The Hack: A chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the cricket

I get to do something I haven’t been able to in ages, enjoy a match at the Wanderers as a cricket lover in the stands and not from my usual spot in the press box.

I’ve threatened to take my cricket-mad younger cousin, Ewan, to a game for ages and now I can oblige right at the end of England’s tour and what better place for him to experience international cricket for the first time than at the Bullring.

The crowd always roars to life to life when things are happening. It just takes one player to ignite them.

It’s been a long tour by the English across the three formats and I’m sure that those players involved in all three formats will be glad that it’s over. A couple of journalists, having covered the series in it’s entirety feel the same way.

Before I started writing predominantly about cricket I used to scoff at players who spoke about being tired towards the end of a tour and seeing how that fatigue impacted performance. I mean, all they do is play cricket matches, net sessions, fielding practice, media obligations and public appearances right? How taxing could that be?

But being in the position I am now, and having spent lots of time filling space in this paper all through the Tests, barring Centurion, the one-dayers and now the T20s, well at least last night’s game, I can see how long it might feel for a player.

While I’m sitting on the stands today I promise not to tweet or post any snide remarks on Facebook about performance or selections. I am just going to enjoy the cricket.

I’ve seen far too many people have a go at the side on social media in the last few months, in fact dating right back to last year’s World Cup, but almost all of them have been unfounded claims and comments.

Now, before people jump down my throat, I understand that everyone’s entitled to their opinions and I respect the idea of healthy debate when it comes to sporting matters. But please, don’t make comments if you have not done the research to back it up.

A few people had a go when Temba Bavuma arrived on the scene, plenty made an about turn when he scored that memorable Test ton at Newlands, arguing how he was a quota player. When engaging them I asked whether they watched any domestic cricket. Most answered no. If they’d followed Bavuma’s exploits in the Sunfoil Series they would have all about his talent.

In fact, the only time that the armchair experts got it right recently was when the calls mounted for Stephen Cook’s inclusion as the Test opener. That’s where we all agreed.

I can’t promise total radio silence – Wanderers is a colourful place so an Instagram post might be necessary – from social media but at least I’ll be spared from the trolls on Twitter and Facebook while South Africa play. Well at least for the 40-overs today.

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