Archie Henderson

SA 'consistently inconsistent'

2007-04-17 09:56

Archie Henderson

Trying to follow the Cricket World Cup in the north of Mozambique is about as easy as Roger Telemachus getting a game for the Proteas in the Caribbean.

At one of the TV venues, there was a dogged refusal to give up the Cartoon Network channel for the cricket (perhaps correctly since South Africa were being cast as the laughing stock against Bangladesh that night).

At another there was strong preference for FC Beira playing a team from Maputo. Don't mess with those Mozambicans when soccer's on the box, even if their own soccer makes the PSL look like the Champions League.

At Cor Esterhuizen's bar in Pemba they conveniently lost the remote at the first mention of cricket, but we won them over with some flattery and big spending - just in time to see the clever Sri Lankans beat New Zealand.

Chaminda Vaas was impressive in that match. The Sri Lankan opening bowler with the longest initials in world cricket (five of them) may have lost some of his pace as he heads for 34, but he makes up for it with guile and an excellent inswinger.

Knowledge

Tragically, we missed the live broadcast of South Africa thrashing the West Indies but saw AB de Villiers play during some highlights a day later.

His 146 was the finest batting at the tournament to date and the way he played through the pain made even those with no knowledge of the great game gasp in admiration.

When De Villiers is in that form all is well with the Proteas.

When they lose to a team like Bangladesh suspicions are aroused.

Bangladesh beating India and South Africa? The gumshoes should have been called in; there was enough circumstantial evidence to mount an investigation.

Why is it only Pakistan who are always deemed to be in the shady business?

Explanations

Is South Africa's erratic performance at the World Cup just a matter of shaky form, or is there a darker underlying reason? Someone needs to explain.

Explanations were not forthcoming from the Proteas captain, however.

We returned to watch his team struggle against New Zealand on the same ground where they had been so dominant against the hosts only a few days earlier.

The mystery of such inconsistency remains.

Other elements, however, show no variation - like the skipper's sulking.

Graeme Smith does himself no favours by casting around for someone to blame.

When he goes into that mode, as he apparently did after the West Indies game, he deserves to be on Cartoon Network rather than SuperSport.

  • Archie Henderson is a former Cape Argus sports editor.

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