In & Out: White ball rides hot air

2015-04-26 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

When New Zealand quick Trent Boult bowled Hashim Amla clean to take the first wicket of the first World Cup semifinal last month, a gust of hot air was created that, a few weeks later, gathered momentum across the Indian Ocean. It intensified, forming a thick gas cloud, and a stink set into the already stuffy South African bowling headquarters.

The widely reported Vernon Philander-Kyle Abbott “semi selection fiasco” and Boult’s rise since the World Cup were only the tips, as it turned out.

Subsequently, we learnt Proteas bowling coach Allan Donald had resigned. Then, this week, I cringed as I witnessed Dale Steyn engage in a very obvious mini publicity drive.

Donald’s official line was that it was “the right time” for him to move on, which sounded reasonable, especially after four years of coaching an attack that blew more cold than hot in the limited-overs formats.

Donald’s decision is affirmed, rather starkly, when considering that the only “South African” bowler enjoying a purple patch is a spinner. If this doesn’t serve as a strong enough signifier of a seam-rich bowling tradition in tatters, I’m not sure what does.

But behind every official line, there’s hot air waiting to waft in. And what mention of hot air would be complete without an intervention from Fanie de Villiers?

Commenting on Donald’s resignation, Vinnige Fanie implied there was more to it than met the eye. “I do not believe it at all,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there’s another story behind [Donald’s] decision. Maybe it’s a case of some players trying to work him out?”

Fanie even suggested politics might be at play in the appointment of former occasional Protea Charl Langeveldt as a “consultant” before the World Cup.

It doesn’t take an exceptionally bright person to see there is something going on in Proteas bowling, and it needs to be shaken up over the next four years if the Proteas are to make the impact they so desperately wanted at this year’s World Cup. If the Steyn situation is anything to go by, they still have a long way to go.

Last week, I wrote about how Steyn needed to reinvent himself in the limited-overs format to stay relevant. This in the face of him suddenly finding a nemesis of sorts in Boult, his Sunrisers Hyderabad team-mate.

In an “intimate” Q&A with ESPN ­Cricinfo’s Arun Venugopal this week, he indulged us (and himself) with quips ranging from “feeding peanuts to someone with a spoon”, to how he believes his force can be likened to that of the ocean.

Maybe Steyn was channelling fictional superstar baseball pitcher and consummate A-hole Kenny Powers, who once said: “A true champion?… will do whatever it takes to rise above. A man fights, and fights, and then fights some more. Because surrender is death, and death is for pussies.”

Whereas it’s clear the Phalaborwa Express does not want to stop anywhere near a place called Surrender, Donald may or may not have got Powers’ memo, and a white flag may or may not have been thrust into his hand.

@Longbottom_69 is an armchair cricket critic. He can’t wait to read Come Steyn!, the Remover’s tell-all autobiography

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.