Year in review: CSA circus overshadows cricket’s drops and catches

2011-12-23 09:32

From spot-fixing cases to unpaid players, the Great Choke of Mirpur and Majolagate, the gentleman’s game has copped a few nasty bouncers on its otherwise old and aged head this year.

The Proteas’ infamous lack of a killer instinct in the one-day arena has now permeated into their Test match psyche.

Against England and India, they twice had their opponents on the ropes, but twice could not find the resolve to throttle them.

While their World Cup performance could have been termed as satisfactory, barring the Chennai hiccup and the Mirpur choke, their amazing three-wicket win against India at Nagpur looked like a sign that they had finally shed their “chokers” tag.

Alas, it was not to be, as Daniel Vettori’s motley crew was in no mood to provide an exorcism.

Australia were there for the taking as New Zealand showed in Hobart, but as it is with South Africa and their second-Test syndrome, driving home the nail is not one of their strengths.

Enter the Cricket South Africa boardroom circus with the bonus scandal that has dirtied the usually snow-white flannels.

It attracted so much attention that it required the intervention of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who initiated a commission of inquiry headed by retired Judge Chris Nicholson.

All sorts of bouncers and no-balls were delivered, with each camp defending their own territory, but Team Gerald Majola had to do the most ducking and diving.

With the commission resuming on January 16, it will be interesting to see how Dr Ali Bacher defends himself after the R5-million perfumed ball delivered by Majola.

Globally, it was heartening to see Pakistan battling their way up the standings after a tumultuous 2010.

Whatever Misbah-ul-Haq and his team are using, it works, considering they cannot play at home.

Australia’s few good performances were muddied by galling collapses. They are not in terminal decline as they were in the 1980s but they are ripe for pummelling.

With the Indians camping down under, it could be a long summer for Michael Clarke’s litter.

India finally realised their ODI dream of winning the World Cup and owning the highest individual ODI score, but the joy was short-lived when the English beat them silly.

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