Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Distance - guilt in sport reporting

How do you compare different sports players when at the back of your mind you know they are real people? Something in your conscience tells you you are doing something wrong when you compare people's strengths and flaws against each other in such an open public sphere.

I did this in my last blog post. I compared the South African test openers to the Pakistani test openers. I felt guilty about comparing people, about saying some people are better than others for this and this reason. It is because I know they are real people. I don't think I would like someone comparing my abilities with someone else's when I am under such pressure to perform for millions of people, my country's pride, my team and my captain.

Under the skin of the player is the heart of a person. A real person. I just thought I'd share this. It is something I will probably struggle with as a journalist one day. Even though many believe journalists are merely supposed to bring attention to things, raise concerns, and not give their own opinions; just by reporting on certain chosen issues and obeying your boss's orders you may be bending the public's viewpoints on real people who deserve respect. 

How can I keep a distance between my freedom and desire to write, and the people I am writing about?

Not bowling a maiden over: Graeme Swann leaves court yesterday
England's Graeme Swann (33) is currently 7th in the world in test bowlers according to the ICC player rankings. Doesn't he look pretty normal in this photo? Picture taken from

What I hope to avoid. Picture taken from

Friday, 15 February 2013

Who has the better openers?

I have not written anything in this blog for some time and am desperately craving something more creative and new to write about, but dealing with cricket. I am also very busy now, doing honours full-time and working as a tutor and research assistant. I decided though to just sit down with this short space of time I have and blog.

The Proteas test team almost always opens the batting with Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen. Pakistan will probably from now on open with Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed, at least in my future predictions. Which team has the better opening batting pair?


Gmith (32) is an unorthodox but powerful and confident left-handed batsman who likes to dominate the bowlers. He recently extended his leg-sided shot emphasis to playing more around the wicket. He used to get out Leg Before Wicket often but has since improved in that area also. Smith captains the test team. His stats are as follows:

Graeme Smith's Batting and fielding averages (from
List A25024415915514139.9714661300

Alviro Petersen (32) is a more orthodox but also confident right-handed batsmen. He is good with cover drives and the pull and hook shots especially. He doesn't have as high a strike rate as some batsmen but can hold an innings together and has often done that for the Lions, sometimes batting at number 3.

Alviro Petersen's Batting and fielding averages (from
List A148142104497145*34.06727520
Petersen (left) and Smith (right) reached 84/0 at lunch after being put into bat by England in the second test at Headingley in 2012.  The Proteas won the series 2-0 and became the number one test team. They still are number one. (Image taken from


I must admit that I don't know a great deal about Mohammad Hafeez (32). I just know that he is a right handed batsman and one of the more experienced players that Pakistan have right now. He is also a good off-spinner and it must be noted that he is selected as part of the Pakistan squad for that reason as well. He is not just a batman, like the other three players discussed here are. 

Mohammad Hafeez's Batting and fielding averages (from
List A19819896294139*33.30939790

Hafeez's Bowling averages (from
List A198883359351804/234/2332.974.0349.0200

Nasir Jamshed (23) is a left-handed aggressive batsmen. He is only playing in his first test matches in this current series between SA and Pakistan. He is a very exciting batsman, as are all young and aggressive batsmen, and has done very well so far in the shorter formats for Pakistan. 

Nasir Jamshed's Batting and fielding averages (from
List A76755269112838.44298890.06713300

Jamshed (left) and Hafeez (right) each hit 45 to beat Australia in a T20 international at Dubai Stadium in September 2012. (Image taken from
So who has the better opening test batsmen? According to batting statistics South Africa does. But does that mean the South Africans are better players of spin? I don't think so. And does that mean the scores of these 4 players are already determined before they walk to middle? No. Jamshed is a young batsmen who is yet to reach his full potential. I believe the other 3 batsmen, being 32 years old and having played international cricket for some time, have  already showed the world how good they can be. Hafeez also contributes with the ball, which the other 3 do not.

If  we were comparing apples and pears on sweetness, the apples being Smith and Peterson and the pears being Hafeez and Jamshed, then the apples are sweeter but the pears are younger and have a richer flavour at different times.