A look back at some of the SACricketMag.com stories that piqued the most interest during the opening month of the year.
- Proteas fast bowler Duanne Olivier capitalised on success in the Mzansi Super League, and all-rounder Vernon Philander’s absence due to injury, to be named Player of the Series after three Tests against Pakistan – and later received a maiden ODI call-up.
- Arguable conclusions were drawn from Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s racial taunt to South African all-rounder Andile Phelukwayo. Ahmed later apologised and was forgiven by opposition skipper Faf du Plessis and company, but copped a four-match suspension from the International Cricket Council, regardless.
- Western Province batsman Qaasim Adams was banned for three fixtures after allegedly drawing a gun on a teammate. The brevity of the suspension, allowing him to compete in amateur club competition throughout, is questionable.
- Fans continue to smart on account of the former South African captain’s stints across domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world, including the Bangladesh Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League. Other players, young and old, will surely follow suit.
- Some positives were found after South Africa lost the ODI series opener to Pakistan at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. The veteran Hashim Amla’s supposed return to form was among the upsides, which also entailed the arrival of untried Rassie van der Dussen.
- The mercurial Dale Steyn eventually surpassed former captain Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket. He then moved past New Zealander Sir Richard Hadlee, England’s Stuart Broad and Sri Lankan Rangana Herath’s tallies. He can overtake India’s Kapil Dev soon enough, too.