South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada has gained two slots to reach a career-best third position among bowlers in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings after his player of the match performance against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein which helped complete a 2-0 win in the two-Test series.

Rabada grabbed five wickets in each innings for an enviable match haul of 10 for 63 that helped his side to an innings and 254 runs victory. He made a notable improvement in the latest rankings, which also take into account the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai, which Sri Lanka won by 68 runs on Tuesday to clinch the series 2-0.

Rabada, a star of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup when his side won it in 2014, has overtaken spinners Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka and Ravichandran Ashwin of India and is now on 876 points, only eight points behind second-placed India spinner Ravindra Jadeja and 20 behind top-ranked James Anderson of England.

Rabada was not the only South Africa pace bowler to gain in the latest rankings as his new-ball partner Duanne Olivier (up nine places to a career-best 48th position), Wayne Parnell (up 10 places to 60th) and Andile Phehlukwayo (up 27 places to 93rd) have also moved up the rankings.

Captain Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram, century-makers at Bloemfontein, are among the batsmen to gain. Du Plessis’s 135 not out has seen him move up two places to 14th position while Markram has gained 43 slots to reach a career-best 61st position after his knock of 143.

MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings (as on 11 October, after the South Africa v Bangladesh and Pakistan v Sri Lanka series)

Rank Team Points
1 India 125
2 South Africa 111
3 England 105
4 New Zealand 97
5 Australia 97
6 Sri Lanka 94
7 Pakistan 88
8 West Indies 75
9 Bangladesh 72
10 Zimbabwe 00

The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) responded to the announcement by Cricket South Africa (CSA) that it is postponing the T20 Global League (T20 GL).

SACA today expressed its concern and disappointment at the announcement by CSA of the postponement of the T20 GL, which had been scheduled to start on 3rd November 2017.

The T20 GL involves 144 players who are either contracted or drafted to play for eight privately owned city-based teams operating from eight different stadia across South Africa.

“Confirmation of postponement of the League was communicated to me in a teleconference of CSA’s Board and Members Council earlier today” said Tony Irish, chief executive of SACA. “At this stage we’re unsure of exactly what a postponement means other than the fact that it’s clear the league will not take place this year. We will be seeking clarity from CSA on the further implications.”

“This has a very significant impact on a large number of local and overseas players, all of whom have signed contracts to play in the league. Some players turned down other opportunities in order to commit themselves to these contracts. We will be looking at all implications of this for players, including what compensation should be paid to them.”

“SACA is well aware of the fact that this will also affect various other groups including franchises, coaches and stadium owners. I think it will be necessary for CSA to appoint its own independent review into what has actually transpired here as there are significant implications across South African cricket.”

Standard Bank Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, says the 2-0 Sunfoil Test series win against Bangladesh is a timely confidence boost ahead of a tough summer featuring inbound tours against India and Australia. The Proteas were convincing in both matches – winning by an innings- particularly the contributions from the batsmen, who dominated in docile conditions.

Du Plessis admits that the squad is far from the finished product, with injuries to some of their key fast bowlers and the continuous search for a winning combination in the batting line-up among the setbacks. The win is the first hurdle ahead of seven confirmed Test matches, which will be the litmus test for the squad as they challenge for the No.1 spot on the ICC Test rankings.

“First of all confidence,” he said of the positives from the series in Bloemfontein on Sunday. “ We had good targets leading into this series of what we wanted to achieve as a team; not just as a batting unit, and we achieved those goals hands down. The confidence from this series ahead of two big series at the end of the year, we appreciate that.

“From this series there is nothing that we could have done better,” he said. “ Everyone scored runs, there were big hundreds and many hundreds, there were also some important partnerships. We are not the finished article, we understand that we are a team that needs to get better. If we get better, we will challenge for the No.1 position again.”

Du Plessis says he ‘expected a bigger fight’ from the No.9 ranked Bangladesh team, who came into the series following a drawn (1-1) series against Australia at home. While the victory will be celebrated, the captain will look ahead to having a full-strength team to pick from for the battles that lie ahead later this season.

“I expected a bigger fight,” he admitted. “ I didn’t expect them to win the series, but I expected us to go through some sessions where we would need to absorb a lot of pressure because of the skill in their team. With that, you have to say that our team did it better. When they tried to put some sort of pressure on us we responded positively and aggressively like we spoke about in the team meeting. Five or six overs after that we were back and dominating the game.

“India and Australia are going to be a lot tougher,” he said. “Bangladesh didn’t have the fire-power that we thought they would have in these conditions. We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves thinking that we are the finished article. We still have a lot of work to do to try and be the team that we want to be.”

The focus shifts to the three-match Momentum One-Day International (ODI) series starting at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Sunday. The ODI squad will assemble in Kimberley on Thursday and details of the training and media schedule will be announced shortly.

 

Kagiso Rabada  took on the responsibility of leading the attack in the absence of Morne Morkel in spectacular style as the Standard Bank Proteas thrashed Bangladesh by 333 runs with time and overs to spare on the final day of the first Sunfoil Test match at Senwes Park in Potchofstroom on Monday.

Rabada needed just 19 balls to blow away what was left of the Bangladesh top order with three wickets, including that of captain Mushfiqur Rahim to the third ball he send down.

For good measure Rabada also produced a bullet throw from the deep for a run out before Keshav Maharaj wrapped up what was left of the innings to finish with 7 wickets in the match. This gave him 50 wickets in only 12 Test matches to put him on the list of South Africa’s top performers to this landmark.

The Bangladesh innings lasted only 83 minutes as 7 wickets fell for 41 runs.

Only three of their batsmen reached double figures in this innings in a total of 90 all out. Maharaj finished with 4/25 and Rabada with 3/33.

Dean Elgar was named Sunfoil Man of the Match.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today announced the itinerary for India’s tour of South Africa. It will consist of three Sunfoil Test matches, six Momentum One-Day Internationals and three KFC T20 International matches.

India arrives in South Africa on 28 December and their tour will start with a two-day practice match at Boland Park on December 30 and 31. The first Test match is at PPC Newlands starting on January 5.

The specific dates and venues for all the remaining fixtures will be confirmed shortly.

CSA also announced plans to host the first ever 4-day Day/Night Test match to be played at St. George’s Park against Zimbabwe starting on Boxing Day.

“We have now finalised the fixtures for a very busy home summer of international cricket,” commented CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat. “The Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Test series starts at Newlands on Friday, January 5 and will be a series to be watched as the number 1 and 2 best ranked teams in the world challenge for the Freedom Trophy.

“The time constraints faced by India have forced us to reduce the Test matches to three while increasing white ball cricket to six ODIs and three T20I matches.

“To ensure we do not disappoint our loyal fans over the traditional Boxing Day period and to take advantage of our brand-new lights at St George’s Park, we will host Zimbabwe in the first ever 4-day D/N Test match to be played. The Test status of the match is subject to ICC approval.
“This will give us a total of 10 home Test matches this summer against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Australia, making this our busiest home Test season ever.
“The extensive revamping of our international grounds are on schedule and the D/N Test match promises to be a world-class experience for the players and fans.

“The Proteas are currently ranked No. 1 and India No. 3 in ODI cricket, so fans will have the chance to see great cricket in the limited overs format too,” concluded Mr. Lorgat.

 

The first round of Sunfoil Series matches today signals the start of the 2017/18 first-class cricket season, and the race to top the SACA MVP overall rankings with Colin Ackermann looking to defend last season’s title as the Most Valuable Player in franchise cricket.

The SACA MVP domestic rankings lists the top performing franchise players competing in CSA’s domestic competitions across all formats.  Players earn points, based on an internationally recognised formula used by several players associations around the world, for batting, bowling, fielding and for contribution to matches won by their team.  Points are weighted across the different formats to ensure that critical performances in each match earn the player an appropriate number of points.

The overall SACA MVP rankings combine a player’s performance in all three domestic competitions and are an indicator of consistency of performance through the season.  Performances in a particular competition are also recognised in the SACA MVP rankings relating to each of the Sunfoil Series (4 days), Momentum One-Day Cup (50 overs) and CSA T20 Challenge (20 overs) competitions.

“The SACA MVP is something all of us franchise cricketers strive to win because it measures many aspects of the game across all three domestic competitions.  It is recognised by players as a measure of consistency throughout the season” said Colin Ackermann.

The SACA MVP rankings also focus on performances in each particular competition. VKB Knights opening bowler Duanne Olivier clinched the top spot in the four day Sunfoil Series rankings last season, and will be looking to get off to a similarly good start in the new campaign. Aiden Markram and Jon-Jon Smuts topped the Momentum-One Day Cup and the CSA T20 Challenge rankings respectively.

“The SACA MVP is a useful and easy tool for anyone who wants to follow the players who are actually performing day in and day out in our professional domestic cricket” said SACA chief executive, Tony Irish.  “It goes to a level of detail beyond simply the runs scored and the wickets taken by a player.  We look forward to a season of strong following by players, coaches, selectors, fans and the media.”

To follow the SACA MVP click on www.saca.org.za/SACAMVP

Multiply Titans  Aiden Markram will lead the South Africa Invitation XI to play Bangladesh in a three-day tour match at Sahara Park Willowmoore from 21 – 23 September 2017.

“We have chosen a squad consisting largely of CSA Academy players balanced by a few franchise players to provide the necessary experience,” commented CSA National Selection Panel Convener Linda Zondi.

SA Invitation XI squad: Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans, capt), Tladi Bokako (Warriors), Okuhle Cele (KZN), Matthew Christensen (EP), Michael Cohen (WP), Isaac Dikgale (North West), Zubayr Hamza (WSB Cape Cobras), Heinrich Klaasen (Multiply Titans), Migael Pretorius (Northerns), Yaseen Valli (Gauteng), Shaun von Berg (Multiply Titans), Lwandiswa Zuma (Hollywoodbets Dolphins)

Management team: Russell Domingo (head coach), Richard das Neves (assistant coach), Molebatsi Teletsane (physiotherapist), Nandile Tyali (fitness trainer), Abram Ndhlovu (video analyst)

If any young player needs an example of what it takes to be the ultimate professional they need not look any further than Gauteng’s Stephen Cook.

The opening batsman is 34-years-old and has played almost 15 seasons of first-class cricket. He has achieved the highest level of success, having been part of the Standard Bank Proteas squad that claimed a historic hat-trick of Test series victories in Australia last year.

But yet Cook, who has a young family, will be seen in action this weekend for his province in the Africa T20 Cup in Potchefstroom.

“It’s an opportunity to get some matches in before the season and it’s a nice little challenge,” he said.

Previously Cook has not played much of a role in the Highveld Lions’ T20 campaigns, but he will now be expected to feature much more after being appointed the franchise’s captain across formats for the 2017-18 season.

“I haven’t played much T20 cricket, so the more games I can play the better,” Cook explained. “It wasn’t the original plan, with me and Aaron Phangiso selected to guide the youngsters along, but it has worked out nicely,” he said.

Cook won’t lead Gauteng this weekend with wicket-keeper Mangaliso Mosehle handed the reins at Senwes Park. That will, however, in no way impact on the experience Cook will bring to the dressing room with the young Gauteng players advised to watch the veteran closely.

In fact, Cook remembers fondly when he was he was still a young law student at the University of Johannesburg, which was still known as the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) back in 2003, the impact Gauteng’s senior players at the time had on his development.

“I can only look back at my own experiences at what guys like Clive Eksteen, Derek Crookes, David Tebrugge… and the profound impact they had on my career. I can only hope that in 15 years or so, a young player says that guy made a difference in my career. That’s the ultimate compliment. At the same time, though, you are learning from young players too,” Cook said.

Gauteng are certainly going to require all Cook’s experience this weekend for they are in a challenging group alongside neighbours North West, Northerns and defending champions Eastern Province.

“There is no doubt it’s a tough group. All the teams are strong. But that’s where you see what people are about in the tough situations. There is always someone that steps up on the day,” he said.

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