Calling all Mzansi’s fast and furious ...
7.30am/9am, SS6/SS7 PGA Tour, Barbasol Championship, day 2, 11pm, SS6 Rugby: Currie Cup qualifier, Sharks v Valke, 4pm, SS/CSN/SelectSA Super Rugby, Blues v Waratahs, 9am, SS1/CSN; Reds v Rebels, 11.35am, SS1/CSN; Sharks v Sunwolves, 6.30pm, SS1/CSN Tennis: ATP World Tour 500, German Tennis Championships, quarter-finals, 10.55am/1pm/3pm/5pm, SS4 SATURDAY Boxing: Premier Boxing Champions, Junior Welterweight Fight, Sergey Lipinets v Walter Castillo, 3am, SS7/MaXimo WBA Super World, Super Bantamweight Title, Guillermo Rigondeaux v Jeff Dickens, 10.50pm, SS7 Cricket: First Test, England v Pakistan, day 3, 10am, SS2 Cycling: Tour de France, stage 14, Montélimar/Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux, 208km, 2.10pm, SS5/MaXimo Golf: Open Championship, day 3, main feed/additional feed, 11am/12pm, SS6/SS7 WANTED: Fast bowlers who can propel the South African Test team back to their former glory.
With injuries having hamstrung Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander’s careers over the last year, a new generation needs to back up spearhead Kagiso Rabada for next month’s two-Test series against New Zealand on home soil.
It is not clear if Steyn will be utilised in the unusual midwinter showdown in Durban (August 19-23) and Centurion (August 27-31). He is currently featuring in the T20 Caribbean Premier League, after a stint with Glamorgan in England’s T20 Blast, and would not have played any first-class cricket before the Black Caps arrive in South Africa.
Philander, though, will get a chance to show his readiness for the SA A team against their Zimbabwean and Australian counterparts over the next few weeks.
The two- match four- day “Test” series against Zimbabwe starts in Harare today, with SA A travelling to Australia for another two first-class encounters. There will also be one-day matches played.
But today’s four-day game represents a vital stage of preparation for the lengthy Proteas summer ahead, with Philander at the forefront of the pace-bowling attack.
A serious ankle injury kept him out of most of the India series last November and the entire England tour of South Africa.
The 31-year-old played three first-class games for Western Province and the Cape Cobras towards the end of the season, but now needs to make a big impact to claim a place in the Proteas squad for the New Zealand series.
With Steyn and Philander sidelined, the Proteas Test attack was rather toothless against England, who piled on the runs in a 2-1 series victory over the hosts.
It was only Rabada who kept the English in check, and then produced the remarkable figures of 13/144 in the final Test in Centurion, which the Proteas won by 280 runs.
Morne Morkel was outstanding against India, even though he didn’t have much luck in the wickets column, but went badly off the boil for the rest of the summer and was replaced by Rabada as the leader of the Proteas attack in the absence of Steyn and Philander. PGA Tour, Barbasol Championship, day 3, 9pm, SS6 Motorcycling: MotoGP, Motorrad GP Deutschland, qualifying, 1.55pm, SS8 Nascar Xfinity Series Lakes Region 200, 10pm, SS5 Rugby: Craven Week, final, 3.00pm, SelectSA Currie Cup qualifier, Free State XV v Boland Cavaliers, 4pm, SS8 Super Rugby, Crusaders v Hurricanes, 6.45am, SS1/CSN; Highlanders v Chiefs, 9.25am, SS1/CSN; Brumbies v Force, 11.35am, SS1/CSN; Stormers v Southern Kings, 4.30pm, SS1/M-Net; Cheetahs v Bulls, 7.05pm, SS1/M-Net; Jaguares v Lions, 11.20pm, SS1/CSN Soccer: CAF Champions League, Zesco United v Asec Mimosas, 2.50pm, SS9 SAB U21, final, 3.30pm,
Perhaps the Proteas brains trust missed a trick in not including Morkel in the SA A side for the Zimbabwean and Australian fixtures, but that does mean that the standout bowlers from the last domestic season will get an opportunity to stake a claim for the Proteas squad.
At the top of that list is Hardus Viljoen of the Lions, who got a taste of Test cricket when he made his debut against England at the Wanderers in January. He didn’t have the best of times, taking 1/79 in 15 overs in the first innings as England wrapped up the series triumph with a convincing seven-wicket win.
But the strongly- built 27-year-old was still the leading wicket- taker in the Sunfoil Series with 47 scalps, and needs to take the next step onto the big stage by being dominant against the Zimbabwe A and Australia A sides.
The second man on the Sunfoil Series list was Duanne Olivier from the Knights, who snuck onto the franchise scene without much fanfare last season but took 41 wickets in fourday cricket.
The 24-year-old is tall and bowls at a good pace, and is able to swing the ball away from the right-hander. Olivier was a consistent performer for the Knights last season and took his victims in just seven matches compared to Viljoen, who claimed his in nine games.
Apart from Philander, the other seamer who could put his hand up for higher honours is Lions all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, who was outstanding with bat and ball in franchise cricket last season.
Pretorius was sixth on the leading wicket-takers’ list with 36, and scored 402 runs at an average of 30.92, with two hundreds and a fifty.
Proteas opener Stephen Cook will captain the SA A team that includes fellow Test players Dane Piedt, Stiaan van Zyl and Dane Vilas, while Titans star Heino Kuhn would also want to bat his way into the national team reckoning after being the leading runscorer in the Sunfoil Series with 1 126 – the only batsman to score over a thousand runs in the competition. SA A four-day squad Stephen Cook (captain), Qaasim Adams, Theunis de Bruyn, Heino Kuhn, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Dane Piedt, Dwaine Pretorius, Omphile Ramela, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas, Hardus Viljoen. SABC1 Tennis: ATP World Tour 500, German Tennis Championships, semi-finals, 2.55pm/5.30pm, SS4 SUNDAY Aviation: Red Bull Air Race, Budapest, first race, 2pm, second race, 4pm, SS8 Cricket: First Test, England v Pakistan, day 4, 10am, SS2 Cycling: Tour de France, stage 15, Bourg-en-Bresse/Culoz, 159km, 12.45pm, SS5 Golf: Ladies PGA Tour, Marathon Classic, day 3, 12am, SS8 Open Championship, day 4, main feed/additional feed, 10am/12pm, SS1/CSN/SS6 PGA Tour, Barbasol Championship, day 4, 9pm, SS6/CSN Motorcycling: IndyCar Series, Honda Indy Toronto, 9pm, SS7 MotoGP, Motorrad GP Deutschland, Moto3, 10:45am, SS7/Maximo; Moto2, 12pm, SS7/Maximo; Moto3, 1:45pm, SS7/MaXimo Nascar Sprint Cup New Hampshire 30, 7.30pm, SS5 Soccer: CAF Champions League Zamalek v Mamelodi Sundowns, 7.20pm, SS4/SABC1 Tennis: ATP World Tour, German Tennis Championships, final, 2.55pm, SS4
DUANNE OLIVIER: Snuck onto the franchise scene