Weekly Column

Punchy Proteas seek early blow against heavyweight India

 October 1, 2019
 neil manthorp
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For a contest between the runaway first ranked team in the world and the third, the Test series between India and South Africa, which begins in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday, has not received the attention it might have in different circumstances. But that could change very quickly if the tourists achieve their objective in “throwing some […]

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Commentary in Kabul, perhaps.

 September 26, 2019
 neil manthorp
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Why would a white, 52-year-old cricket writer from a privileged background, with a wife and two teenage daughters, want to work in Kabul, Afghanistan? That’s the question – and the answer. It is still difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the Afghan cricket story, and its extraordinary result. Just over a dozen years ago they […]

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Imported, canned peaches

 September 18, 2019
 neil manthorp
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Back in the early 1990s a well-known and popular Cape Town delicatessen boasted a large, painted sign on the wall outside advertising “Imported, canned peaches.” It was an extraordinary thing on many levels and never failed to grab my attention every time I walked or drove past. But it never enticed me inside. Quite the […]

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 SA in India and the context of ‘Context’

 September 12, 2019
 neil manthorp
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Whichever prism of experience you view the game through, whatever it is you wish to glean from it, it is important to understand different perspectives even if you cannot relate directly to them. At least, it is important for long-serving reporters. South Africa play India in three T20 Internationals starting on Sunday and, for a […]

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Mzansi Super League built on foundations of hope

 September 3, 2019
 neil manthorp
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It’s hard to keep up with the number of domestic T20 leagues around the world these days but the number is certainly over 20 – including the State leagues in India, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh etc.  Another was scheduled to start this week but the Euro T20 Slam was stillborn leaving cricket fans in Scotland, Ireland […]

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Mother Cricket and the ‘The Line’

 August 29, 2019
 neil manthorp
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Remember ‘the line’? We haven’t heard much about it in the last year or so. The one which the Australian cricket team never crossed – the one they could draw wherever they liked to demarcate acceptable behaviour from the unacceptable. Before ‘the line’ cricketers were guided by ‘Mother Cricket’ and the respect (or fear) they […]

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Cricket finally addresses a dark and murky taboo

 August 21, 2019
 neil manthorp
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Many good men and women from the worlds of both cricket and medicine deserve credit for the fact that cricket has finally addressed one of the oldest and grubbiest taboos in its history. Among them is Makhaya Ntini, albeit inadvertently. It was April 1st,  2006, the second day of the third Test between South Africa and Australia […]

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The innings which first comes to mind

 August 13, 2019
 neil manthorp
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It has to be one, which you’ve actually seen, and almost certainly live. A batting exhibition, which made you feel different about the player, the game in general and about the bounds of what was possible. To rethink everything you had thought before. The context and consequences of the innings are also significant. Graeme Smith […]

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Steyn’s painful sacrifice of Test cricket

 August 6, 2019
 neil manthorp
 No Comments

Last week Dale Steyn had no doubts about the future. He believed he was strong enough and determined enough to continue playing all three formats of the game and to remain available for national selection. The idea of retiring from one form of the game was unpleasant enough to be upsetting. He was quite clear. […]

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New Cricket World continues to take shape.

 August 1, 2019
 neil manthorp
 No Comments

The launch of the Test Championship took place this week with the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston kicking off a two-year competition which, it is hoped, will add much needed vitality to the game’s greatest format and provide context to the lower profile bilateral series as well as encourage players to stay longer in international […]

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