I HAD a feeling all along that the ODI cricket would not match the Test series for sheer quality and excitement. And, even though we won the ODIs against India and only shared the Test series, so it turned out. But who could have predicted the rain?
Duckworth-Lewis simply is no way to determine the outcome of a cricket match. Remember that rain-disturbed ODI in Australia, soon after we returned to world cricket, where we were set 22 runs to win off one ball? Ridiculous.
Is it beyond the wit of man to devise a match schedule that is flexible enough for the overs remaining to be played the next day as soon as the sun comes up? I know the aim is to get a result on the day, but can an abstruse mathematical formula, that so often seems to provide an unsatisfactory result, really replace the mechanics of batting, bowling and fielding?
I ask because in a couple of months we will be on the sub-continent of India for the World Cup, in a region where parts seem to be more or less permanently under floodwater and in conditions where the La Nina phenomenon of prolonged, torrential rain threatens more of the same. This could be Duckworth-Lewis's finest hour.
Rugby season is here at last. The Stormers versus the Lions tonight, the Bulls versus the EP Kings tomorrow. We don't play until Tuesday, against the Lions. We can start getting back to normal, the Florida Road rugby colloquium is back in session. We are removed from the distractions of the Thunder Bar and elsewhere.
And in this context I have to confess to a solecism last week in which I said Percy Hall, the former wrestler, had played rugby for Natal and Durban Collegians. His club was, of course, Durban Wanderers (now known as Harlequins).
I need to explain this. Many years ago I was playing Under 20 for Maritzburg Collegians and we were in Durban to play our annual start of season derby against our Durban namesakes. It was always a huge affair, played at all levels first, second and third division, Under 20 alternately in Durban and Maritzburg. All the big names were involved: Springboks like Keith Oxlee, TrixTruter and Ormie Taylor; plenty of provincial caps.
We Under20s had already played our match and were skylarking a bit in the clubhouse, indulging in minor horseplay and hooliganism, making a lot of noise. Suddenly Percy Hall was in our midst giving a stern lecture on good manners.
Now Hall had been a professional wrestler known as "Mr X". He wore a mask which his agent said would not be removed until he was defeated in the ring. And in the end he never would be defeated because the Natal rugby selectors drafted him into the pack to give it extra muscle against the New Zealanders and others. It turned out to be an inspired move.
And here was this gigantic figure telling us to quieten down or he would pull our heads off. We quietened. As a scrumhalf, it's the only time I've ever been intimidated by a flanker. And somehow I wrongly associated Percy Hall in my mind with the Durban Collegians hierarchy. Peccavi!
See you at the Pub With No Name! Heavy training lies ahead!