When Lance Klusener batted at number nine in a rain-affected run chase against Border in the opening round of Standard Bank matches it was obvious that something was wrong.
How could the man of the tournament at World Cup 1999 and a legend in the history of South African cricket be ‘hiding’ when his form – and possibly inclusion in the squad for World Cup 2003 – is under such scrutiny?
Klusener performed moderately with the ball against Border but could have eased the national selectors’ collective concerns with a powerful batting display somewhere in the order that actually mattered. Instead, he was tucked away at number and had time to do very little before it started raining again. And that was that.
Provinces need to win competitions, and that’s fair enough. KwaZulu Natal especially need to win something to recoup some of the alleged (and staggering) R650,000 invested for a single season of West Indian reject Nixon McLean. But in World Cup year surely, surely the Dolphins selectors could take a view in the national interest?
Apparently the team management even gave Omar Henry an assurance that Klusener would be used prominently. That promise was either forgotten or ignored.
Dale Benkenstein is another player being adversely affected by his province’s erratic boardroom antics with several senior officials reasoning that the captain should be dropped despite the fact that Henry and his selection panel hold him in the highest regard and wish to consider him for the World Cup.
The current unhappiness in the KwaZulu Natal dressing room, we hear, has reached such levels that even McLean would prefer to hand back some of his generous cash pile in order to experience some peace and avoid the politics that beset the union.
Gentlemen, the nation is desperate for success. You can all contribute something extremely significant to the fortunes of the national team this year. Your goals and aspirations for KwaZulu Natal are honourable and wise, but please try to spare a thought during the next eight weeks for the goals and aspirations of the whole, cricketing nation. Cheers.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.