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Posts Tagged ‘andre nel’

  • Derbyshire have brought in Stuart Law (who was cut loose by Lancashire) to boost their one-day firepower, but he won’t feature much in the County Championship. Charl Langeveldt will also be absent for at least three matches following his acquisition by Kolkatta for the IPL, but captain Chris Rogers is probably the best short-sighted colour-blind ginger cricketer in the world.
  • Gloucestershire, if anything, had an even worse season than Glamorgan, finishing rock bottom of the Championship in 2008. John Bracewell has a tough task on his hands to turn things around, but James Franklin’s arrival will help improve the standard of a bowling attack that struggled so much last year.
  • Northamptonshire struggled to win matches in 2008, so may be secretly hoping that Monty Panesar is dropped by England so that he can take key wickets for his county. The motley crew of Kolpaks and ‘Steelboks’ will otherwise have its work cut out to improve on last year’s showing.
  • Surrey find themselves back in Division Two once again, but the summer’s signings of Andre Nel – who will be available throughout the season – and Grant Elliot will boost their chances of promotion. Mark Ramprakash, of course, is still there, and now that he has passed the 100 centuries milestone, his county will be hoping that the part-time ballroom dancer returns to his form of 2006 and 2007.

A Division One preview will follow tomorrow.

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Andre Nel (and, presumably, Gunt(h)er) has retired from international cricket. Cricinfo describes him as “a rambunctious and wholehearted cricketer“. The BBC have in the past given him the accolade of “cricket’s craziest man“. I would describe him, after careful consideration, as ‘properly mental‘.

Nel’s last Test appearance was Kevin Pietersen’s debut as England captain in August 2008, but the latter stages of his Test career were also associated with the controversial quota system operated by Cricket South Africa.

The good news for Nel-lovers in the UK is that Andre will be featuring for Surrey as a Kolpak player (I suppose Gunter has a German passport).

He will also be featuring for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, where his lack of international commitments in the future (and undoubted box-office value as bonus entertainment) will surely make him a prized asset.

With luck, his retirement from the international game will leave plenty of time for honing his ‘Frustration’ skills.

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After an indifferent tour of England, Dale Steyn has returned to the form he showed earlier in the year with a ten-wicket haul against Australia in the Second Test.

South Africa are on the brink of what would probably be a historic series victory Down Under, and the power of their pace attack is a big factor in their recent success. Their continued effectiveness against top-level batsmen is almost enough to make me accept the absence of Andre Nel from the side.

Almost.

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Yep, that’s right – 215 balls remaining. Graeme Smith is presumably drowning his sorrows (and maybe himself) in a Nottingham watering hole after England’s bowlers, especially Stuart Broad, ripped through South Africa’s batting line-up to such an extent that Andre Nel (ODI average 12.70) top scored with 13. Flintoff and Harmison also finished with nice-looking figures (although the latter only bowled one over and was just mopping up the tail).

Matt Prior had a good game too, taking 6 catches behind the stumps, then making 45 not out as England knocked off the runs required in a mere 14.1 overs. KP’s honeymoon continues…

UPDATE: You can see youtube highlights of Broad’s five-for here.

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England have dropped/rested/grown jealous of Stuart Broad‘s good looks, restoring Paul Collingwood to the side to face South Africa at Edgbaston in his place. Given that this is apparently being done “to give the impression of bolstering their batting line-up“, isn’t it odd that the player dropped has a higher Test batting average (albeit from only 11 innings) than the player coming in as a replacement?

From South Africa’s point of view, the main news is that Steyn is injured, so Andre Nel will be playing, in a gift to cricket bloggers everywhere.

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The BBC Sport website recently billed Andre Nel as ‘cricket’s craziest man‘, and there is no shortage of evidence that Andre is indeed a bit odd, but the sport is hardly short of competition for such a title.

Even amongst Nel’s South African team-mates, there is Neil McKenzie, who (although he is now over it) used to have some of the strangest superstitions I’ve ever heard of.

Whilst most cricketers are a little superstitious (even Kevin Pietersen always puts his left-hand pad on first), others, like McKenzie, take things a little further. The legendary wicketkeeper, painter and dog-breed namesake that is Jack Russell is a case in point. Jack was, for example, a big fan of Weetabix, but only when it had been soaked in milk for precisely 12 minutes.

A little further back, there was the celebrated eccentric RJO Meyer, although he is never known to have taped anything to a ceiling, or having claimed to have an alter-ego called Gunther ‘who lives up a mountain in Germany‘.

The annals of Wisden are full of this sort of thing, but even your average eccentric has to take his hat off to the likes of Nel, McKenzie and Russell. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check that all the toilet seats in my office are down…

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As the Test series between England and South Africa gets underway tomorrow, there will be almost as much media focus on one of the net bowlers as there will be on those out on the field of play.

The pretty clear assumption that Andrew Flintoff is likely to return to the England side for the second Test is, however, more of a burden for England’s players than it is for South Africa’s.

Graeme Smith won’t care – he’ll be trying too hard to out-psyche Kevin Pietersen. Dale Steyn won’t care, as he is still metaphorically on fire. Andre Nel is too crazy to realise what’s going on most of the time so he won’t care either.

But Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell might be looking a little nervously over their shoulders, as might Jimmy Anderson, whatever he says in public.

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