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Recent Match Report – Cape Town Blitz vs Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, Mzansi Super League, 26th Match

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Tshwane Spartans v Cape Town Blitz – match abandoned without a ball bowled

Durban Heat face a nervous wait on the weather in their bid to reach the play-offs of the Mzansi Super League after Tshwane Spartans’ game against Cape Town Blitz was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Sunday.

The Heat sit fourth in the points table ahead of the final game of the group stage on Tuesday, needing a win against rock-bottom Jozi Stars to overtake the Spartans and finish third.

But the forecast is again poor in Johannesburg, meaning Tuesday’s game set to be rain-affected. A fifth no-result of the season would leave the Heat a single point behind the Spartans.

Paarl Rocks qualified to the final by beating Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Sunday, with the two teams finishing level on 27 points each, but the Rocks prevailing thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

That means the Giants will host Friday’s qualifier, with the winner of that game qualifying for Monday’s final in Paarl.

Both the Spartans and the Heat have suffered badly from heavy rainfall throughout the tournament. Five of the Spartans’ ten group games were washed out, including four of their five games at Centurion, while four of the Heat’s nine games thus far have been no-results.

Permutations

Paarl Rocks – finished top, qualified for home final
Nelson Mandela Bay Giants – finished second, through to home qualifier
Tshwane Spartans – will finish third and go through to qualifier unless Heat beat Stars
Durban Heat – will finish fourth and be knocked out unless they beat Stars
Cape Town Blitz – finished fifth
Jozi Stars – finished last

Points table



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Incumbent Linda Zondi not on shortlist to be South Africa’s convener of selectors

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Linda Zondi will not be considered for South Africa’s convener of selectors position, after failing to be shortlisted for the post despite being the incumbent. ESPNcricinfo understands that Victor Mpitsang, Hussein Manack and Patrick Moroney were interviewed last week with Mpitsang the frontrunner to get the job.

The post, which has been vacant since Zondi’s contract ended after the 2019 World Cup, has been significantly revamped and is now a full-time role. The convener will no longer only select the men’s national team but will also be responsible for selecting the women’s side, the A team, the under-19 team and will oversee the scouting and selection program in consultation with the director of cricket (DOC) Graeme Smith. Earlier this month, Smith spoke about the importance of the position.

“The convenor of selectors is a key person in CSA. It’s a job that comes with a lot of pressure from all fronts,” he said. “The role definition is slightly changed. We’ve shifted it to not only being a national team convener but to controlling the whole pipeline, which speaks to our high-performance strategy. We feel it’s important to create the avenues of communication — the way we play, the way we select, the way we think, the way we operate, the type of people we want involved in that environment is key. We’ve aligned the convenor of selectors right through the pipeline. He’ll be overseeing everything. The convenor now is a much more extensive job. The convenor of selectors working on the whole system and owning the whole system, and being part of all the processes, is key.”

For that reason, an extensive list of criteria was laid out for applicants to the post including a minimum of five years experience as a selector and a qualification in sports management. Zondi, who has been a selector for 13 years and holds a diploma in sports management, was told he did not meet the requirements to be shortlisted. Cricket South Africa was asked for comment on Zondi’s exclusion but, at the time of writing, had yet to respond. It is also unclear when the new convener will be unveiled but ESPNcricinfo expects it imminently.

Mpitsang, who is understood to be the preferred choice, convened the selection panel for the under-19 team that participated in this year’s World Cup and placed eighth. He has also worked as a commentator for pay-television channel SuperSport . He is also the only black African candidate on the shortlist and although CSA’s affirmative action policy does not extend to full-time employees (only consultants), having Mpitsang on the staff is likely to be met with approval from CSA’s transformation policy.

Still, Mpitsang does have competition. Manack and Moroney both impressed the interview panel. Manack served as a selector under Zondi and also applied for the DOC position but lost out to Smith. Moroney was being considered under the former CEO Thabang Moroe’s regime and convened the selection panel for the Jozi Stars, the team that won the inaugural Mzansi Super League (MSL).

In contrast, Zondi, who will no longer be involved, has a history of selection that stretches back almost two decades. He worked within the structures at the Kwa-Zulu Natal province and Dolphins franchise, as a national women’s selector between 2007 and 2009, as national men’s team selector between 2013 to 2015, during which time he also selected the under-19 squad that won the 2014 World Cup, and as convener of selectors between 2015 and 2019. During that time, Zondi’s picks including the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi and Rassie van der Dussen have thrived and he was also involved with Quinton de Kock’s elevation to white-ball captain. He was then reappointed as an “independent selector,” when the national men’s team management was overhauled last December, on a short-term contract which ended in April.

Among the new convener’s most pressing early task will be to appoint a new men’s Test captain, even though there is no indication of when the national team will be in action again.



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PCB announces Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan as independent adjudicator in Saleem Malik sting

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An ongoing case involving Saleem Malik concerning the contents of a conversation about fixing cricket matches from April 2000 will now be heard by an independent adjudicator. Malik filed an appeal after the PCB, in July, termed his response concerning the conversation – conducted as part of a sting operation by the now-defunct English tabloid News of the World“unsatisfactory and irrelevant”. The independent adjudicator is Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, who, most recently, also oversaw the case of Umar Akmal.

The PCB said in a release that they felt Malik had “failed to respond till date” to the issue concerning the transcripts 20 years ago. After the Qayyum report was released in 2000 – in which Malik was banned for life – the tabloid released a video in which Malik was allegedly caught offering to potentially corrupt players and games in exchange for money.

The reporter involved in that sting – Mazher Mahmood – was also behind the 2010 Lord’s spot-fixing operation. The revelations and allegations arising from the sting were not part of the Justice Qayyum inquiry; that inquiry took place in the year before this story and the report was published days before the sting.

Over the past few months, Malik has sought to move on from the match-fixing allegations and the subsequent life ban that tarnished his career. There appeared to be momentum in terms of calls to reintegrate the former Pakistan captain into the fold in some capacity, with prominent names like Saqlain Mushtaq and Inzamam-ul-Haq voicing support. The PCB, however, remain adamant the matter concerning the sting operation must be resolved satisfactorily before any such reintegration can happen.

Malik’s statement, submitted in June, was deemed by the PCB to be irrelevant to the issue at hand. “In the backdrop of the above, the PCB will be unable to proceed any further until such time you respond on the said matter,” the board had said at the time.

Malik’s cricketing career and reputation was ultimately sullied by match-fixing scandals. In a judicial inquiry that began in 1998 and continued for 13 months, he was found guilty of bribing Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh to lose the 1994-95 Karachi Test. Malik was fined Rs 1 million and banned for life in 2000, but eight years later his sentence was overturned by a Lahore sessions court, allowing him theoretically to return to the fold. However, this case makes clear little progress has been made between the two parties since Malik began his latest attempt to completely rehabilitate himself.



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Racism in cricket: Michael Holding ‘doesn’t know anything that’s going on’

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Jofra Archer has claimed Michael Holding “doesn’t know anything that is going on” after he criticised England and Australia for failing to take a knee during their limited-overs series.

Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, has been a vocal advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months. As well as providing impassioned testimony of his experiences on Sky and with ESPNcricinfo, he welcomed the decision of the England, West Indies and Ireland teams to register their respect for the movement by taking a knee ahead of their Test and ODI fixtures earlier this season.

But he described the failure of Pakistan, Australia and England to do so ahead of their recent matches as “lame” and suggested individual players could unilaterally make the gesture if they wanted to “send a signal” to show they “accept things need to change”.

But Archer, England’s Barbados-born fast bowler, has insisted nobody involved within the England set-up has “forgotten” about the movement and claimed progress is being made “in the background”.

“I’m pretty sure Michael Holding doesn’t know anything that is going on behind the scenes,” Archer said. “I don’t think he has spoken to [ECB chief executive] Tom Harrison.

“I’ve spoken to Tom and we have stuff running in the background. We’ve not forgotten. No-one here has forgotten about Black Lives Matter.

“I think that is a bit harsh for him to say that. I think it is a bit harsh for Mikey to not do some research before criticising.”

The “background” measures referred to by Archer include the ECB setting up an Inclusion and Diversity taskforce, a commitment to increasing the representation of non-white individuals in leadership roles, a game-wide anti-discrimination charter and a bursary scheme for young black coaches, with a focus on “leadership, education and opportunity”. There will also be a further drive to reintroduce cricket in primary schools, with a focus on ethnically diverse areas.

But Holding, responding to Archer’s comments, told ESPNcricinfo there should be no conflict between taking action in the background and continuing to make a gesture in public.

“Taking a knee does not prevent other action from taking place,” Holding said. “Those who take a knee are not substituting the gesture for other positive action.

ALSO READ: Holding on Black Lives Matter – England excuses are ‘lame’

“Nobody should have a problem with it. It is a worldwide recognition of calling attention to racial prejudice and injustice.”

Meanwhile, Archer welcomed the crackdown by social media companies upon those making racial abuse online. But he did suggested legislation “might have to go a bit further” given that he continues to receive abuse on a regular basis.

“I think a lot of stuff is being put into place now,” he said. “People can be prosecuted a bit easier, but I think it might have to go a bit further because some people still aren’t worried about what can happen to them.

“I had one the other day; the guy blamed it on being drunk. My mum would always say ‘you can’t think for people’. As long as there is social media and the person doesn’t have to confront you it will still go on.

“I feel the love from fans, too. But there’s still a small percentage, you know? I may be doing well but I saw one lady comment on my [gold] chains. Chains have nothing to do with cricket. If she knew me she would know I’ve worn chains from the time I was 14 or 15 years old. You can’t make everyone happy, but the majority of people in England are happy and that makes me happy.

“All we can do is try to act accordingly, report it and do what’s best. At the end of the day I think I’m strong enough to deal with it, but what happens when they start targeting someone who isn’t as mentally strong and it starts affecting them? We’ve got to try and stamp it out as much as possible now.”



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