A pick-up game on PE’s Pollock Beach would have been a better contest than what was billed as the Boxing Day test against Zimbabwe at St George’s Park‚ and there was no New Year test at Newlands.
But South African cricket won’t be short of important dates in 2018.
1. January 5
Yes‚ Friday. tomorrow — when every man‚ woman and child‚ and their dogs‚ will finally shut the hell up about the Newlands pitch.
Enough with opinions about the who‚ what‚ where‚ why and how the surface groundsman Evan Flint is preparing for the first test between South Africa and India.
Can we get some facts already?
At 10.30am on Friday‚ when the first ball is bowled‚ we will.
2. February 16
It’s two days after Valentine’s and what do you get?
Another bloody one-day international. We predict a rash of break-ups on the horizon‚ or perhaps on the grass banks.
Be prepared‚ South Africans‚ because we’re going to have to endure six ODIs between our country and India this summer. No joke: a half-dozen of the no doubt numbing things.
So February 16 should be a day for celebration — that’s when the last of them will be played in Centurion.
Will anyone remember the series scoreline by then?
3. April 3
The Indians will be followed to South Africa by Australia‚ which means the second half of the test summer will be as big as it gets for Faf du Plessis’ team.
Win both series and all will be well. Win one and things might be sort of OK. Lose both and the sky will fall.
We’ll have certainty about all that by the evening of April 3‚ the scheduled last day of the Australian series.
4. April 30
The relationship between top players and senior suits is necessarily unequal: the players must rule‚ because without them there is no game.
The suits should stick to signing sponsors and broadcast deals‚ developing the game at lower levels‚ drawing up fixtures‚ making sure pitches are prepared and buying enough balls.
South Africa is blessed with many administrators who work hard to take care of the game in those terms‚ and bless them for it.
But an unfortunate few others are showing signs of thinking they are as important as the players.
The end of April is when the existing memorandum of understanding between the South African Cricketers’ Association and Cricket South Africa expires.
Here’s hoping one side of that equation won’t want to replace the agreement with something that might have come from the mind of Donald Trump.
The date of Pakistan’s arrival in South Africa in December has yet to be announced‚ and when it does it will herald the end of months of veritable hibernation for proper cricket aficionados.
Three tests in‚ yawn‚ Sri Lanka nor five ODIs and three T20s in Australia — South Africa’s programme after the Aussies go home — aren’t worth the bother of getting out of bed at odd hours.
The Pakistanis offer talent‚ skill and passion‚ and you never know when one or more of them are going to lay into a teammate with a bat or lose track of time in a strip club and miss curfew.
Don’t scoff: it’s happened to them in South Africa before.
I can hardly wait.
Source: TMG Digital.