Tag Archive: cricket

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

…No! It’s Jonty!

And with one scoop of the ball and full-on dive into the stumps, Imzamam Ul Haq was run out and Jonty Rhodes changed cricket fielding. For. Ever.


Until that point i had kinda watched cricket a little bit and tried to pick a guy – Richard Snell – to be my guy. But to me it was this weird, alien confusing beast that kept getting me to peripheral glance towards it and acknowledge its presence with a slight nod, but not too much more.

In that moment i suddenly had a guy. And a reason to watch. And support. And embrace and wear all the highs and lows [and believe me there were lows – being a South African cricket supporter is somewhat like winning free tickets to an 8pm movie screening at Cavendish, before realising, as the lights go down, that it’s to watch Adam Sandler’s latest ‘thing’.] that come with it.

Being a Jonty supporter was the same. As much as he was the world’s best fielder EVER [and i will gladly punch anyone on the nose who suggests Ponting or Gibbs was better] his batting regularly left a lot to be desired and his career was marked with a series of almosts and could haves and not quites… with the occasional 50 or 100 every now and then just to timeously extend a lifeline to his career for one more series. But his fielding made up for it. “15 to 20 runs on the board before he even went in to bat”, they would say.


And they were right. But it would be a year later, in Mumbai, that would prove it to the world.

On paper the result would look like a normal, if not sub par result. South Africa beat West Indies by 41 runs chasing a meagre, by today’s T20 standards, 180 which they had scored for 5 in a whole 40 overs [Now they do it in 20 without blinking].

But it would prove to be a day that would set the cricketing world alight as on the 14th November 1993, Jonty Rhodes [who had already scored 40 off 42] ran and dived and threw himself around and at the end of the night held the world record for cricket catches in an ODI by a single fielder.

5 catches in all. And it happened at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.

What was particularly incredible about the achievement is that Rhodes did not field at slip, where you could understand five catches being taken, especially with South Africa’s famed fast bowling attack. He fielded at point, and at least 3 of the 5 looked a little something like this:


Magical. Mesmerising. Miraculous.

The Brabourne stadium in Mumbai erupted, not unusual for an Indian stadium packed to the brim, even though the home team was not even playing. Fireworks and chanting and banners and celebrating all over the place being the norm. It was like no place on earth could have topped it at that very moment…

…excepting perhaps for the lounge of 18 Markham Road, Claremont.

where a series of five over-the-top-throat-numbing screams had prompted a knock on the front door…

on the front door of the house, separated from other houses in the street by the usual driveways and gardens and gates…

and an obviously irritated neighbourly father figure looking at me sternly with ire bleeding from his eyeballs…

“Can you please keep it down. My children are trying to sleep.”

“Mmm… bye.”

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This was my latest offering in a series of Tandem Blog posts where we are given the title and this week nine of us valiantly attempted to write our most inspired piece thereon. The other legends, who i encourage you to go and read are:

Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com

Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com

Kerry: http://www.kerrycontrary.com

James: http://www.jamespreston.org

Megan: http://www.meganshead.co.za

Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2

Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com

Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost

[To read the stories that have happened in the journey so far, click here]

jontyi was there when Jonty Rhodes did the unthinkable, throwing himself through the air and demolishing Inzamam Ul Haq’s stumps to run him out and change fielding in cricket forever.

Well, i mean i wasn’t actually there, but i was at home watching on my tv and my love affair with cricket had just recently started and that moment sucked me in and injected some cricket-watching D.N.A. into my blood.

i was there for the disappointment of 22 runs off 13 balls becoming 22 runs off 7 balls becoming the ultimate ignomy of 22 runs off 1 ball – still, it was England bowling so anything was possible. But that loss hurt.

As did the Allan Donald run-out in the Lance Klusener world cup where he had saved us game after game but this was one game too many. As had the Herschelle Gibbs “You just dropped the world cup” catch and the Steve Waugh century that followed. And that Zimbabwe game that came back to haunt us…

As did the misreading of Duckworth Lewis.

As did the demolition by New Zealand.

But this year was meant to be our year. With AB Devilliers on an all-time high and with Hashim Amla dominating attack after attack, with Steyn destroying and Tahir picking up the pieces, and with Faf and Miller finally gaining some consistency and scoring some regular runs. i have never been more confident before a world cup that we had the team to win it.

Then came the Zimbabwe game. A little too close, but we were warming up into it.

And the India game. That hurt. And i really thought we had the team to chase an even bigger score had they gotten it, with India looking like one of the weaker attacks in the competition.

We needed to have a big one to restore my confidence and West Indies was that.

But then Pakistan and a target we really should have gotten to took the air out of my lungs again. Was this going to be another one of those world cups.

proteasAnd today, as we head into ‘battle’ with Sri Lanka, and a team we really should be capable of beating on most days, i think most people believe that we are going to find a way to lose it. My stomach is part of those most people. My head is screaming at me to just give in and admit that it’s probably going to happen. My Improv partner-in-rhyme Megan Furniss has probably run out of nails pre-game and is chewing on a corner of the sofa [she’s probably not!] and as much as she desperately wants to believe [and will be stressed out by my optimistic tweets throughout the game no matter how it is going] she is strongly suspecting that this will be a repeat…

But against all that, i choose to believe!

This is going to be different.

Today is the day we win our first knockout game and the impetus from that will propel our confidence to new heights and make the next two a breeze in comparison.

This. Is our world cup final.


And i choose to believe.

Nervously, for sure.

But because i KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that we have the team to do it. We don’t need to play an exceptional game of cricket. We just need to play our traditional game of cricket.

i’m not sure if they’re going to do anything different at the top because QDK has been killing us with his nervousness and bad run of form. If he gets going and gets going well it will be game over before it starts. But will they drop him down a little in the hopes that we can get a solid opening platform – Rilee and Amla or even Faf and Amla. But if he does start, then he really needs to get a score – even a quick 30 off 15 will be good enough to get us out of those starting blocks at pace.

We have the team to do this. AB needs to not be doing it alone.

It is time for the fire to be lit. And for the game to be won. Come on ‘boys’ – i believe in you.

Who is with me?

[And whichever way the result goes, i back you guys – you have entertained me well through the years – you’re my team, win or lose. But win!]


i took a moment at lunchtime yesterday to step out of my body and just really take in what was happening in front of my eyes:

a guy busy in mid phone conversation running in to bowl to a batsman trying to play shots with just his left hand on the bat [as he had broken his right hand recently in a sister-encouraged skateboarding incident gone horribly wrong] while South African Sevens rugby player Paul Delport [who my two friends referred to as Thinus Delport the whole time and i didn’t just cos i didn’t know any better altho that was the name i recognised] stood to the side waiting for a catch…

okay it was not quite the 438 SA win over Australia that took place mostly while i was cycling a really enthusiastic Argus Cycle tour on the 12th of March, 2006, which in all probability was the greatest one day cricket match ever, but it felt like it should have been up there with the real sense of surreal that pervaded what was taking place before my eyes…

a moment later my friend MJ [aka Muscle-John, Majay, Michael-John] was writhing on the ground with the agony that cannot be properly addressed or tended to as my other mate [one armed skateboarding Roy Conrad Langhein] had the ‘great idea’ of emulating 2.21m [7 foot three] Pakistan bowling giant Mohammad Irfan by hoisting MJ on to his shoulders to bowl a ball from the same height, not taking into account that the forward motion and energy of delivering the ball might affect the centre of gravity so much that Mj would go tumbling forwards off Roy [altho with bits of him not able to go forward as easily due to Roy’s head being in the way causing said infliction] and deciding to rather appreciate Irfan’s height and bowling ability from the stands.

Really not Thinus Delport this one

we ended up sitting two rows behind Paul and he was just such a friendly dude. he spent a lot of time chatting to us about the rugby sevens set up and the first win SA had had in a tournament for a bunch of years which they had just returned from and some of the training schedules and so on. for me this really captured the heart of what test cricket watching in SA has always been about – the vibe and the people and the fun and the chance to unwind and forget for a second about the seriousness and tragedy of all that is going on in the country and the reminder of why it is important to leave the game at the end of the day and take up the struggles of being a part of making a difference in all those difficult areas so that days of cricket can be enjoyed.

the day ended with these two young black kids about ten rows in front of us just picking up the vibe of the beat of the music that was playing and dancing with such life and energy and just seemingly for themselves – we all cheered when the camera guy finally saw them and trained his camera on them and we are hoping they made it onto highlights footage of the day, but they really just seemed to encapsulate the hope and life and energy that exists in south africans and especially the youth of this country and the hope that difference and chance and betterment is possible and achievable and, dare i say it, even likely?

what a day. what a game. what a vibe. more, South Africa, more.

yesterday tbV and now my friend as well, brian watson, dropped in for a visit… from South Africa, brian is in the middle of doing his PHD in Arizona in stuff you would have to hear to not really understand [altho solar power and keeping particles the right distance from each other and a billionth of a meter thin wire all enter into it] and it was great to get to see him.

he is actually spending most of the weekend with a friend of his in NYC so trained his way through to hang with us from yesterday afternoon and then left eeearly this morning…

what was really cool was that in the village house over a snack and then later on the train and then outside Mad Mex bar and then on the train and then during and after the potluck we had a number of significant conversations. at least a week’s worth altho probly closer to a month or a year for a lot of people i know.

real talk. about real things. life changing things. frustration with wanting church to get it a little bit closer to God’s way things. relationship things. community things.

[and actually we did touch on sport and movies and food in there but the point being that we spent so little time together – relatively – and yet the conversation was so rich]

i hesitate to finish with a challenge cos i suspect the kind of people who read this blog are the kind of people for whom rich conversations are the norm – not necessarily every one, but at least sometimes, and preferably often. and so maybe the challenge is more about challenging the people you know who can get through a year or a month or a week’s worth of conversations and only have dealt with the latest or rehashed information about food, sport and movies.

our time with brian left us feeling like we’d grown a bit and hopefully he did as well. we got stuff to think about and hopefully gave some. as a result of some of the talk that happened things will probably change, maybe in small ways, but maybe later in larger ones.

i still want to be able to quote Monty Python and get amped when we thrash the Aussies in the coming cricket test match and defend Michael Schumacher’s comeback [give him a car, Ross!] and do weird and silly voices with Monkman and get amped for coffee and chocolate and mashed potato… but at the same time i want to grapple with the problem of the drug dealers on our doorstep and try to figure out how to do community living better with the people we live with, and discover how Jesus and His teaching translates to the Puerto Rican people who live across the road from us and figure out how to improve the aft6er school homework program and formulate an opinion on Occupy Philly and and and…

let’s practice speaking more life, more meaningfully and more real. ly.

So today i was on a semi long-distance trip and penned a couple of new brett andy’s – usually i try them out on facebook/twitter first before i see what people really like, but these have never been viewed before and so i would really appreciate it if you would take a minute to mention if any of them make you smile or laugh or silently chortle…

“As I finished sewing up the incision, there was a moment of panic as I thought I’d left the scalpel inside Mr Jenkins. Then a wave of relief swept over me as I remembered that I’m not a surgeon, I’m the janitor.” [Brett Andy]

“I dressed up as a skeleton for Halloween, but then ended up staying at home cos I had no body to go with me.” [Brett Andy]

“As the news came to me that I’d been given the death penalty, I thought to myself, “These new soccer rules are becoming a little extreme.” [Brett Andy]

“ “I’m Thor!” He shouted again. But no-one seemed to be paying much attention. Curse that wretched lisp!” [Brett Andy]

“I’ve always wondered if it is white with black stripes, or black with white stripes. Which was pretty strange because I was looking at a giraffe at the time.” [Brett Andy]

“ “Out, Out, damned spot!” cried Lady Macbeth. But still the mutt refused to budge.” [Brett Andy]

“ “2B or not 2B?” pondered Hamlet, as he contemplated his opening move in Battleships.” [Brett Andy]

“After watching the cricket for five days, I thought, “I’ve got to get me a more interesting bug.” [Brett Andy]

“My wife asked me to turn the kettle on, so I looked at it and said, “Hey baby. How you doin?” [Brett Andy]

“That’s the last time I play Blackjack with Mike Tyson.”

i didn’t watch a lot of the South Africa/India match because i was busy helping my friend make a short film and then mc’ing a charity event, and so was following mostly on radio and cricinfo, but i did get to see the start of the India innings where Sehwag glanced a ball behind him between the keep and first slip and the keeper didn’t even move – it was crazy bizarre cos it seemed like a straightforward catch but he literally just stood still… that is until i read this article…

Kolkata – Morné van Wyk didn’t just appear to be asleep behind the stumps in South Africa’s thrilling victory over India last Saturday – he was!

Confusing a sleeping pill for a vitamin pill Morne van Wyk gobbled one up before the game and was literally fighting to stay awake. Fortunately we won the game, altho that miss could have been costly [altho i had Sehwag in my fantasy dream league team so he scored a bit AND we won which is the way to go] but it wasn’t and so the whole thing is pretty funny… and probably a lot easier to believe than when shane warne got bust for drugs and claimed his mom gave them to him a few years ago…

you can read the rest of the story here…

so a very small bunch of us take part in these dream league teams from time to time but it would be rad if for the world cup we had a bit of a bigger league – the game is free and what’s on offer between us is bragging rights and so if you would like to play send me your email address (brettfish@hotmail.com) and i will send you an invite once we’ve set up the league – game is free and being involved brings even the random games to importance… in other news i am quietly confident about this being our world cup…

Cricket World Cup Fantasy League
Round 1 starts on Saturday 19 February. Enter your team now at www.udt.co.za/worldcup

New challenges for Fantasy Managers
This year we bring you some exciting new enhancements to the game that will challenge your fantasy skills even further:

Substitutes Bench – use your bench to strengthen your starting team (key decision is who to start as players on the bench score half the points of starting players).

Tighter Budget – choose wisely how you spend your budget as you won’t be able to afford all the top players and need to balance your team.

King of Leagues – this is where our top performing league groups battle it out to see who’s got the most skilled group of fantasy managers.

%d bloggers like this: