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Australia in for a rude awakening.

November 15, 2012 in cricket

You can call them chokers, you can call them arrogant heck you can even go as far as calling them inconsistent but don’t ever knock the Proteas when they are down because you’re likely to get a rude awakening.

The first test match between South Africa and Australia was drawn and it’s been widely and publicly, through the media been reported that Australia dominated the test match. be that as it will, the fact remains that it was still a draw and the score still reads 0-0.

Whats interesting for me is the fact that Australia have been chirping away since the end of the match, with Michael Clarke saying he expects the same from his team through out the series and that if they can get our captain Graeme Smith out cheaply all the time that the Proteas will fail. David Warner has also come out and said our batsmen are distracted and cannot bat for long periods of time and that our minds are not focused, says the guy that has only played 10 tests and averages below 40.

Well let me make a sound warning to the Aussies. you are dealing with one of the steeliest and mentally powerful players in the form of Graeme Smith and to think that your so called “captain Killer” scenario will happen in this series is foolish to say the least. lets remember Smith himself has downed three English captains already, knock him when he’s down and he’ll come out and treat your bowlers as if they are a disease he has come to cure, as he has done so many times in the past. don’t mess with our captain. he’ll stuff you up

Trying to sledge Amla and get under his skin??? the most focused cricketer on the planet? bad mistake, he’ll make a pitch with boulders on it look as flat as a concrete slab.Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Philander not the best in the world? let us not remind you of the 47 you were bowled out for just a couple of seasons ago.

 

Bring your mind games, you are dealing with the number 1 ranked team in the world and we sure as hell didn’t get there by falling for mediocre tactics such as the ones you have presented.

This Australia, is the awkward truth.

 

South Africa will bounce back in the second test, and all the Big mouthed Australians will be hushed

 

Graeme Smith Already a Legend

November 6, 2012 in cricket

I have often been criticized for being too “Pro-Graeme Smith” for perhaps praising him a bit to much when he might sometimes not deserve it (or at least some think he does not deserve it) Often, around braai’s or during a general discussion the moment I bring up Graeme Smith people tend to look down and frown upon me. The reason for this is simple, you see South Africans just don’t appreciate the man as much as he should be appreciated and that’s a fact. I could also go as far as saying a country like England appreciates Smith more than we do – another fact. Graeme Smith’s early days as captain really screwed him, they called him arrogant, selfish and bossy, perhaps true at the time, but the Graeme Smith you see walking onto the field these days is South Africa’s and the worlds most astute captain the cricketing world has ever seen and for that credit must and shall be given.

 

It’s not just his batting record that must be praised, what with 8300 runs at an average of 50 with 25 hundreds as a left handed opening batsmen? I dare you to try and find a more prolific test opener that is still playing the game today. Add to that his Captain slaying ability and the fact that South Africa have never lost a test match when he has scored a century it all becomes clear that Graeme Smith is something special indeed.

Plenty more of this for Smith

 

One of the more standout qualities Biff has is his ability to perform under immense pressure and get his team over the line when it matters the most. Take his series winning 154 against England on an almost unplayable pitch when big names like Amla, Kallis and de Villiers could not even get past 30, or his majestic century against Australia where South Africa successfully chased 414, and who can forget his epic hundred in his hundredth test match earlier this year? His batting record speaks for itself, it not only proves what a classy player he is but also is the mark of a cricketing Giant.

 

He has recently been described as the greatest captain of his generation and some even argue that he’s the greatest cricket captain of all time. Yes with all these records one can safely say Graeme Craig Smith is one helluva player, what makes it even more remarkable is that the guy is still playing cricket for his country today, not only playing but captaining his country too, every time he walks on to the field in his whites he walks as the most capped test captain of all time, something South Africa can truly be proud of.

 

Yes he’s not just a great figure in the South African team, he’s a nations pride, or at least he should be, sadly the South African public turn a blind eye to Smith and all that he is, instead they slate him and bombard him with negative criticism for every little mistake he makes, well at least the minority, I am sure that most South African cricket fans have come to respect the mighty man and I have no doubt he once again will lift carry a nations expectations on his shoulders and stand and deliver against the Aussies and once again prove himself because unfortunately Smith would have never truly proved himself to this nation.

 

In my mind Graeme Smith is already a legend, and if not one now then surely will be one when he eventually retires from the game, and when he does, boy will he deserve it.

Aus Vs SA – Another Cracker

October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

From the 9th of November to the 4th of December one of the most eagerly awaited battles begins in the cricketing world. It’s the Test series between Australia and South Africa. Earlier this year South Africa put in a sublime and thrilling performance to down the Poms 2-0 in their own back yard and claimed stake to the Test mace and became the best Test side on the planet. Australia on the other hand last played test cricket during the Month of April where they too beat their hosts, West Indies 2-0 in a three match series. The Proteas however cannot afford to relax as their number one status is on the line against the Aussies, as South Africa did to England Australia will now try to do to the Proteas. The winner of the series will walk away the number 1 Test side. It’s an enthralling battle, one which advertises why Test cricket is the pinnacle format of the sport.

 

South Africa are a team in form, ESPNcricinfo describes them as “Road Warriors” simply because they have not lost an away Test series in 6 years,  a proud record which they will want to still have in place by the time they leave Australian shores. Their “big 5” batsmen seem to be in form presently with perhaps only AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis not quite getting it right in England, Smith scored a century in his 100th and chipped in two 50’s against England and who can forget Amla’s triple and Alviro’s century?  There are still questions on whether AB will keep or not and if not then the Proteas might find themselves one batsmen short as Thami Tsolekile would come in and is not know for his Test batting abilities.

On the bowling front South Africa seem pretty settled, with Steyn, Morkel and Philander making up the pace side of the attack, Imran Tahir the leggy and Jacques Kallis also able to chip in (although we might start seeing less and less of Kallis with ball in hand)

 

Australia have some danger men of their own. They are captained by a brilliant batsmen and an extremely positive leader who can sometimes cause confusion and panic in the opposition, but don’t count on that happening to SA. Ricky Ponting is another man who can and knows how to punish bowlers, the most experienced player in the Aussie side. He struggled against Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel the last time he was in South Africa but if sources are to be believed he has been training his socks off! And then theres the dominating Shane Watson who could turn out to be the surprise package for Australia this series. The only question is, can he take his T20 form and replicate it in the Test arena? Time will tell.

Much has been spoken about Australia’s bowlers with Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc getting most of the attention. South Africa will need to be patient with the bat and make sure their openers see off the new ball, these Aussie bowlers not only have pace but are deadly accurate too.

 

Unfortunately if you are South African and plan on watching these matches your days are about to get a whole lot longer as matches are broadcasted from 2am SAT. so you’ll want to hit the deck straight after work get your 6 or 7 hours sleep and then wake up and tune in to Supersport because this is going to be a cracker of a series and you don’t want to miss one bit!

Smith – The captain slayer

August 29, 2012 in cricket

Given the tradition of South Africa-England Test series in England few would be surprised that once again England’s test captain had resigned from the leadership role after South Africa yet again proved too much for England to handle. This time Andrew Strauss has been on the receiving end of the normality of this bizarre tradition. Strauss announced his stepping-down from test captaincy today (29 August 2012) at an ECB press conference in England after spending a holiday in Spain with his family, much of the public and the media had expected “Straussy” to announce his resignation from the captaincy role as there were many reports in the hours leading up to the conference that this was indeed the purpose for the conference. What they didn’t know and what nobody expected was for Strauss to announce his retirement from all forms of cricket, internationally and domestically.

In 2003 the Graeme Smith led Proteas arrived on England’s shores with the task of playing a 5 match test series and although England were ranked 4th at the time and South Africa 2nd, England proved a tough nut to crack on their own soil. At the time Nasser Hussain was the English captain and had been playing international cricket for 13 years while Smith on the other hand, had just made his international debut a year earlier, such was the gap in experience for the two captains. The first test match at Edgbaston was drawn with England

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith continues on his marry way, leaving behind him, a wake of England captains.

being on the receiving end of a mammoth innings of 277 by Smith, the second played at lords, Smith again smashed England, scoring 259 as the Proteas routed England by an innings and 92 runs. The third test match was won by England and the 4th by South Africa, leaving the series at 2-1 to South Africa with a match to play. England then won the last test, drawing the series but the damage had already been done and Hussain had already resigned as Englands Test captain.

Then in 2008 South Africa left for England once again, with Graeme Smith still their leader and England’s captain now Michael Vaughan after taking over from Hussain in 2003. South Africa were a more mature team and Smith a more mature captain which would ultimately prove decisive in the series. The job would be tougher though and there would be less space for error as only a 4 match series was on the table. South Africa found themselves in deep trouble in the first test but were saved and drew the match thanks to hundreds by Hashim Amla, Niel McKenzie and Smith himself. South Africa then went on to win the second test by ten wickets with both AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince scoring superb hundreds. The series was now 1-0 to the South Africans with them just needing to win the next match at Edgbaston to win the series. South Africa were set a target of 281 to win in the fourth innings but were in tatters after losing their top and middle order, with only two players making more than ten but none above 30. However their Captain, Smith was still at the crease, the lone man who could all but watch the carnage from the non-strikers end, and then walked in the mighty figure of Mark Boucher, together him and Smith put on a match winning partnership, Boucher ending on 45 not out and Smith on 154 not out. South Africa had one the series, the first in England since readmission and together came with it, another England captain’s downfall. Vaughan had had enough and stepped down as Skipper of England.

 

Andrew Strauss

Strauss completes Smiths hat-trick

And here we are again in a very similar and traditional situation, a series against the Proteas, this time Strauss at the receiving end of a complete hammering by South Africa in which both him and South Africa’s captain, Smith played in their 100th test match (Smith also becoming the most capped test captain in the games history) only difference is Smith is still in the runs and is still a mighty and astute figure in the cricketing world. Strauss can certainly lift his head higher than both Hussain and Vaughan could, he has led a brilliant England team to back to back Ashes wins as well as taking his team to the number 1 spot in the world, yes his batting has, as Michael Atherton said “gently declined” but his batting average and form does not do the man any justice. Strauss is an honest and humble man and as so many have already said, he chose the right time to walk away, and walk away he did with his head held high.

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