It’s extremely hot in Ekurhuleni (the east of Johannesburg) these days, but that’s not all too surprising because, after all, it is officially summer.
I find myself thinking a lot about Test cricket when temperatures are this scorching, because it is often played under such conditions for long hours – giving us the fans a chance to be lazy couch potatoes on lazy summer mornings and afternoons.
In the South African context, the month of December marks the beginning of the summer action, so you can imagine how excited I get at this time of the year, especially when the Proteas are playing as well as they are.
But instead of slouching on the couch and being thoroughly entertained by lightning-fast bowling of talented pacemen in white clothing, I’ve recently found myself thoroughly bored due to the lack of red-ball action in the country. This is because the mighty Proteas have been scheduled to start their next series against Sri Lanka on the 26th.
What is a lover of the five-day game to do in the weeks preceding the series in question?
It is because of that very question that I’ve recently found myself wishing I could have a batsman who I could hurl a few 120-something km/h deliveries to (with a tennis ball, of course), because of my love for bowling.
The lawn in my garden, when properly mowed, looks almost as beautiful as that of the Adelaide Oval in Australia, too (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit), which makes not having a friend who has a penchant for backyard cricket all the more depressing.
I’ve also thought about the current best eleven South African players who possess the potential to rip the Lankans apart, if their current form is anything to go by. And I’ve concluded that those are:
Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers (if fit), Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj.
I have not been impressed with former captain Hashim Amla’s form of late and I’m not a fan of so-called ‘all-rounder’ JP Duminy, which is why I have ‘dropped’ them. Star paceman Dale Steyn is out for the rest of the year with a shoulder strain, which rules him out of the first Test, at least.
The touring Lankans have named their 15-man squad earlier this week for the upcoming three-match series, and all you need to know as a patriotic South African is that their spin wizard, Rangana Herath, has been included.
So, such is what’s been occupying my mind while enduring the intoxicating heat in my part of the world. I’ve also decided that I’m going to embrace the sobering reality of having to wait for the eventual start of the Boxing Day Test by bowling to the non-striker’s end.
*Picture taken from: mg.co.za.