Test nation.

    Zimbabwe’s early Test performances were consistently weak, leading to many suggestions that they were undeserving of that status. In the one-day arena, however, the team soon became competitive, if not particularly strong. In particular, world respect was gained for their fielding ability.

    1990s:
    In spite of his team’s difficulties, wicket-keeper/batsman Andy Flower was at one point rated the best batsman in world cricket. During this era, Zimbabwe also produced such cricketers as Flower’s brother Grant, allrounder (and later national captain) Heath Streak and professional chicken farmer Eddo Brandes, who achieved considerable fame as a bowler. Murray Goodwin was also a world-class batsman; following his retirement from international cricket, he has scored heavily for Sussex. Sometime captain and middle order batsman Alistair Campbell, leg-spinning all rounder Paul Strang, and pace bowler/opener Neil Johnson were other important contributors for Zimbabwe on the world stage at this time.

    With the appearance of some quality players, a breakthrough was achieved in levels of performance in the late 1990s where the Zimbabwean team began winning tests against other nations, which included a series win against Pakistan. Unfortunately, the political situation in Zimbabwe declined at around the same time, which had a detrimental effect on the national team’s performances.

    THE 2003 CRICKET WORLD CUP:
    Increasing politicization of cricket, including selectorial policy, along with the declining situation in Zimbabwe disrupted the 2003 cricket World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    England forfeited a match scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe, risking their own progress through the competition, citing “security concerns” as their reason.

    Zimbabwean players Andy Flower and fast bowler Henry Olonga wore black armbands, for “mourning the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe. Both were immediately dismissed from the team and applied for political asylum overseas. This public political protest caused considerable embarrassment to the co-hosts and disrupted team harmony.

    Since the 2003 World Cup, with a succession of Zimbabwe’s best players ending their international careers early, a new side began to develop, featuring the likes of Travis Friend, Andy Blignaut, Craig Wishart, Ray Price, Sean Ervine, Mark Vermeulen, Douglas Marillier, and Barney Rogers. Whilst not of the same calibre of Streak, Goodwin, and the Flower brothers, this new breed of predominatly multi-disciplined players formed a solid backbone to a competitive, if usually unsuccessful, side.

    In late 2003, Zimbabwe toured Australia in a two-match series. The series was more memorable for Australian opener Matthew Hayden’s innings in the first Test – in which he overcame a back strain to score a then record 380 runs – than for the Zimbabwean performance.

    THE STREAK AFFAIR:
    In 2004, captain Heath Streak was sacked by the ZCU, prompting an on-field streaking by 14 other players during an Australia-Zimbabwe match in protest of political influence in the team’s selection.

    Because of this, the ZCU accepted that Zimbabwe were to play no further Test cricket in 2004, though its status as a Test nation was unaffected.

    In early 2005, Heath Streak was reinstated into the national side, but the political situation in Zimbabwe involving Operation Murambatsvina disrupted the Zimbabwean team. During overseas tours, the players were often said to be buying necessities which were unavailable – or prohibitively expensive – at home, as opposed to the souvenirs which other touring teams would purchase.

    In 2005 an agreement was signed which led to the return of many of the rebels to the Zimbabwe side. However, results failed to improve as in March Zimbabwe lost both their Tests on tour against South Africa by an innings. Worse was to follow in August, when they were crushed on home soil by New Zealand, in a match that was completed in just two days, instead of the usual five. In the process, Zimbabwe were humiliated; they became only the second side in Test history (after India in 1952) to be bowled out twice in the space of one day. Then they lost both their tests to India at home later in September. After the series against India, Streak announced his retirement from international cricket, dealing yet another blow to the beleagured team.

    By November 2005, the players were once again in dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket over political interference in the management of the game as well as contract negotiations, and the new captain, Tatenda Taibu, resigned from international cricket.

    By January 2006, 37 Zimbabwean cricketers had failed to receive any offer of renegotiation talks from Zimbabwe Cricket after their contracts with the board had expired. This body of players demanded that the chairman and managing director of Zimbabwe cricket, Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute, be removed from office for there to be any hope for the players to return to the international stage.

    On January 6, 2006, the Sports and Recreation Commission, a division of the Zimbabwean government, took over the offices of Zimbabwe Cricket. The apparent takeover has resulted in the firing of all whites and Asians among the board directors, because of “their racial connotations and saving their own agendas and not government policy” according to Gibson Mashingaidze, an army brigadier and chairman of the government’s Sports and Recreation Commission.

    An interim board was appointed as the new leading party of cricket in Zimbabwe, with Peter Chingoka appointed as the committee’s head. Given Chingoka’s close ties to Bvute, it is likely that the latter will continue in his post as well.

    SELF-IMPOSED TEST SUSPENSION:
    On 18 January 2006, Zimbabwe Cricket announced that they were suspending the playing of Test cricket for the rest of that year. Zimbabwe’s coach Kevin Curran has said that Zimbabwe are aiming to play their next Test against the West Indies in November 2007. It is currently felt by observers that the Zimbabwean national team is not of sufficient Test standard, and that competing against Full Member sides would do little to improve standards, given the likely one-sided nature of the games. Bangladesh, for a long time seen as the ‘whipping boys’ of Test cricket, recorded their first win against Zimbabwe, and are now generally regarded as being of a superior standard.

    Domestically, the Logan Cup – Zimbabwe’s first class competition played amongst the provinces – was cancelled in 2006 for the first time since its inception over a century ago (though the Cup was not played during some of the years of the World Wars). This was widely seen as due to concern by ZC that the standard of play would be so poor as to be both not worthwhile and potentially harmful to the external image of cricket in Zimbabwe. The one-day trophy, the Faithwear Cup, was contested, and drew complaints from observers that the quality was less than club level. As well as player exodus, the main reason for this catastrophic fall in standards was put down to wrangling within Zimbabwe Cricket, where internal politics motivated the removal of the historic provinces and their replacement with revamped, newly-designated provincial teams.

    In a further harmful incident, ex-player Mark Vermeulen was arrested after attempting to burn down ZC’s offices, and successfully destroying the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy’s premises. In a nation in increasing social and economic turmoil, such facilities are hard to replace, and their loss has proven difficult to manage for a cricket administration already short of top quality facilities.

    The ICC has not supported Zimbabwe’s return to full Test status until the national team can perform consistently at that level and compete competitively against other test sides.

    2007 CRICKET WORLD CUP:
    In the period coming up to the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, and to stop a similar exodus of players after the 2003 World Cup, the selected players were asked to sign a new contract. The players were summoned to meet Ozias Bvute, Zimbabwe Cricket’s managing director, a week or so before they were due to set off and given an ultimatum – sign the contract on offer or be removed from the squad. It is understood that they were not allowed to take advice and were told they had to make the decision there and then.

    One player told his team-mates that there were certain things contained in the contracts that needed clarification. He was summoned back into Bvute’s office and warned that it was a take-it-or-leave -it offer: this player was later revealed to be Anthony Ireland. Another said that when he told Bvute he wanted to consult with friends, Bvute picked up the phone and called Kenyon Ziehl, the head of selection, and told him he wanted the player replaced in the squad. Unsurprisingly, the player backed down and signed.

    In light of the poor state of Zimbabwe’s finances, and that Zimbabwe Cricket had to borrow around US$1 million in early 2007 pending receipt of monies from the World Cup to help them over an ongoing cash crisis; the board agreed to pay match fee’s in US Dollars. The players are being paid US$2000 per appearance and a series of US$500 bonuses based on wickets taken and fifties scored. The maximum payment was believed to be capped at around US$8000. However, fee’s will not be paid until June 2007 to stop the exodus and help cash flow.

    The spectre of continued problems with the ZC board has influenced some players to cut their losses and seek to finish their careers abroad: Ireland accepted a contract to play for Gloucestershire during 2007, while opener Vusi Sibanda also left. More are thought to be considering following suit.

    TWENTY2O WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
    Zimbabwe upset Australia in its opening match of the Twenty20 World Championship in Cape Town, defeating them by 5 wickets. Brendan Taylor led the way for Zimbabwe, with first class wicket keeping (a catch, stumping and run out) and a crucial unbeaten 60 from 45 deliveries. He was man of the match. They then lost to England by 50 runs, meaning they exited the tournament at the first stage due to their net run rate being inferior to both Australia and England after Australia beat England in the other group game.

    2007-8 SEASON:
    There was more encouraging news in October 2007, when it was announced that Zimbabwe would compete in all three domestic competitions in South Africa as part of Cricket South Africa’s attempts to improve the standard of cricket in Zimbabwe. However, their participation in the above competitions was thrown into doubt when the plans were postponed pending a Cricket South Africa board meeting. A compromise was reached in late November, meaning Zimbabwe will take part in the MTN Domestic Championship and the Standard Bank Pro 20 Series, but not the SuperSport Series as originally planned.[6] Instead, they played three first-class four-day games against a South African Composite XI made up of franchise and provincial players. The three games, in Paarl, Potchefstroom, and Kimberley were all won by Zimbabwe.

    In between those games, they played a five match One Day International series against the West Indies, scoring an upset win in the opening match before losing the series 3-1. The final match was abandoned due to rain.

    FUTURE:
    The immediate future does not look too promising for the Zimbabwean cricket team. The effects of the player exodus can be seen in repeatedly poor on-field performances, which have been perpetuated by the failure of domestic cricket to provide sufficient quality replacements. Whilst the likes of Streak, Ervine, Price, Goodwin, the Flower brothers, Friend, and Johnson have been awarded first-class contracts abroad, it is highly unlikely that many of the players remaining in the national side could do so, such is the gap in ability. Even ex-skipper Tatenda Taibu, a rock for the new Zimbabwe before being forced out, failed to find a first class club. In the aftermath of the 2007 World Cup, opener Vusi Sibanda and seamer Anthony Ireland both announced their departures, as rows over player contracts and representation rumbled on.

    On the bright side, however, with most of the squad now aged about 20-23 years there is a good chance that by the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the team will be of reasonable strength, providing that they continue to have exposure at international level and there are no further player retirements. The batting of Sean Williams and off-spin of captain Prosper Utseya have stood up well to international-class scrutiny, while Brendan Taylor has shown promise as a reliable wicketkeeper-batsman. Terry Duffin and Hamilton Masakadza are two young players who have demonstrated their fine potential at different stages, whilst quick bowler Ed Rainsford is developing into a serious new ball threat. Whilst Zimbabwean resources are not as great as their international rivals’, this group of players represents a starting point from which a revival can be staged.

    The national team’s eventual re-introduction to Test matches will give some clue as to the strength of Zimbabwe cricket in relation to the rest of the world. Most commentators predict that results, at least initially, will be poor at best, so more emphasis will be placed on individual performances, team-building, fielding, and squad cohesion than on winning matches. Realistically, it will take a long time for Zimbabwe cricket to recover from its current state to a level of respectable competitiveness, last achieved during the late 1990s/early 2000s.

    NOTABLE ZIMBABWEAN CRICKETERS:

  • Eddo Brandes (chicken farmer who stunned England with a hat-trick in 1997)
  • Alistair Campbell (former captain and opening batsman)
  • Kevin Curran (former coach)
  • Andy Flower (quality wicket-keeper batsman and black arm-band demonstrator. Once ranked as top batsman in Test cricket. Former captain)
  • Grant Flower
  • David Houghton
  • Anthony Ireland – retired post 2007 Cricket World Cup[11]
  • Neil Johnson
  • Murray Goodwin
  • Henry Olonga (quick bowler, musician and black arm-band demonstrator)
  • Heath Streak (former captain and leading wicket taker for Zimbabwe in both forms)
  • Tatenda Taibu (regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s few current international class players. First black captain)
  • Brendan Taylor (current wicket-keeper batsman)
  • John Traicos (spin bowler who broke records for longevity of Test career)
  • Guy Whittall

    * Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com, Owners of pictures and videos.

    ** Personally I would like to say that if we can all somehow get the major cricketing nations to help Zimbabwean Cricket rebuild a solid foundation and maintain its stability then it will definetly provide a challenge to the cricket teams in the top echelon in world cricket. Maybe the whole team could be based at a neutral venue elsewhere in the world? It isnt the cricketers fault that Zimbabwe Cricket has declined so badly, it is the political situation that has gripped the country in recent years, in my opinion politics shouldnt have a place in sport, especially when you look at this situation and see what it has done to a once very proud cricketing nation. Lets hope that somehow they can return to what they once were and us help them help themselves achieve that status again. Any ideas are welcome to be left as comments.

  • Posted in Andy Flower, Eddo Brandes, Faithwear Cup, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Henry Olonga, Logan Cup, Operation Murambatsvina, Paull Strang, Peter Chingoka, Rhodesia, ZCU, Zimbabwe Cricket | Leave a Comment »

    Player Profile(#25)…Ricky Ponting (Australia)

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 21, 2008

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    Ricky Thomas Ponting (born December 19, 1974, in Launceston, Tasmania) is a professional Australian cricketer and current captain of the Australian cricket team in One Day International, Twenty20 International and Test cricket. Ponting also represents the Tasmanian Tigers in Australian Domestic cricket, a side he plays for intermittently due to international commitments. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional right-arm medium pace bowler.

    Ponting reached international standards at a young age for a batsman, making his One Day International and Test debuts in 1995 at the age of 20. However, his progress was not unhindered. He lost his place in the team several times due to lack of form and discipline issues, before rising to the One Day International captaincy in early 2002 and becoming Test captain in early 2004. As of March 2008, he is the third highest ranked batsman in both One Day International cricket and Test matches in the official ICC ratings.

    Ricky Ponting is considered one of the best cricketers in modern cricket, and is ranked 3rd, Graeme Smith and Sachin Tendulkar are the only ones to lead him at the moment, in the One-Day International Batting chart and only Kumar Sangakkara, team mate Michael Hussey and Jacques Kallis ahead in the test rankings. He has scored over 10,000 Test runs at an average near 59, but since the February 2002 tour of South Africa (when he was elevated to the ODI team captaincy) he has scored 24 of his Test centuries and averaged above 74, leading to comparisons with Sir Donald Bradman.

    Ponting is also Australia’s leading ODI run-scorer and century maker he has the second most centuries ever, behind only Tendulkar. His century against the West Indies in Jaipur at the 1996 Cricket World Cup made him the youngest ever World Cup centurion, and his unbeaten 140 against India in the 2003 Cricket World Cup final was the highest by a captain in a World Cup final. In 2007 Cricket World Cup match against South Africa at St Kitts, Ponting became the first Australian to reach 10,000 runs in ODI Cricket and the 7th in world cricket to achieve this distinction.

    Like many Australian batsmen, Ricky Ponting is particularly strong against pace bowling, with the full array of back foot shots, including the pull, hook, and square cut. Early on, he was regarded as a near-compulsive hooker, but he has lately moderated this tendency. He tends to move across his off stump, and has therefore been regarded as vulnerable to LBW early in his innings. He is less adept against spin bowling, particularly on very helpful spinning pitches such as those in India where his average is just 12.28.

    After his first 30 Tests in just under four years his average was 38.62, and after rising into the mid-40s had dipped again to 40.50 after 45 Tests. Since that time his average has consistently risen; his averages in recent calendar years are 70.93 in 2002, 100.20 in 2003, 41.00 in 2004, 67.13 in 2005 and 88.86 in 2006.[5]

    Ponting occasionally bowls medium pace, and has also experimented with off-spin. He is an outstanding fieldsman square of the wicket or at silly point, with fast reactions and hand-eye coordination and (especially in the one-day game) a reputation for hitting the stumps to run out opposition batsmen. In a test against West Indies in 2008, Ricky Ponting scored his 10000th run.

    CAREER RECORDS:

    Batting Records-

  • Most Test runs in a calendar year by an Australian: 1,544 in 2005. Ponting has passed 1,000 test runs in a calendar year on four separate occasions, in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
  • Most Test centuries in a calendar year by an Australian: 7 in 2006
  • Most Test centuries by an Australian: 34
  • Most ODI runs by an Australian: 11,594
  • Most ODI centuries by an Australian: 26
  • Most ODI fifties by an Australian: 63
  • Most runs by an Australian in World Cups: 1,537
  • Most sixes in a World Cup innings: 8, shared with Imran Nazir and Yuvraj Singh
  • Most centuries in World Cups: 4, equal with Mark Waugh, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar
  • Most Test runs on Australian soil: surpassing Allan Border during the Third Test in Perth against India, 16-19 Jan 2008.

    Captaincy Records-

  • Most victories as ODI captain: 122
  • Highest victory rate as ODI captain in more than 20 matches: 77.90%
  • Highest victory rate as Test captain in more than 20 matches: 77.14%
  • Most Cricket World Cup victories as captain: 22
  • Most Cricket World Cups won as captain: 2, shared with Clive Lloyd
  • Most consecutive Test victories won as captain: 16, shared with Steve Waugh

    INDIVIDUAL HONOURS:

  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World: 2003
  • Wisden Cricketer of the Year: 2006
  • Allan Border Medal: 2004, 2006, 2007
  • Australian Test Player of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2007
  • Australian ODI Player of the Year: 2002, 2007
  • ICC Player of the Year: 2006, 2007
  • ICC Captain of the Year: 2007
  • ICC Test Player of the Year: 2006
  • ICC World Test XI: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • ICC World ODI XI: 2004, 2006, 2007
  • Cricket World Cup winner: 1999, 2003, 2007
  • Ponting had earned 14 “Man of the Match” awards in 110 Tests; he also has 25 such awards in 285 One-Day Internationals (including the joint award which he had declined from the Johannesburg match).
  • Named Vice-Captain in Australia’s greatest ever ODI team.

    PERSONAL LIFE:

    With the large financial rewards of international cricket, Ponting is a full-time professional cricketer, although he is involved with Stride Sports, a sports management business which is well-known for managing some of the biggest names in the AFL – including Glenn Archer and Cameron Mooney.

    A well-known off-field interest of Ponting’s is betting on horse and greyhound races, revealed by his nickname, “Punter”. Ponting is a talented golfer, playing off a handicap of 1.7.

    Ricky married his long-time girlfriend, law student Rianna Jennifer Cantor, in June 2002. He has himself credited her as a reason for the maturity evident in his game in recent years. Ponting is a keen supporter – and number one ticket holder – of the North Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League. On 9 August 2007, Ponting appeared on The AFL Footy Show where he talked about his desire to become a Kangaroos board member.

    Ricky and wife Rianna have a superstitious liking for the number 14. On 26 February 2008, Ponting and his wife Rianna announced that they expecting their first child.

    He also has a fanclub website dedicated to him, it is http://www.rickyponting.net.

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    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com and the owners of the two pictures used.

  • Posted in Australia, Australian, Cricket Captain, Launceston, Punter, Rianna Jennifer Cantor, Ricky Ponting, Stride Sports, Tasmania Tigers, www.rickyponting.net | Leave a Comment »

    In the International Spotlight…South Africa Cricket

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 21, 2008

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    The South African cricket team, also known as The Proteas are a national cricket team representing South Africa. They are administrated by Cricket South Africa.

    South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council with Test and One Day International status. Between February 18, 2007 and April 7, 2007, South Africa was ranked at the top of the ICC One-Day International rankings.

    Cricket in South Africa was established by the British, and the first tour by a side from England took place in 1888-89. Here South Africa played its first Test match (against touring England at Port Elizabeth), becoming the third Test nation.

    In 1970, the ICC voted to suspend South Africa from international cricket indefinitely because of its government’s policy of apartheid, an overtly racist policy, which led them to play only against the white nations (England, Australia, New Zealand), and field only white players. This decision excluded players such as Graeme Pollock from partaking in international Test Cricket. It would also cause the emigration of future stars like Allan Lamb and Robin Smith, who both played for England, and Kepler Wessels, who initially played for Australia, before returning to South Africa.

    The ICC reinstated South Africa as a Test nation in 1991 after the deconstruction of apartheid, and the team played its first sanctioned match since 1970 (and its first ever One-Day International) against India in Calcutta on 10 November 1991.

    Since South Africa have been reinstated they have achieved mixed success, and hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003. However, it is widely believed the sides containing the likes of Alan Donald, Shaun Pollock, and Hansie Cronje, grossly underachieved, gaining a reputation as chokers, due to them reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup three times, but failing to progress into the finals, with Herschelle Gibbs famously dropping Australian captain Steve Waugh in 1999 in a league game. They have also had bad press for choking in vital matches in other important tournaments including the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.

    With Donald retiring, Cronje banned for match-fixing and later killed in a plane crash, and Pollock nearing the end of his career, the team has once again changed shape. Due to a racial quota policy, the side now contains black players, unlike the past, it is currently captained by Graeme Smith, although following injuries to Smith and Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince was appointed Test captain on July 12, 2006. At the age of 29, he became the first non-white man to captain the once all-white South African cricket team.

    South Africa has an unfortunate record of failing to win major tournaments. The 1992 cricket World Cup, for example, featured a rain-affected match played before the introduction of the Duckworth-Lewis method. South Africa was left in the ludicrous situation of requiring 22 runs from one ball in order to progress. At the 1999 Cricket World Cup, South Africa played against Australia in the last Super Six match as well as the knock-out semifinal. Australia defeated the Proteas in the Super Six match and recorded a thrilling tie in the semifinal, which was enough to knock the Africans out of the tournament since Australia had previously beaten them (in the match immediately beforehand). It is in the Super Six match that Steve Waugh is reputed to have told Herschelle Gibbs “Mate, you just dropped the World Cup” when the latter dropped him en route to a match-winning century, a comment which has to the disappointment of many a cricket fan been denied by Waugh himself in interviews. The image of the South Africans following the run-out of their last batsman has become an iconic sporting image, referenced by The Twelfth Man, among others.

    South Africa hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, but failed to progress beyond the group stage due to a misunderstanding of how many runs they needed to score in a rain-affected run chase. As a result of this, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and was replaced by young batsman Graeme Smith, although Pollock continued to play for the team. Under Smith’s leadership, South Africa has achieved some success, although they have been hampered by the retirements of many star players, including fast bowler Allan Donald and one-day specialist Jonty Rhodes. As a result, they had a poor 2004, only winning against the West Indies.

    South Africa became the world’s No. 1 ranked side early in 2007 but then failed to deliver once again in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. They had a rollercoaster ride that included dominant wins over England, the West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland, and a narrow win over Sri Lanka, but devastating losses to Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh that cost them the number one ranking. Then they bowed out in the semifinals with their lowest ever score in a World Cup as Australia bowled them out for 149 and won by 7 wickets. South Africa are regarded by many as the best team never to have won the Cricket World Cup.

    However, they won the inaugural ICC Champions Trophy in 1998, beating West Indies in the finals, and also won the first and most likely the only Commonwealth Games gold in cricket in the same year. They are currently ranked No.1 in the world in the One-Day International Cricket rankings and are rated in the top five for Test cricket rankings. This is due to a long streak from January to November 2005, in which they were not defeated. They gained the top position in the ODI rankings after Australia’s defeat in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series, but lost it during the 2007 World Cup.

    They also hold the record of the Largest Successful Run Chase and the Second Highest Team Total in One-Day Internationals (438-9 in 49.5 overs), in an iconic match against Australia on 12 March 2006. This game is considered by many to be the greatest One-Day International ever played.

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    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com, Owners of pictures

    Posted in 438-9, Alan Donald, apartheid, Hansie Cronje, Johannesburg, Kepler Wessels, Newlands, Proteas, South Africa | Leave a Comment »

    Player Profile(#25)…Ricky Ponting (Australia)

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 21, 2008

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    Ricky Thomas Ponting (born December 19, 1974, in Launceston, Tasmania) is a professional Australian cricketer and current captain of the Australian cricket team in One Day International, Twenty20 International and Test cricket. Ponting also represents the Tasmanian Tigers in Australian Domestic cricket, a side he plays for intermittently due to international commitments. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very occasional right-arm medium pace bowler.

    Ponting reached international standards at a young age for a batsman, making his One Day International and Test debuts in 1995 at the age of 20. However, his progress was not unhindered. He lost his place in the team several times due to lack of form and discipline issues, before rising to the One Day International captaincy in early 2002 and becoming Test captain in early 2004. As of March 2008, he is the third highest ranked batsman in both One Day International cricket and Test matches in the official ICC ratings.

    Ricky Ponting is considered one of the best cricketers in modern cricket, and is ranked 3rd, Graeme Smith and Sachin Tendulkar are the only ones to lead him at the moment, in the One-Day International Batting chart and only Kumar Sangakkara, team mate Michael Hussey and Jacques Kallis ahead in the test rankings. He has scored over 10,000 Test runs at an average near 59, but since the February 2002 tour of South Africa (when he was elevated to the ODI team captaincy) he has scored 24 of his Test centuries and averaged above 74, leading to comparisons with Sir Donald Bradman.

    Ponting is also Australia’s leading ODI run-scorer and century maker he has the second most centuries ever, behind only Tendulkar. His century against the West Indies in Jaipur at the 1996 Cricket World Cup made him the youngest ever World Cup centurion, and his unbeaten 140 against India in the 2003 Cricket World Cup final was the highest by a captain in a World Cup final. In 2007 Cricket World Cup match against South Africa at St Kitts, Ponting became the first Australian to reach 10,000 runs in ODI Cricket and the 7th in world cricket to achieve this distinction.

    Like many Australian batsmen, Ricky Ponting is particularly strong against pace bowling, with the full array of back foot shots, including the pull, hook, and square cut. Early on, he was regarded as a near-compulsive hooker, but he has lately moderated this tendency. He tends to move across his off stump, and has therefore been regarded as vulnerable to LBW early in his innings. He is less adept against spin bowling, particularly on very helpful spinning pitches such as those in India where his average is just 12.28.

    After his first 30 Tests in just under four years his average was 38.62, and after rising into the mid-40s had dipped again to 40.50 after 45 Tests. Since that time his average has consistently risen; his averages in recent calendar years are 70.93 in 2002, 100.20 in 2003, 41.00 in 2004, 67.13 in 2005 and 88.86 in 2006.[5]

    Ponting occasionally bowls medium pace, and has also experimented with off-spin. He is an outstanding fieldsman square of the wicket or at silly point, with fast reactions and hand-eye coordination and (especially in the one-day game) a reputation for hitting the stumps to run out opposition batsmen. In a test against West Indies in 2008, Ricky Ponting scored his 10000th run.

    CAREER RECORDS:

    Batting Records-

  • Most Test runs in a calendar year by an Australian: 1,544 in 2005. Ponting has passed 1,000 test runs in a calendar year on four separate occasions, in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
  • Most Test centuries in a calendar year by an Australian: 7 in 2006
  • Most Test centuries by an Australian: 34
  • Most ODI runs by an Australian: 11,594
  • Most ODI centuries by an Australian: 26
  • Most ODI fifties by an Australian: 63
  • Most runs by an Australian in World Cups: 1,537
  • Most sixes in a World Cup innings: 8, shared with Imran Nazir and Yuvraj Singh
  • Most centuries in World Cups: 4, equal with Mark Waugh, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar
  • Most Test runs on Australian soil: surpassing Allan Border during the Third Test in Perth against India, 16-19 Jan 2008.

    Captaincy Records-

  • Most victories as ODI captain: 122
  • Highest victory rate as ODI captain in more than 20 matches: 77.90%
  • Highest victory rate as Test captain in more than 20 matches: 77.14%
  • Most Cricket World Cup victories as captain: 22
  • Most Cricket World Cups won as captain: 2, shared with Clive Lloyd
  • Most consecutive Test victories won as captain: 16, shared with Steve Waugh

    INDIVIDUAL HONOURS:

  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World: 2003
  • Wisden Cricketer of the Year: 2006
  • Allan Border Medal: 2004, 2006, 2007
  • Australian Test Player of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2007
  • Australian ODI Player of the Year: 2002, 2007
  • ICC Player of the Year: 2006, 2007
  • ICC Captain of the Year: 2007
  • ICC Test Player of the Year: 2006
  • ICC World Test XI: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • ICC World ODI XI: 2004, 2006, 2007
  • Cricket World Cup winner: 1999, 2003, 2007
  • Ponting had earned 14 “Man of the Match” awards in 110 Tests; he also has 25 such awards in 285 One-Day Internationals (including the joint award which he had declined from the Johannesburg match).
  • Named Vice-Captain in Australia’s greatest ever ODI team.

    PERSONAL LIFE:

    With the large financial rewards of international cricket, Ponting is a full-time professional cricketer, although he is involved with Stride Sports, a sports management business which is well-known for managing some of the biggest names in the AFL – including Glenn Archer and Cameron Mooney.

    A well-known off-field interest of Ponting’s is betting on horse and greyhound races, revealed by his nickname, “Punter”. Ponting is a talented golfer, playing off a handicap of 1.7.

    Ricky married his long-time girlfriend, law student Rianna Jennifer Cantor, in June 2002. He has himself credited her as a reason for the maturity evident in his game in recent years. Ponting is a keen supporter – and number one ticket holder – of the North Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League. On 9 August 2007, Ponting appeared on The AFL Footy Show where he talked about his desire to become a Kangaroos board member.

    Ricky and wife Rianna have a superstitious liking for the number 14. On 26 February 2008, Ponting and his wife Rianna announced that they expecting their first child.

    He also has a fanclub website dedicated to him, it is http://www.rickyponting.net.

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    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com and the owners of the two pictures used.

  • Posted in Australia, Australian, Cricket Captain, Launceston, Punter, Rianna Jennifer Cantor, Ricky Ponting, Stride Sports, Tasmania Tigers, www.rickyponting.net | Leave a Comment »

    In the International Spotlight…South Africa Cricket

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 20, 2008

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    The South African cricket team, also known as The Proteas are a national cricket team representing South Africa. They are administrated by Cricket South Africa.

    South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council with Test and One Day International status. Between February 18, 2007 and April 7, 2007, South Africa was ranked at the top of the ICC One-Day International rankings.

    Cricket in South Africa was established by the British, and the first tour by a side from England took place in 1888-89. Here South Africa played its first Test match (against touring England at Port Elizabeth), becoming the third Test nation.

    In 1970, the ICC voted to suspend South Africa from international cricket indefinitely because of its government’s policy of apartheid, an overtly racist policy, which led them to play only against the white nations (England, Australia, New Zealand), and field only white players. This decision excluded players such as Graeme Pollock from partaking in international Test Cricket. It would also cause the emigration of future stars like Allan Lamb and Robin Smith, who both played for England, and Kepler Wessels, who initially played for Australia, before returning to South Africa.

    The ICC reinstated South Africa as a Test nation in 1991 after the deconstruction of apartheid, and the team played its first sanctioned match since 1970 (and its first ever One-Day International) against India in Calcutta on 10 November 1991.

    Since South Africa have been reinstated they have achieved mixed success, and hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003. However, it is widely believed the sides containing the likes of Alan Donald, Shaun Pollock, and Hansie Cronje, grossly underachieved, gaining a reputation as chokers, due to them reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup three times, but failing to progress into the finals, with Herschelle Gibbs famously dropping Australian captain Steve Waugh in 1999 in a league game. They have also had bad press for choking in vital matches in other important tournaments including the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.

    With Donald retiring, Cronje banned for match-fixing and later killed in a plane crash, and Pollock nearing the end of his career, the team has once again changed shape. Due to a racial quota policy, the side now contains black players, unlike the past, it is currently captained by Graeme Smith, although following injuries to Smith and Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince was appointed Test captain on July 12, 2006. At the age of 29, he became the first non-white man to captain the once all-white South African cricket team.

    South Africa has an unfortunate record of failing to win major tournaments. The 1992 cricket World Cup, for example, featured a rain-affected match played before the introduction of the Duckworth-Lewis method. South Africa was left in the ludicrous situation of requiring 22 runs from one ball in order to progress. At the 1999 Cricket World Cup, South Africa played against Australia in the last Super Six match as well as the knock-out semifinal. Australia defeated the Proteas in the Super Six match and recorded a thrilling tie in the semifinal, which was enough to knock the Africans out of the tournament since Australia had previously beaten them (in the match immediately beforehand). It is in the Super Six match that Steve Waugh is reputed to have told Herschelle Gibbs “Mate, you just dropped the World Cup” when the latter dropped him en route to a match-winning century, a comment which has to the disappointment of many a cricket fan been denied by Waugh himself in interviews. The image of the South Africans following the run-out of their last batsman has become an iconic sporting image, referenced by The Twelfth Man, among others.

    South Africa hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, but failed to progress beyond the group stage due to a misunderstanding of how many runs they needed to score in a rain-affected run chase. As a result of this, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and was replaced by young batsman Graeme Smith, although Pollock continued to play for the team. Under Smith’s leadership, South Africa has achieved some success, although they have been hampered by the retirements of many star players, including fast bowler Allan Donald and one-day specialist Jonty Rhodes. As a result, they had a poor 2004, only winning against the West Indies.

    South Africa became the world’s No. 1 ranked side early in 2007 but then failed to deliver once again in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. They had a rollercoaster ride that included dominant wins over England, the West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland, and a narrow win over Sri Lanka, but devastating losses to Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh that cost them the number one ranking. Then they bowed out in the semifinals with their lowest ever score in a World Cup as Australia bowled them out for 149 and won by 7 wickets. South Africa are regarded by many as the best team never to have won the Cricket World Cup.

    However, they won the inaugural ICC Champions Trophy in 1998, beating West Indies in the finals, and also won the first and most likely the only Commonwealth Games gold in cricket in the same year. They are currently ranked No.1 in the world in the One-Day International Cricket rankings and are rated in the top five for Test cricket rankings. This is due to a long streak from January to November 2005, in which they were not defeated. They gained the top position in the ODI rankings after Australia’s defeat in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series, but lost it during the 2007 World Cup.

    They also hold the record of the Largest Successful Run Chase and the Second Highest Team Total in One-Day Internationals (438-9 in 49.5 overs), in an iconic match against Australia on 12 March 2006. This game is considered by many to be the greatest One-Day International ever played.

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    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com, Owners of pictures

    Posted in 438-9, Alan Donald, apartheid, Hansie Cronje, Johannesburg, Kepler Wessels, Newlands, Proteas, South Africa | Leave a Comment »

    APOLOGIES!

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 16, 2008

    To all my fans and readers of my cricket blog,

    I apologise for not publishing any content for the last 3 or so weeks now, due to issues in my personal life I’ve needed to switch my focus from this blogsite to my personal issues temporarily. Within the week I will begin posting articles as usual. Also I invite other cricket fans to be co-authors for materials published on my site as this will greatly enhance the quality of my site and will be an excellent aid in its progress.

    Look forward to hearing from you all and don’t worry this blogsite will definetly be up and running again very shortly:)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    APOLOGIES!

    Posted by wildkiwi25 on June 15, 2008

    To all my fans and readers of my cricket blog,

    I apologise for not publishing any content for the last 3 or so weeks now, due to issues in my personal life I’ve needed to switch my focus from this blogsite to my personal issues temporarily. Within the week I will begin posting articles as usual. Also I invite other cricket fans to be co-authors for materials published on my site as this will greatly enhance the quality of my site and will be an excellent aid in its progress.

    Look forward to hearing from you all and don’t worry this blogsite will definetly be up and running again very shortly:)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »