Tough times for once-mighty South Africa cricket team


The South Africa cricket team has gone down faster than a downhill skier, and the climb back for one of the world’s greatest squads to its former glory will be long and arduous.

The touring Proteas were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series in India, and it was painful to see them hurtle downhill without putting up a fight one would normally associate with a world-class outfit.

A fired-up India completed South Africa’s humiliation on the fourth day of the final Test in Ranchi on Tuesday, when spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, making his debut, took the final two wickets on consecutive balls to lead the home team to an innings and 202 runs win and complete the rout.

The day’s play lasted a mere 12 balls as South Africa folded for 133 after being made to follow on after India posted 497 for nine. South Africa was shot out for 162 in the first with pace men Mohammad Shami (two for 22) and Umesh Yadav (three for 40) doing the damage.

Shami padded his wicket haul with three for 10 and Yadav grabbing two for 35 in the second, while Rohit Sharma completed his dream debut as an opener by compiling yet another double century (212) and Ajinkya Rahane making 115. It was Sharma’s second double ton in the series with other double-doubles from Mayank Agarwal (215) and captain Virat Kohli (254 not out).

For the Proteas, who lost two of the three Tests by an innings, it was one of their worst series since readmission in 1991 following its international isolation because of the country’s apartheid rules.

South Africa’s poor run started in February, when it lost at home to Sri Lanka in a series it was expected to win without blinking.

Then came that disastrous showing at the World Cup, where it finished seventh and in the process it fired coach Ottis Gibson.

A new management has not helped as evidenced by the thrashing in India and even though it has lost high-profile players such as Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, and Dale Steyn, that is no excuse for its showing in India. After all it fielded a first-class bowling unit that included Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, and Keshav Maharaj, and solid batsmen in Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, and Temba Bavuma.

It has a couple of months to get its act together before England lands in now not-so-sunny South Africa in a couple of months.


Toronto-born Nitish Kumar earned his first cap for Canada at the age of 15. Ten years later, the former captain of the national team and now a mature all-rounder is carrying a huge load on his shoulders as he looks to pilot his country to its first T20 World Cup finals in Australia in 2020.

Canada, one of 14 countries in the qualifiers being held in the United Arab Republic, has made a tremendous start in its effort to grab one of the six available places and heads Group B with two victories thanks to Kumar, who was named man-of-the-match on both occasions.

In the opener against Jersey, Kumar’s quick-fire 36-ball 83 propelled Canada to 176 for five and Jeremy Gordon then claimed three for 14 to restrict Jersey to 123 for a 53-run win.

In the second game against Nigeria, it was Kumar and wicket-keeper Hamza Tariq who were at their best. Kumar struck a superb unbeaten 57 off 36 balls and Tariq smashed a 16-ball 33 with three sixes as Canada posted 159 for seven. Nigeria stumbled to 109 for eight to hand Canada a 50-run win.


What the heck is The Hundred? It’s another ridiculous tournament set to join the cricketing circus in 2020. It is the brainchild of some Englishmen who could no longer sit back and see the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League earn millions of dollars through television revenue while the country that introduced the game could only watch.

So The Hundred has been born and that means an even more crowded calendar taken up by another slam-bang competition that I believe will eventually lead to the death of Test cricket. Even before the first ball is delivered, the clowns who came up with this tournament have achieved their goal. The Hundred has landed a massive TV deal.

So how does this tournament work? It just happens to be a form of limited cricket with each innings consisting of 15 traditional six-ball overs followed by a 10-ball over. It’s just another bastardized version of the T20 game and should last under four hours. The eight-franchise tournament will be played in July and August next year, and several Aussie players were recruited because of their availability. The top players will earn a whopping $160,000 (U.S.) and they include Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, and Glenn Maxwell.

The world’s best T20 bowler, Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s ace leg spinner, became the first overseas player to be picked for $160,000 and among those sensationally snubbed were West Indies power-hitter Chris Gayle, Sri Lanka’s fast bowler Lasith Malinga, and Kagiso Rabada, who were expected to fetch top bucks. Other high-profile omissions include West Indians Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult.