Monday, 28 September 2015

A giant cricketing clash

India will soon host South Africa for a cricketing tour that will last a lengthy 72 days, including three T20s, five One Day Internationals and four Test Matches. The extensive contest between two of the world's top teams will be one of the most exciting of the season. The tour starts on 2 October with the T20 series.

According to ICC rankings, in T20s India is fourth in the world and South Africa is sixth. In ODIs, India is second and SA is third. In Tests, SA is first, and India is fifth. Therefore, across all formats SA has an average ranking of 3.33 and India averages 3.67. Both teams are very strong. The tour should be a close affair.

While India is very strong in its batting, with the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni, it is weaker in the bowling department, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar the only bowlers we should worry about.

AB de Villiers is the highest-ranked ODI batsman while Virat Kohli is the highest ranked T20 batsman. photo from

South Africa is good in both departments, as I have mentioned before. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla will have a point to prove, being two of the best batsmen in the world (AB is the best in my mind, at number one in ODIs and two in Tests). Dale Steyn will again come firing, while Vernon Philander will look to make a strong comeback in his performances.

But playing in India is never easy. We have lost many series there, and again India will come at us hard, with belief that they can win. I think that India will win the T20 series. We should pip India in the Test series, but the ODI series could go either way.

Wednesday, 09 September 2015

Graeme Smith completes his career

Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has been announced as an ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The foundation uplifts communities by supporting 150 community sports projects in 35 countries. This is a far cry from the brazen 'I do not care what you think' and slightly rude attitude of the then 22-year-old who became South Africa's cricket captain in 2002. But Smith has undergone a textbook evolution in his sporting career.

Starting out as a rather arrogant but talented young batsman who always took on the world's best bowlers without respect, and who never shied from a verbal argument, Smith has finally completed the final task of any sporting icon after retirement – giving back. 

Graeme Smith's cricketing career has reached its end. CC Search image.
Just as former Proteas wicket keeper Mark Boucher now supports initiatives that prevent rhino poaching, and former Springboks captain Francois Pienaar founded the MAD Charity to support learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, Smith is getting involved in charity. Some former sports players take up commentary or writing after they retire, (by the way, Smith has already authored Graeme Smith: A Captain's Diary, which is an inspiring read), but the true sign of a career's end is something given back to society.

While Smith has overseen a few charity programmes since his retirement, and is now an employee of financial services company Momentum, this announcement marks the start of the completion of a spectacular sporting career. Now, Smith will appear in the media as an icon bringing attention to important causes and raising awareness about matters of significance. Just like every other individual who started out with a unique, albeit arrogant and selfish, attitude, the sporting system has ensured that the outcome is a well-mannered, caring, philanthropic icon.

Graeme Smith's cricketing statistics, courtesy of ESPN cricinfo

Batting and fielding averages
List A25925315933114139.2014671370
Bowling averages
List A25919681796473/303/3038.215.4741.8000