Half-baked cricket from SABC
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Cricket and the SABC ... it is a combination that somehow always seems to be associated with precariousness and intrigue.
With a bit of luck, the phenomenon of home internationals involving the Proteas (New Zealand and Pakistan are the respective visitors this summer) being screened live on SABC3 will continue in 2012/13, though seeing is believing.
For the meantime, those without DStv access are resigned to not catching any of the Test series action in Australia ... the partial compromise, however, is radio commentary on Radio 2000.
But I say partial for a reason: the bizarre thing is that the loyal likes of Craig Marais, Aslam Khota, Natalie Germanos, Mluleki Ntsabo, Colin Bryden and former Test star Peter Kirsten are starting an unenviable graveyard shift at 01:00 (an hour before the start of play in both the just-completed Brisbane Test and again in Adelaide next) in Johannesburg but then being nipped in the bud at 06:00.
That is when Radio 2000, in its eternal wisdom, puts ball-by-ball chat on hold for a three-hour music slot, wiping out some of the second session and just about all of the last.
In fairness, occasional updates are provided, but it is a little like a radio or TV broadcaster trumpeting coverage of a sporting curtain-raiser of some sort, but then stubbornly ignoring the main event, don’t you think?
Bear in mind that the cricket-less spell between 06:00 and 09:00 would have the potential to capture a few DStv-watchers, enabling them to stay abreast of the cricket during their drive-to-work time, when listenership is traditionally high anyway.
I have had a few people lament to me, presumably because that spell is the likeliest in which they would tune in, that the Aussie series “isn’t even on radio”, but I can at least correct them that it is - albeit in strange doses and with periods often associated with best momentum in play excluded!
Some expense must be required to fly in some of the commentators from outside Johannesburg, so you would think that, just for the maximum of 15 days of play this relatively short series encompasses, more comprehensive coverage would be provided.
The philosophical view might be to offer thanks for small mercies ... some SABC cricket being better than none at all.
Rob’s Awesome Foursome
1. Scotland v South Africa, Test rugby
Edinburgh, Saturday 16:30, M-Net, SS1 & SHD
For the time being my belief that the Springboks will grind (perhaps rather than dazzle) their way through the end-of-year tour unbeaten remains fairly decently on course. With one down and two to go, the Scots really should not have enough overall firepower to derail the tourists at Murrayfield even if some anxious periods are likely. I was at the venue for the 2010 meeting, where the Boks were upset 21-17 in appalling (and insufferably frigid!) conditions, and don’t anticipate lightning striking again, not least because the long-range forecast for Saturday looks positively “balmy” ... around 8 deg C and only partly cloudy. Jean de Villiers’s team by 12-14 points, then? 2. Lions v Knights, Momentum One-Day Cup cricket
Potchefstroom, Friday 15:00, SS2, CSN & SH2
Surprise packages of the Twenty20 Champions League until their slaughter in the final, the Lions have resumed their limited-overs promise in this domestic competition – they lead the pack with four wins out of four and already have a buxom 10-point advantage on the log over neighbours the Titans, who admittedly have a game in hand. They will try to extend their run when the Free Staters come to “Potch”, under rather more pressure as they have been defeated twice in three matches and probably cannot afford another right now. Keep watching Aaron Phangiso: the left-arm spinner just can’t seem to have a bad match and must be heavily tipped to play for the Proteas soon.3. Arsenal v Tottenham, English Premiership soccer
London, Saturday 14:45, SS3, Maximo & SHD3
The North London derby is an appetising event ... even when both the Gunners and Spurs are in periods of uncertainty, as is currently the case. They are both some way off the big three at the top of the Premiership (Chelsea and the Manchester clubs) and, with clouds gathering around respective bosses Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas, there will be tension aplenty at the Emirates Stadium. Tottenham currently hold a one-point lead over their local rivals, so Arsenal’s additional incentive to win at home is knowledge that they will leapfrog them at the same time. Domestically, there’s an attractive Telkom Knockout semi on Saturday night, featuring SuperSport United against Sundowns (20:15, live on both SS4 and SABC1).
4. SA Open Championship golf
Johannesburg, to Sunday 13:30, mostly SS1/SS5
The SA Open is certainly regaining its prestige at a rate of knots, with an array of sparkling domestic talent at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate this weekend supplemented by such strong overseas names as Germany’s Martin Kaymer and the Swede Henrik Stenson. Dale Hayes reminded in his always-readable Cape Times column this week that “winning your country’s Open is very special” and as the line-up keeps getting better and better, perhaps the halcyon days of Messrs Locke, Player and other dominating it are edging closer to being revisited ...