South Africa v England – A Transitional Arrangement

Messing About With The Software – Cape Town 2005

Cricket goes into overdrive when Christmas ends, with the Boxing Day test between Australia and West Indies appearing a total mismatch, while the South Africa v England game looking much more intriguing. We have a South African team coming off the back of an absolute demolition in India, with the wickets prepared only a partial excuse. England, meanwhile, you could be forgiven for thinking are about to carry all before them the way they are constantly talked up, when, in fact we have a team with doubts at opener, number 3, number 5, wicket-keeper, spinner and now, a replacement for Anderson. Add to that, given the ridiculous amount of time since our last test visit to South Africa (2009-10 for heaven’s sake), the only experience we have in these conditions are Alastair Cook at opener, Broad and Anderson. And one of those is injured.

Despite it being Christmas, and the fact that things have been quiet around here, TLG and I are going to do what we can to bring you the views of the play from South Africa. I had the great pleasure of going to Cape Town in 2005, for a test match we lost, but for an experience I will never forget. It’s an amazing city, I stayed in a brilliant guest house which, unbeknown to us when we booked, was owned by the former manager of the South African cricket team (and Gary Kirsten woke me up one morning), and it was the first time I got to use an ultra-zoom camera at a match. So I have a soft spot for this your and will be green with envy at those lucky enough to be there this time.

Day 5 – 2005

England are being talked up again, but you can’t escape the fact that on the last two tours this year we’ve lost heavily to Pakistan and drawn against a mediocre West Indies team when we really should have swept the series. This is being largely ignored as we focus on the failings of the home side in India to give us some comfort. I saw some compare it to the 2004-5 tour, but England aren’t the force they were then (off the back of a 3-0 win in the West Indies, and seven straight home test wins) and South Africa still have a formidable bowling attack if and when they are all fit. That series, of course, introduced the world to AB DeVilliers and Dale Steyn…. and was the last tour for Surrey legends Mark Butcher and Graham Thorpe. I’m rambling off piste again….

It’s an interesting proposition because both teams look short of true depth. England’s reserve resources may be stronger than South Africa’s. A number of the home team’s players are the wrong side of 30. There are injury question marks about all of the home pace trio, and Philander is probably going to miss most of the series. We have a great record at Durban and a lousy one in opening tests overseas. There are flaws and question marks, ifs and buts, all sorts of intangibles. It should be a decent old series.

TLG and I will do what we can, and look forward to hearing from you over the next few weeks.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a brilliant Christmas, and health and happiness for the New Year. I’ve a lot more on the stocks….


18 thoughts on “South Africa v England – A Transitional Arrangement

  1. MM Dec 24, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    Might be a good series. Or we might capitulate to Steyn. Or serve up a load of computer-says-bowl-this filth at ABDV.

    Anyways… happy Xmas to you all. And an exciting and properous 2016 to all your counties/states.


  2. Rooto Dec 24, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    I admit to having no idea who’s right and wrong on this in terms of form. If in doubt, knee-jerk pessimism. Best wishes of the season to everybody here, and fingers crossed for a cracking match on the screen/ radio with the turkey sandwiches in hand.


  3. Julie Dec 24, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Will be a fascinating game but here I go again.Why oh why wouldn’t they be playing KP at that ground and in the form he’s in. A Blessed Christmas to all and don’t eat too much plum pudding!!!


  4. Mark Dec 24, 2015 / 9:52 pm

    Had the misfortune to listen to a bit of 5 lives ashes review the other night. Agnew couldn’t wait to inform us that the succes was down to Strauss, and his pre series trip to Spain. Now in fairness to Agnew this is quite clearly the spin the ECB is pushing. Never mind the players, it was all down to the genius of Strauss and management.

    Broad backed this up by saying he had his doubts about the trip, but Strauss was such a man of vision and genius that all doubs faded away, and it helped in those tough times in the series. This of course is pricelss, seeing as every test match was won by the team who had the best first day. The trip to Spain obviously had no impact at all at Lords, or the Oval. So the trip to Spain is given higher praise than the groundsman at Birmingham and Nottingham. If you ever want to know why England as a nation underperform at sport listen to this shite. I switched off after about 10 minutes.

    Agnew and England have now moved on to South Africa, and I just heard the 5 live preview where the injury to Anderson was discussed. Agnew couldn’t wait to remind us that Broad stepped in for Jimmy in the Summer and got 8/15. As if Broad is going to get those figures every match Anderson is not playing. Whenever I hear Agnew now or any of the cricket media, I always get the feeling that they are eager to push ECB talking points. It’s almost as if they are taking an ECB exam, and have to be quick to push the right spin. South Africa have lost many of their top players through retirement and injury. If England are as good as their media chums believe, they should walk this series. If they don’t, we will get the usual guff of excuses from the usual suspects.

    Merry Xmas Dmitri, and all who post here. Hope 2016 is good for you, and your families.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM Dec 24, 2015 / 10:51 pm

      Mark, way back I’d stay up all night just to hear a snippet about the England Test team. Can’t be arsed in the slightest now. Puff pieces, the whole lot.

      Any and all genuine issues are properly backburner’d whilst whatever Cooky or Rooty are stuffing up their turkeys’ backsides are chortled over all the way to the news break.

      Nadgers to the media, the talking heads, and their sold souls.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. northernlight71 Dec 24, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    In order to have a more joyful Christmas this year, I have been ignoring the cricket this week. Despite that, I hope everyone involved with Being Outside Cricket has a peaceful and happy Christmas. You are all thoughtful and noble people and we all deserve a much happier 2016!


    • Zephirine Dec 25, 2015 / 1:48 am

      Well said, NL, and a happy Christmas to all Outside Cricket!


  6. SimonH Dec 25, 2015 / 10:23 am

    Merry Christmas one and all.

    Few bits of news from Durban:
    1) Scyld Berry is the only journalist that I’ve seen who’s had a look at the pitch – he reckons it has bare patches and will turn.
    2) The weather forecasts aren’t great for Day One (possible storms) but are good thereafter.
    3) According to John Etheridge, Dale Steyn has been top of the bowling rankings since March 2009. That’s incredible if it checks out. A poor match here however and Steyn could lose that as he’s only four points above Ashwin. Durban is Steyn’s least favourite ground of the four for this tour although an average of 23 is still pretty handy:

    4) England haven’t lost in Durban since SA returned to Test cricket:

    P15 W5 L1 (in 1928) D9.


    • Arron Wright Dec 25, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      Bah humbug. He’s earned about as much goodwill as he ever displayed towards Michael Clarke, Kevin Pietersen, Colin Graves and dozens of cricket fans who never played a Test, or played a county game alongside legends such as Downton or The Analyst, or count David Saker as a dear friend.

      Merry Christmas. Up the Saffers. And if SA are “on the way down” after a thrashing in India, why were England not so after their UAE whitewash in 2012?


    • d'Arthez Dec 25, 2015 / 5:20 pm

      Actually Fortress Centurion may be in the running there as well.


    • d'Arthez Dec 25, 2015 / 5:23 pm

      Oh and since when was the Durban Timeless Test in 1938?


      • SimonH Dec 25, 2015 / 6:25 pm

        I was picking up more on:

        “It was here in 1999 that Nasser Hussain batted for 10 and a half hours to make 143”.

        I’m looking forward to Jo’burg and a tribute to Athers’ legendary 182.


  7. amit Dec 25, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    South Africa need a bit of a batting revival. AB alone isn’t going to win the series and will need Amla and Faf to contribute. These two had a horrid time in India but are classy players in their own right and will be on familiar grounds than the turners that tested them in India. If they have the services of a fully fit Steyn and Morkel available throughout the series, the bowling should hold its own. Without Jimmy, England are going to struggle coz no one really rates Woakes as a test bowler. Period. He is Dernbach’s equivalent with lesser variations. Tremlett should really go and get a fortune teller to read his future. England’s batting looks decent on paper but let’s see how they cope up in a country they’ve not been to in a while and against a fired up Steyn. Should be an interesting series.


  8. Grenville Dec 25, 2015 / 6:01 pm

    Merry christmas one and all.

    I’m going to stick my neck out: England to get thrashed in a boring series. This is based on no evidence whatsoever (but, hey, the G.’s esteemed correspondent doesn’t need evidence either). I think Cook doesn’t cope well with hostile quick bowling or disciplined line and length outside off. The saffers can provide both. The english medium pacers will provide little to no threat on a straight up and down surface. Ali is not a test class strike bowler. The English middle order won’t cope with the quality of south african quicks. The Proteas have some pretty high quality batters. They will coat the English in eggs, flour and milk (mixed together).

    But like I say, no evidence. You know why? Because I’ve hardly ever seen the best team of the recent era play. I wonder why.


    • Zephirine Dec 25, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      I predict England will win the first Test (see KP below), and probably due to some gutsing it out by Root and/or Taylor if he plays. Triumph will be declared, bells will ring in private-school chapels up and down the land. After which SA will proceed to expose England’s flaws in a methodical fashion. 4-1 or possibly 3-2 to SA.


  9. BoredInAustria Dec 25, 2015 / 7:02 pm

    KP’s view on 1st Test at Kingsmead: The choice of Kingsmead for the opening Test could also work in England’s favour. They have not lost a Test there since 1928 and won by an innings in 2009.

    “South Africa have never enjoyed the Boxing Day test experience in Durban and have shifted the fixture in recent years, but it is back to cash in on the holiday crowds and the many England fans who will be travelling to watch the series,” added Pietersen.”This series will feel like playing in Barbados, where the majority of the fans are English. It is a home game for Alastair Cook’s team.”


  10. Benny Dec 25, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Merry Christmas to all you good people here, especially our fine hosts.

    In between cricket matches, our media greats having nothing else to do but waffle on about whatever takes their fancy. Like Rooto, I can’t judge the potential of the various players apart from Steyn, of course, but I’m not concerned. I just look forward to seeing some cricket and, hopefully, some stellar performances, not to mention listening to the brilliant Robin Jackman again. Biggest hope is that Hales and Taylor do well and cement their places.


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