CENTURION – South African cricket has been rocked by another match-fixing scandal after rumours emerged that the national test team will be deliberately losing all future matches. Not since the devil made former captain Hansie Cronje take money from a bookie to bat badly has a scheme so shameful been suspected to have been hatched in the South African cricket camp. It is believed that the Proteas will disgracefully throw tests in an attempt to remove themselves from the top spot on the world rankings. “Now that we’re number one, nobody wants to play us anymore,” Captain Graeme Smith reportedly whinged to a team mate. Since South Africa became the planet’s top ranked team their test match schedule started looking leaner than a lamb chop from Woolworths. The test team played considerably fewer matches than other countries, competing with Zimbabwe to be the side least likely to get a game. To make matters worse, India reduced their tour in December to only two tests. This, however, did not save them from losing the series. “The Indian team struggles outside of India because it’s hard to get a decent curry outside Mumbai,” explained Captain MS Dhoni during the post-match interview. “We are malnourished and it affects our performance.” While some claims that it is a perfectly acceptable reason for India to demand a shorter tour, not everyone is convinced. “As a professional sports team you need to perform regardless of the curry you are dished up,” remarked former Indian batsmen Ravi Shastri. Very few test matches are scheduled to involve South Africa over the next two years, with the T20 and ODI world cups used as a pretext to avoid playing the Proteas in the five day version of the game. Recent results suggest that the pattern won’t change unless something drastic is done. “The South African team has not lost a test series in five years,” said veteran commentator Peter Kirsten. “They should be able to maintain that unbeaten record easily if they don’t play any games.” Experts following the gentlemen’s game are concerned that it may be a deliberate ploy to avoid embarrassment. “The tri-partheid alliance of England, Australia and India don’t like losing against a team from a nation not considered to be a part of the inner circle of the cricketing frat-tyranny,” suggested Wendell Thumper, an avid cricket fan and one of the world’s foremost armchair conspiracy theorists. “They will do anything they can to tilt power back in their favour.” “In the end, the Proteas need to make a choice – do they want to play, or do they want to win,” he continued. Cricket South Africa emphatically denies the rumours. “The Proteas are so far ahead on points that they will have to lose all their games for the next two years before they’d drop a place on the rankings,” insisted CEO Haroon Lorgat. “They’ll be playing so few matches that losing really won’t do much to change their empty touring schedule.” “Clearly, they might as well take their chances and try to win.” BN
Like all good sportsmen, Raoul was born in the Free State before being offered more money to move to Gauteng. He has such a keen knowledge of the games that he doesn’t need to watch it to know what’s going on. When he’s not following athletes around, Raoul can be found on his farm near Bronkhorstspruit, drinking whiskey and shooting his gun. .