‘Moses’ set to rock and roll

2011-01-08 00:00

TOMORROW’S events at the Moses Mabhida Stadium will see a glut of household names take to the stage, to dazzle a capacity crowd of over 50 000 in one of the most iconic venues in the country.

The scene is set for a memorable occasion, with an explosion of colour and chaos set to thrill Durbanites and visitors alike.

But before the New Age Celebration concert kicks off, there is the curtain-raising matter of a Twenty20 international between South Africa and India at the same venue.

The hype surrounding the arrival of the Shah Rukh Khan and company has almost overshadowed an occasion that was initially meant to be the swansong of one of this country’s favourite sons, Makhaya Ntini.

Ntini will don Protea colours for the last time, though one wonders if he is relishing the prospect of bowling on a drop-in pitch, with square boundaries so close that the players may be forgiven for thinking they are back in high-school.

If the pitch prepared by Phil Russell is even half-decent, there should be a mountain of runs piled up at “the Moses”.

It really is no place for bowlers,and batters on both sides will be looking to have things more their way after a Test series where they have had to work for their runs.

Both sides have injury concerns, but there is still plenty of fire-power in either line-up.

Jacques Kallis is nursing his ribs after his stunning exploits in the Test series, while Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are notable absentees on the Indian side.

With the World Cup just around the corner, several youngsters will be looking to display their ability to score briskly, as they bid to seal last-gasp seats on the plane.

Colin Ingram and David Miller have already tasted international cricket, but Miller especially may get a bigger platform to show his talents with Kallis missing.

Sachin Tendulkar, India’s batting genius, will also be honoured alongside Ntini, as Cricket South Africa looks to continue to strengthen ties with the powerful Board of Cricket Control in India.

The match has co-incided happily with the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in this country, so it is little surprise that the cricket has been overshadowed by the background colour.

Truly, it is a match that is low on substance, but significantly higher on significance. The novelty of a T20 match being held at a football stadium is exciting in itself, with the ICC bending over backwards to accommodate this match, despite the ground not quite meeting regulations.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be involved on some level with a stadium that is part of the legacy of the highly successful 2010 World Cup, and we are all looking forward to it,” Proteas skipper Graeme Smith said.

The highest attendance for a cricket match in Africa looks set to be smashed, though half of the patrons may be more concerned with the evening’s entertainment.

It’s a once-off extravaganza, and the likes of Tendulkar and Ntini will be looking to put on a show of their own before the big boys from Bollywood take centre stage.

 

 

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