Opinion: Lest we forget the Sunfoil Series

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Jonhenry Wilson speaks about the state of First Class cricket in South Africa at the moment ago. 

I trust I'm not speaking too soon, but it looks like at least two of the three fifth-round matches of the Sunfoil Series will yield results. Thank goodness, too, after the first dozen all ended in draws - an awful advertisement for first-class cricket in South Africa.

As always, the Sunfoil Series has such an important role to play on the country's domestic circuit, but even more so now that the T20 Global League has been postponed. Good quality domestic cricket - regardless of format - is vital.

Some of the tracks being prepared are hardly conducive to this, though. The City Oval in Pietermarizburg, in fact, was effectively labelled a 'road' by one of the presiding umpires in the match between the Dolphins and the Titans.

This has to change, with more sporting decks bound to yield fewer stalemates. Big isolated individual performances are great for headlines, but the game itself is hampered when the collective evolution of the four days doesn't take precedent.

While coverage was limited, it was really good to see wrist spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Shaun von Berg in tandem for the Titans. I'm pleased Mark Boucher backed both, rather than one or the other.

Rassie van der Dussen and Rudi Second looked particularly good for the Lions against the Knights in Potchefstroom, where the former seemed to have so much more time - in shot selection and stroke play - than his contemporaries. He, hopefully, is closer to a Proteas Test call-up than a lot of his peers, including Second.

I was astonished to hear about some of the dodgy antics on the go in franchise cricket, though. While Shamsi's obsessive, over-appealing is relatively well documented, Heinrich Klaasen allegedly regularly chances his arm with dubious work behind the stumps, including insisting a batsman is bowled when the bails have actually been removed by the wicketkeeper's gloves. Some Titans players, apparently, are synonymous with questionable gamesmanship when there are no mid-match replays to prove otherwise.

Back on the international front, it was so good to see Wiaan Mulder and Aiden Markram debut in the final ODI against Bangladesh. That speaks to wise selection with a view to a bright future, ever separating itself from the conservative past. Preparation for the next World Cup has ostensibly already started - and Mulder, Markram and other youngsters are central to this.

With such an exciting bunch to go with him, AB de Villiers' decision to pick and choose which series he'd play in toward the end of last year and the first half of 2017 - in order to prolong his career and play in the next World Cup - is being justified, too.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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