Kaymo’s Korner: Cold comfort for Cape cricket fans

2013-11-04 10:00

My worst fear has been realised. There will be no New Year’s test in Cape Town.

Besides the huge stadium revenue and the tourism moolah the city will lose, an important part of Cape Town’s holiday festivities has disappeared into thin air.

Just like other New Year’s test enthusiasts, I’ll have to make do with the 2am starts to watch The Ashes in Sydney on the box.

Seriously, I feel for Capetonians. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and anger they are going through.

They always turn up loyally for the game, irrespective of the opposition. Even when New Zealand couldn’t make it to a fourth day early this year, they still came out in droves.

I wonder if Cricket SA (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat will be allowed to attend the games, whether in his CSA capacity or as a paying spectator. When the press release announcing his “suspension” came out, I didn’t see anything preventing him from attending games.

The composition of the tour was only recently released and after lengthy negotiations it was reduced to two test matches and three one-day internationals.

Judging by the vitriol on the social network after the schedule was released, the decision doesn’t sit well with the public.

The New Year’s test has been a fixed mark in the South African cricket bible.

Life without it will be very strange, but as an eternal optimist, perhaps it will offer the Proteas an opportunity to exorcise their demons in Durban and Johannesburg.

They need to beat India on those grounds. Durban, for one, has become what Perth and Brisbane were to Australia in the 1980s: an away patch on your home shore.

Kingsmead’s result pitches haven’t worked in South Africa’s favour since they pasted the West Indies by an innings and plenty in 2008.

Since then, there have been five consecutive beatings, which includes an 87-run defeat at the hands of India in 2010.

Couple that with the fact that South Africa haven’t beaten India at the Wanderers since 1992 and a grim picture of South Africa’s travails at these grounds becomes clear.

India were kept away from Johannesburg on their last tour and the reasoning behind Durban not getting a test match was due to the team’s poor results there.

Despite the howls from the Cape, giving the games to Jozi and Durban is fair. With the paucity of test matches on offer, one ground can’t be given two test matches while another gets nothing.

Durbanites will understand this as they were on the receiving end last season.

But if there is one thing the current test team has done, it is to debunk the myths regarding fortress grounds.

Wins in Melbourne, Karachi and The Oval in London over the past six years have gone a long way towards proving that.

However, doing the same at home will not be easy and I hope it doesn’t boil down to the disappointing results we witnessed against Australia at Newlands in 2009. A two-test series is cricket’s equivalent of a penalty shoot-out: there has to be a winner, unless the rain intervenes. And knowing how fickle Durban weather can be, it could go down to that.

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