Neil Manthorp – 13/07/2001
If there is a common thread running through the national squad’s recreation and rest period since returning from the West Indies, it is probably golf. Travel can have a limited appeal for sportsmen who do so much of it anyway and they are all wary of having too many good meals out. Excess weight can be difficult to shift, particularly during the season itself.
Indeed, coach Graham Ford was on the golf course on Friday attempting to relieve Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock of some loose change but not shaping too well at the halfway house.
“They’re two up,” he confessed before turning to more serious matters.
“We have not worked on cricket skills for as such for two months. As a squad and as a management team we discussed the importance of taking a complete break from the game for an appreciable length of time,” Ford said.
“It’s not just a matter of recharging the mental batteries but, just as importantly, allowing the body sufficient, quality time to recover from all the little, niggly injuries that guys have to carry through a long season. And the season ahead is incredibly long,” Ford said with reference to 11 Tests in seven months against Zimbabwe (2), India (3) and Australia (6). That’s not to mention the likelihood of 21 one-day internationals.
“Lance has been doing fishing, of course, but I’m sure most of the guys have supplemented their golf with other leisure activities. The one thing I do know is that they have all kept up their fitness work so we won’t have to go back to square one in that department,” Ford said.
Apart from Gary and Deborah Kirsten’s exploration of London and Paris (we’ll hear more of that later) one of the squad sought inspiration of a different kind in Durban.
“The Boks were playing at Kingsmead the week after Comrades so I thought it would be fun to go to Durbs and get the atmosphere from both,” vice captain Mark Boucher said. “Shame, the Boks struggled badly but the whole Comrades experience was just incredible. I’d never seen it live before and I was just knocked out by it. Watching the ladies and men finishing was one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen,” a highly enthusiastic Boucher admitted.
“I decided then and there that I would definitely, definitely run Comrades one year. Probably not during my playing career because I wouldn’t have enough time to recover, but soon after.”
Plenty of people have vowed to run Comrades, and I have no doubt that Bouch will get the job done. But just in case he forgets about his promise, let’s all make a pledge to remind him of his!
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