THERE has been a subtle, barely discernible, break with tradition in the cricket world this year. The change is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but for certain aficionados, the interest and excitement of the arrival of the South African tourists has been tinged with anti- climax. By the time they arrived in the arboreal amphitheatre that is Arundel Castle cricket ground for the habitual lightweight opener against The Duke of Norfolk's XI they had already been blooded in a three-day match against Worcestershire.
It is a shame since the post-war cricketing public has become used to snatching an early glimpse of the overseas opponents in an informal atmosphere where country house cricket meets one day internationals. It started with the Australians in 1956 and has continued almost unbroken since. Still no one among the 6,000 or so people stretched out in their deck chairs seemed too bothered.
They were content to enjoy the sunshine and the fact that this was only the second South African team to play here since Jackie McGlew's 1960 party rolled up and rolled over a Duke's XI that contained Keith Miller, Ken Barrington, Godfrey Evans, passed them by.
Hansie Cronje's men did not quite roll over this year's Invitation XI, chiefly because of some resistance from Hugh Morris, the former captain of Glamorgan who took up the cudgels with a belligerent half century. He and Western Australia's Matthew Mason (34 not out) put on 56 for the ninth wicket but the target was always out of reach.
Gary Kirsten (71 off 77 balls), Daryll Cullinan (42) and a couple of fiery innings from Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes, as well as a cultured 44 from Adam Bacher, who is challenging Gerhardus Liebenberg for the remaining place in the Tourists one day international line-up, ensured that The Duke's XI found their march to be uphill.
With two other retirees in their ranks, Allan Lamb and Desmond Haynes, it was probably not surprising. Anyway the Tourists attack was able to pierce their defences too readily and when the ball was hit well a South African would pop up to make a fine stop.Reuse content