Cricket: Travellers on a new frontier

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The Independent Online
AT THIS stage of an England tour there has usually been a humbling defeat to a team of unknowns, injuries to at least two key players and a media- inspired 'row', writes Glenn Moore from Springs.

So something is clearly amiss with the England A tour of South Africa, which enters its second week today without the slightest glitch. How on earth is it going to prepare players for a senior tour if there are no crises?

The cricket resumes today, after a break at Sun City, with another one-day game, against Eastern Transvaal in this Afrikaans town 40 miles east of Johannesburg.

Springs is one of those towns slowly coming to terms with the 'new South Africa'. Last year, when India played here, the eager-to-please nature of a dinner held in their honour was spoilt by a blessing in Afrikaans with a distinctly Christian emphasis.

The ground is an unattractive rugby one - the last British side to play there was Bill Beaumont's 1980 Lions in a provincial game - and the opposition moderate. The veteran spinner, Peter de Vaal, who was selected for the cancelled tour of Australia in 1970- 71, provides the experience, the Barbadian fast bowler Sam Skeete the fire. England will select from their full 14-man squad this morning.

EASTERN TRANSVAAL (v England A, Springs, today): C Norris (capt), B Randall, W Radford, A Norris, J Lerm, T Jammal, T Mash, P de Vaal, J Burger, S Skeete, C Jordaan.