Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2014 Contents A48
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 28, 2014
The 84 overs lost to the weather
on the second day may have done
more for West Indies than any of
their players have managed in the
series so far. It just might have given
the visitors the time and opportu-
nity they needed to force this match
into a contest, just when it seemed
to be pushing on to the predictable
"What the rain does is that it just
brings the opposition back into the
game," Faf du Plessis said. "It s very
frustrating for us as a team especially
after you have had a really good day
one with solid batting and we were
in a commanding position."
South Africa were only able to add
19 runs to their overnight total of 270
but were eyeing much more in an
attempt to close out the series before
the New Year s Test. Now, they have
to rethink those plans on a track that
will not offer as much pace and
bounce as is traditionally expected
in this country, and an outfield which
started off speedy but will now be
weighed down with water.
"We know that in Port Elizabeth
things take a little bit longer and it s
a slower process but now we will
have to speed it up. We have to stick
to our plans but to do it all quick-
er."South Africa will now approach
the Test like they would a first-class
four-day match, which could mean
settling on a lower first-innings total
and being willing to bat a second
time. "In a four-day match, if you
get 450 or close to that, you re in a
good position so that will be the dif-
ference now. We were looking at a
bigger score but we will have to bring
that down to make sure we win the
game," du Plessis said.
He expects Hashim Amla to bat
on on the third morning because
"280 is not enough", but also to up
the run-rate. "If we bat until lunch
time, in a perfect world, we would
bowl them out for 200 or 250 and
then set them another score in the
vicinity of 400 and bowl them out
Of course, West Indies have their
own script which involves batting in
a far more discerning fashion than
they did at Centurion. "Patience will
be key. Its not coming on as it did
in the first Test," Kraigg Brathwaite,
the West Indies opener said.
Du Plessis knows that St George s
surface rewards batsmen who are
willing to show patience, because he
experienced it first-hand and through
the eyes of his partner, Dean Elgar,
for most of the first day. "I struggled
for most of my innings, and I never
felt like I was hitting the ball in the
middle. I told myself it did not have
to be pretty; it just had to effective,"
du Plessis said. "Dean is suited to
grinding it out. Conditions like this
are perfect for him. He is a gutsy
cricketer and I enjoy batting with
Despite knowing that a conserva-
tive approach could work on this
pitch, du Plessis still backed the South
African attack to take 20 wickets in
less than two days if they had to,
even if they could not find the expect-
ed reverse swing. "That s the beauty
of our attack - we ve got the vari-
"Morne can extract bounce, Ver-
non will be in play if there is any
movement off the pitch and Dale can
do it with pace. Our armory is very
strong. Even if there is not much turn
for Imran [Tahir], in those four days,
they are good enough to bowl any
team out. Our bowlers pride them-
selves on not bowling any bad balls
and we know we have to grind when
we come here."
That was the case even when there
was no cricket to be played. With
only six overs bowled between 10am
and 5pm when stumps were called,
there was a lot of idle time, which
left both teams searching for ways
to keep themselves entertained.
"I wish there was something better
to do than just sit around. But we
played a bit of change-room cricket
and got Russell Domingo to bat a bit.
His batting technique needs some
help," du Plessis joked. "You really
can t do that much and on a day like
today, you end up a eating a lot more.
So our trainer probably isn t very
happy with us."
That much was evident when
South Africa s trainer Greg King kept
a careful eye on the post-play soccer
match. "You guys are getting stuck
in, I m worried about an injury," he
said as the players jostled for the ball
in the damp.
If they manage to beat both the
weather and West Indies, King will
likely forgive them.
Roger Federer s drive to succeed
has landed him seven Wimbledon
singles titles and a legion of fans.
But when it comes to his children
taking up sport, he is determined
not to be a pushy parent.
It was an unlikely meeting on the
face of it---the Speaker of the House
of Commons and the man who is
considered by many as the greatest
tennis player ever to grace the men s
But when John Bercow, formerly
Britain s top-ranking junior tennis
player, was given the chance to edit
Radio 4 s Today programme and
interview guests of his choosing,
Roger Federer was top of his list.
Mr Bercow has watched the Swiss
player in action no fewer than 65
times this year and was keen to get
to the source of the unwavering
ambition that has led him to remain
at the pinnacle of his profession.
"I realised very quickly that it s
an entirely different thing winning
something for the first time and then
having to come back the following
year and defend it," explains Feder-
"Once I reached a certain level...
I looked up to the great other athletes
out there [for motivation], like
Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods,
Valentino Rossi and Michael Schu-
macher---people who did it so long,
so many times and make you wonder
How did they do that? .
"Next thing you know," he adds,
"it s like you re part of that in a small
way, and every year that goes by you
get closer to those people. They were
definitely a big inspiration for me to
keep working hard."
This continued passion for the
game has led Federer to a record 302
weeks as world number one, sur-
passing Pete Sampras s mark of 286.
And after a difficult year in 2013,
when he struggled with a back injury,
Federer returned in impressive form
this season to win more matches---
73---than any other player on the
men s tour.
Once dismissed by many critics
as a player in perpetual decline, the
33-year-old remains a serious con-
tender for Grand Slam victory in
2015. Which is just as well, as he
admits it would be difficult for him
to turn up to a tournament as a
sideshow to the main event.
"I definitely am fortunate to
always be playing on Centre Court
and very often prime time," he says.
"I must say---and this is honest -
I don t know if I would still be play-
ing if they would put me on Court
4 every day.
"That would be difficult for me,
having played on all these wonderful
courts around the world and now
playing in front of a fraction of those
people ---that would be rough."
The will to succeed is clearly a
theme of his unrivalled longevity at
the top of the game, and Mr Bercow
---David Cameron s former doubles
partner in the Commons and Lords
tennis team---is keen to know
whether similar expectations will be
pressed on his children.
"I don t know if the kids are ever
going to play tennis at a high level
like that," says Federer, whose wife
Mirka gave birth to their second set
of twins this May.
"Honestly, I think it all depends
on how things are going to be when
we settle in Switzerland, and what
sport they are going to take up.
"But I think for any kid it s impor-
tant for them... to enjoy what they re
doing, whatever sport that is."
Federer, however, is keen to make
clear the distinction between sup-
portive and pushy parents, especially
given the role his father Robert and
mother Lynette have played in his
"Parental support and advice is
very important...to make you under-
stand that it s a privilege to be able
to go to tennis lessons and play ten-
nis tournaments. So the least a kid
can do is give it their best effort and
best attitude," he explains.
"At the same time, the parents
also need to give space to the kid
and the coaches so they can work
and... travel by themselves---the par-
ents don t always need to babysit
them through their entire career.
"That s why today when my par-
ents tell me You know what, we
want to come to every single tour-
nament you play on the tour , I would
say Yes please, come see me. I don t
mind spending every day with you
guys for the year.
"But if they tell me We don t
want to come see you play because
we really don t enjoy it that s cool
too. And that s what I hope every
parent can look forward to with their
kid," he adds.
"It needs to be both ways and for
me that worked very well - I got the
space, but I also felt the pressure,
the need to perform," he adds.
Du Plessis admits weather frustration
Federer: I will not be a pushy parent
Playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon has become second nature to Federer.
Left: Swiss Roger Federer celebrates with his wife and daughters after winning
the final tennis match of the Madrid Masters against Czech Tomas Berdych on
May 13, 2012 at the Magic Box (Caja Magica) sports complex in Madrid. Federer
won 3-6, 7-5, 7-5. AFP PHOTO
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