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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Cricket: Where Are All The Cricketing Options?
Friday, 15 November 2013 00:00

Cricket: Where Are All The Cricketing Options?

Written by  Rusty Shackelton

Where are all the cricketing options? With the Varsity Cup now a feature in the SA cricketing calendar and countless first years enjoying the party that goes with it, the gulf in awareness between rugby and cricket has reached troubling depths.


 Fair shout to the varsities and sponsors; they are dealing with the reality of rugby completely dominating the domestic sporting landscape at junior levels.

 Schools are systematically pumping exorbitant amounts of money into their rugby programs; due not only to the reactionary arms race between schools; but largely as a result of to the pressure that learners, parents and past pupils place on a successful 1st XV.

 Socially, we also find ourselves in a time where patience is thin and entertainment needs to be simmering. There is simply no place for the serenity that traditional cricket demands. Except this is not the case. Sure, one cannot compare the crowds and media attention in domestic cricket to that of the Currie Cup, but South Africa currently has one of the most talented and successful senior cricket squads in its history.


Interest in the game is growing at grassroots level and schoolboy standards are steadily evolving, but whilst the tertiary and academy opportunities for aspiring rugby players are clear for all to see; where are the academies for future cricketers?


Granted, many provinces have junior structures for standout talents that schoolboy selectors have taken note of (a dubious process at the best of times), but what of the Marcel Coetzee’s of this world? The schoolboy on the periphery; who was granted an opportunity at the Sharks Academy and made it impossible to be ignored. Will these youngsters be picked up in the club system? Let’s get real.


The only solution lies in all parties coming to the table. Varsity rugby was dying an agonizing death before the leap of faith that was the Varsity Cup took flight. Do the same with cricket; even if it begins with the much maligned Twenty20 format; it’s a start and a decent compromise.


So the next time you feel the urge to ridicule one of the countless South African-bred England internationals, spare a thought for these young men when they matriculated and they surveyed their various options. The least we can do is to make their decision a difficult one.