The lonely Proteas
Sport24 columnist Colin Bryden (File)
The television promotion for South Africa’s Test series against the West Indies strikes an optimistic note. “They’re not alone,” proclaims SuperSport.
I’m not so sure. They may not be entirely alone but I doubt whether many South Africans will be watching much of the first Test in Port of Spain.
The first day’s play, starting at 16:00 SA time on Thursday, isn’t a problem but it gets tricky after that.
The start of the second day clashes directly with Bafana Bafana’s kick-off against Mexico at Soccer City in the opening game of the Soccer World Cup.
I try to watch our cricketers as often as possible but this time soccer wins hands down. I expect most South Africans will feel the same way. Then there’s the France-Uruguay contest at 20:30.
I will probably record the cricket but I’m not sure when I will watch it. There’s the rugby Test against France on Saturday afternoon – which in itself clashes with an appetising soccer duel between Argentina and Nigeria – and the battle between England and the USA in the evening. And so it goes on throughout the Test series.
If you can’t find the time to watch the cricket there are always the newspapers – except that the Independent group’s Stuart Hess is the only South African journalist in the Caribbean.
I can understand the newspaper bosses throwing their resources into the football but surely this was a case where there would have been a greater demand than usual for old-fashioned newspaper reports for those (many, I hope) who are interested in the cricket but won’t find time to watch it all.
It’s a far cry from the historic first tour of the West Indies in 1992 when the media contingent was almost as big as the playing group.
There was a news television crew, radio commentators, radio reporters, cricket writers, feature writers and freelancers. More than enough to make up a South African media XI to take on the locals at the Carib brewery ground in the self-same Trinidad.
That was when we learned at first hand about the poor state of practice facilities at the Queens Park Oval, where this weekend’s Test match will be played. We organised to borrow some kit from the real cricketers and to use the nets after them.
The players had one look at the practice pitches and opted for throw-downs and fielding practice. We soon found out why when Peter Bacela, who in normal circumstances would have been a fairly innocuous seamer, gained life-threatening, unpredictable bounce. We too had to settle for throw-downs ahead of our match, played to the accompaniment of a booming sound system and copious quantities of the sponsor’s product.
The Proteas may not be quite alone but there won’t be any cricket-playing for Stuart Hess - and as the lone scribe filing for all his group's newspapers he might struggle to find time for a Carib.Ed's note: Luckily for the paper obsessed Bryden we now have the Internet, with live scoring and daily detailed match reports on Sport24. Colin Bryden is currently a disgruntled Soccer World Cup ticket purchaser, but also a former cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times and current editor of the Mutual & Federal South African Cricket AnnualDisclaimer:
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