When angry buffalo memories scatter your thoughts

It is amazing how you chance upon a random Facebook feed and find yourself spending a good couple of hours happily lost down Memory Lane.

Thanks Anthony Hall, your post sparked all sorts of happy reminiscences – although I must hasten to add an especially (unfond) uncomfortable afternoon memory too…

See if you recognise these players and the coach/manager etc. If so, please point out who is who amongst this quality group of KZN10 schoolboy cricketers from that early eighties era who as far as I can recall were outstanding as a team at that 1983 Nuffield Week.

 

A heartfelt thank you to Maritzburg College Old Boy and general manager of the outstanding Halfway Howick Toyota dealership, Brandon Brokensha, for being the first supporter of KZN10.com after the nightmare of the last 14 months. Please join Brandon and back me. I can be contacted at joncookroy@gmail.com

 

I do recall some of the guys almost immediately, although my facts and so on may be more than a little hazy here and there.

I notice the 1983 Maritzburg College and Natal Schools captain, the wicketkeeper/batsman Andrew Brown (front row, third from left); his school teammate, the left-arm seamer and right-hand bat Greg Walsh (back row, third from the right).

And on the far right in the front row, fellow Maritzburg College batsman Richard Delvin, who I think made 2 centuries at the 1983 Nuffield Week but missed out on SA Schools selection – there must have been some seriously in-form batsman at that Nuffield Week.

I think Greg Walsh, who was an outstanding fielder into the bargain, also hit a century at that Nuffield Week.

Not sure who took the bulk of the wickets.

Durban High School’s Robbie May (back row, fourth from the right) was an effective quick bowler so I am not surprised he is in this outstanding team, which I think (as I said) had a superb Nuffield Week.

I think that fifth from the left in the back row is Kearsney College paceman Anthony Hall, who made SA Schools that year as far as I can recall. Ant was seriously quick and uber-aggressive, and had the ability to cut the ball viciously off a reasonably responsive pitch.

 

Anthony Hall and his outstanding son James, the former Junior Springbok scrumhalf whose skill at Stade Francais is making serious waves in French Top 14 Rugby. Ant and James are two of Kearsney College’s finest. I am pleased, too, that Ant’s dad went to Maritzburg College.

 

I was last at school in 1982 and as I type this I vividly recall facing Ant’s right-arm pace and fire – a charging buffalo had nothing on a suitably riled-up Ant Hall – from one end on Kearsney’s splendid AH Smith Oval while the ultra-talented Natal Schools (and further) flyhalf Cameron Oliver (RIP), who was a left-arm quick capable of weaving red-ball magic when the mood took him, was at full-throttle from the other end.

Just to get bat on ball – at all – on that testing fourth term 1982 Saturday afternoon felt like a triumph in itself.

I think that second from the right in the back row is Michaelhouse’s hard-hitting all-rounder Dave Burger, who later finished his schooling at Maritzburg College.

I think that’s Beachwood’s Craig Small in the front row – while I think Craig Beart of Hilton is there as well, alongside Rich Delvin. And the teacher coach in the front row has to be Hilton’s Ant Lovell.

And Dean van der Walt of DHS is there, it might have been Dean’s second year in the side.

Help me out guys.

When the ticks on a ruffled buffalo are biting in all the wrong places it’s no place to be.

 

 

T20 World Cup, batting styles, bowling off-cutters & more

Telegraph chief cricket writer Scyld Berry and colleague Tim Wigmore make some interesting points about the evolution of T20 cricket, the state of the gripping India England series ahead of Saturday’s day-night decider and the contrast in fortunes between two batting styles’ effectiveness on the pitches found in the hot-house of the world game.

Scyld points to how the game in your modern-day top-level T20 match has slowed since the days of the format’s inception (in the 2003 county season) when the 80-minute mark required the last over to be delivered. The 3-hour T20 match was the norm. In the current India England series it is taking 2 hours to get through each innings.

Sussex were the first county to install floodlights but everywhere else in county cricket a T20 match was geared to start after the typical work day had finished and end before the long English summer evenings had seeped into dusk. Of course, in those days there were no interruptions by third umpires taking long minutes to adjudicate just one contentious dismissal.

 

Off-cutter kingpin Shardul Thakur congratulated by Rohit Sharma.

 

Scyld points out that in blazing floodlit India there is no rush in the evenings, which present the most amenable time of the day to be outside. And possibly the only folk fretting about how late the match is going to end are parents anxious to get the kids asleep and away from the TV before the strike of the midnight hour.

And the lengthening duration of the T20 innings is plays right into the palm of the TV broadcaster’s hand; the longer the game the more TV ad breaks.

There are few who can put words to better use than Scyld: “Bring on the dew, bring out the towels! Slow the game down even more – and as long as there is a decent climax, does anybody – apart from anxious parents and those with first-edition [news] deadlines – really care?”

 

Jofra Archer bat-smash.

 

England’s plethora of left-handers (4 of the top 7) are being undone by the India attack’s judicious employment of the off-cutter on relatively slow pitches, while the fast-flowing bounty of runs being scored by the agile and wristy, shorter of stature, quick hands-and-feet inventiveness of the home batters (Suryakumar Yadav, man of the match on debut) is trumping the fortunes of the “stand tall and play straight” technocrats like Dawid Malan and KL Rahul.

Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer added 124 in 72 balls in a middle-overs case study that contributed much to the 8-run win in Ahmedabad and the 2-2 squaring of the series, Jofra Archer’s late frenzy that included breaking his bat notwithstanding.

A record of just 77 series runs off 80 balls at the top of the innings (when quite often just 2 fielders have been allowed out of the ring) is putting Dawid Malan’s England place in doubt as the T20 World Cup looms in India later this year.

 

Dawid Malan.

 

Dawid Johannes Malan is the son of Dawid J. Malan, who played four first-class matches for Northerns and WP. Born in England and brought up in the Paarl, matriculating at Boys’ High, Dawid junior made his first-class debut for Boland fresh out of school, followed by a permanent move to England and the launch of what has been a decade-plus career on the county circuit as well as noted success for the national team.

A tall (6-foot) left-hander with an orthodox batting style capable of booming straight drives, Dawid is finding the Indian pitches less rewarding than the pacy, hard tracks that have greater affinity with his technique.

England superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes told Telegraph man-on-tour Wigmore that Saturday’s series decider took on the dimensions of a precursor to a possible T20 World Cup final between the world’s number 1 and 2 sides.

 

The spectacular Surayakumar Yadav.

 

“It is a final, because if we don’t win then we lose the series. The more situations we get put into when we’ve got pressure on us and we keep prevailing that’s going to do us the world of good – especially with a T20 World Cup coming up. These are all great learning experiences.

“I hope that everyone is still asking questions of themselves. I hope that there is more work to do because that’s how you get better as you’re always looking to improve.”

 

The first 2 T20s had bumper crowds of 67 000 in Ahmedabad but Covid spikes meant the last 3 are playing out in an empty stadium.

 

Sources: The Telegraph, AP, PA, Reuters, Getty, Rex