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  • July 5, 2019
    导出博客文章It is the year 2020. Kagiso Rabada has played for Sydney Sixers, Delhi
    Daredevils and Jamaica Tallawahs and is deciding between a return to Kent or
    making himself available for South Africa for a Test match. Rabada has not
    played for his country since 2018, in the World T20. He sat out 2019 because he
    chose the Pakistan Super League instead.Youve heard these kinds of scenarios
    before, and perhaps youve even started to believe they will come to exist,
    especially if you are a follower of South African cricket.Why them in
    particular?With some of the most celebrated names in the game - think AB de
    Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn - and a team that has until recently occupied
    top spot in Test cricket and hovered around there in ODIs, their players are in
    demand in T20 leagues and at home, and they increasingly have reasons to favour
    the former.While T20 leagues offer US dollar income and freedom from politics,
    playing for South Africa means being paid in declining rands, and a
    responsibility to nation-building, which involves buying into CSAs aggressive
    transformation policy. The word from some former players is that the more
    valuable currency and the gigs with less baggage are likely to win out, despite
    the fierce loyalties bred through the South African school system that make
    players second-guess themselves.One former player told ESPNcricinfo that money
    will be 80% to blame for the exodus. International player body FICAs 2016 report
    painted a financial picture that showed the disparity that exists between
    centrally contracted national players and T20 mercenaries everywhere except in
    England and Australia (and presumably India, but their players do not have a
    union and so are not included in FICA reviews). A player who is part of three
    domestic T20 leagues a year takes home an average of $510,000. Cricket South
    Africa ($346,494), Sri Lanka Cricket ($234,500), New Zealand Cricket ($231,000),
    the West Indies Cricket Board ($225,625) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board
    ($67,935) all pay their players much less.For South Africans, whose currency has
    devalued 30% against the US dollar in the last 12 months, the monetary lure of
    earning foreign currency is too good to turn down. In a column for SA Cricket
    magazine in February, former Test opener Alviro Petersen he predicted that South
    Africa could lose their best players in 18-24 months.At the time Petersen used
    himself as an example. He was denied a no-objection certificate to play in the
    Masters Champions League because his South African franchise, Lions, wanted him
    to honour his contract with them. Petersen underlined what that cost him. I
    could have earned what the Lions pay me in a year for just two and a half weeks
    at the MCL, he wrote. We might see some players decide to play Big Bash rather
    than play a Test series in December. This is reality! Watch this space…As it
    turns out, several sources have confirmed two of South Africas top bowlers are
    considering exactly that. The Big Bash coincides with South Africas home series
    against Sri Lanka and there is an expectation of high-profile retirements from
    international cricket ahead of that.Money, though, will not be those players
    only reason for going. It is fast becoming an open secret in South Africa that
    the implementation of the transformation policy, which CSA is vehemently
    adhering to in a bid to have its ministerial ban against hosting major
    tournaments lifted, is causing players to question their commitment. Several
    players and administrators confirmed that the uncertainty around the application
    of the policy is causing concern (though none was willing to speak on the record
    about an issue that is sensitive and controversial and has cost people jobs).CSA
    maintains that there is no target at national level but has signed a memorandum
    of understanding with the sports ministry that requires it to field, at domestic
    level, teams that contain six players of colour, of which at least three must be
    black African. This has presented franchises and provincial teams with
    conundrums over the balance of their sides, but many coaches feel they are
    starting to settle into the new structure. However, at national level it gets
    more complicated, and a number of centrally contracted players are understood to
    be looking for options abroad because they feel they are being marginalised by
    the targets.Even for the rest, playing cricket for the national side is losing
    its appeal. FICAs CEO, Tony Irish, told ESPNcricinfo that bilateral
    international cricket as a product, and as an experience for players, is
    struggling because players want big crowds, close contests and matches that have
    context and sporting narrative. T20 leagues offer all of those things and in a
    shorter time frame than international cricket, which is a factor, especially for
    players who have families, as Irish points out.That is where many of South
    Africas stars find themselves at the moment, with young children and partners
    who spend months living out of suitcases, and it has taken its toll on their
    performance. National coach Russell Domingo cited overwork as the main reason
    the team was unable to qualify for the final of the Caribbean triangular series
    this June. By the time they got there, some of them had come through their
    busiest summer season in recent memory, which included eight Tests, a World T20
    and an IPL. Others then went straight from the West Indies tour into the CPL,
    and they will go from that into Tests against New Zealand and ODIs against
    Australia at home. The Australia fixtures, in particular, are an example of the
    kinds of matches that lack context. It is not too difficult to imagine players
    pulling out of that and other limited-overs series unless they can be persuaded
    to play on.That has already happened with Morne Morkel, who is understood to
    have been seriously considering retiring from limited-overs cricket after being
    left out of the World T20 squad. He was even due to play for Glamorgan over the
    South African winter. But he was included in the national squad to the West
    Indies - where he was only included in two out of six starting XIs - and
    convinced not to call it a day.Morkel is not the only one. Last season was
    dominated by reports of de Villiers pondering early retirement. De Villiers
    admitted there was a little bit of truth to the talk and spent several press
    conferences discussing the need for a more flexible schedule. In fact, he only
    recommitted fully to South African cricket after he was made permanent Test
    captain at the end of the England Test series.Several other former players saw
    that as a dangerous sign that some players are becoming too powerful. These
    players know the system needs them and they know they can use that to their
    advantage. They can make threats about wanting to walk away, so in the end they
    get what they want, one said.In effect, South African cricket could end up being
    held to ransom by its headliners, and the cricket economy is such that there is
    little anyone can do to stop that.The South African Cricketers Association
    remains of the view that international cricket should still be the pinnacle for
    players, but tempers that with a cautionary clause. This needs to be balanced
    against also giving players some freedom to participate in vibrant T20
    Leagues.Irish feels that South African players have, up to now, been pretty
    loyal to the country cause but that one cant expect the best players in the
    world - and again this applies in all countries - to blindly commit to the
    country loyalty when there are more and more games without context and more and
    more one-sided matches played in half-empty stadia, when in the other market its
    the opposite. He, along with his FICA colleagues, is pushing for a restructure
    of bilateral international cricket.Until that happens, South Africas
    administrators will have to continue to find ways to be flexible. They have
    already showed some signs that they are, at all levels. Dale Steyn was given an
    NOC to play in the NatWest T20 Blast during South Africans West Indies tour,
    though the official line was that he was supposed to be resting. In the womens
    game Dane van Niekerk, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee will miss
    South Africas tour of Ireland because they were given permission to play in
    Englands Super League T20. CSA has recognised that for players to commit to a
    low-paying national cause, they have to be allowed to capitalise elsewhere, but
    they may also be hoping that international cricket realises the need to move
    towards a more football-like model before the players move it there themselves.
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    MEXICO CITY, Mexico -- Lewis Hamilton was nearly dealt a critical blow to his
    title chances on the opening lap of the Mexican Grand Prix when his Mercedes
    team considered pitting him from the lead.Hamilton locked his front right tyre
    into the first corner due to a glazed brake disc, resulting in him taking to the
    run off and cutting Turn 2 completely. He escaped a penalty from the stewards
    but the lock-up severely damaged his right front tyre with a flat spot.Mercedes
    were ready to pit Hamilton at the end of the first lap, but a safety car period
    for a collision between Pascal Wherlein and Marcus Ericsson gave the pit wall
    enough time to revaluate the situation.It was huge, Hamilton said. A massive
    flat spot and I honestly thought that I was going to have to come in. When I
    came out of the chicane I honestly thought I was coming in that lap and that was
    my race pretty much done. But they told me to stay out, the safety car came out
    and they felt that we could live with the vibration and it wouldnt damage the
    suspension. It was getting worse and worse even though I wasnt locking up any
    more. But I had to take a lot of precautions while trying to nurse the car to
    the 17th lap.Team boss Toto Wolff said the vibrations caused by the misshaped
    tyre llooked scary on the teams data.ddddddddddddWith all the bad luck Lewis has
    had throughout the season, he got some of that back today, some of the good luck
    back, because he badly flat-spotted the tyre. The vibration matrix was scary
    from the beginning. We had quite a conversation on the radio about whether we
    should pit him for safety reasons.In any other race we would have pitted him and
    lost the race. We kept him out there in order to not throw away the championship
    for him. Every single lap, every single straight, we monitored the vibrations.
    Our team did a fantastic job in keeping that under control and then we pitted
    him a bit earlier because the vibration matrix was going sky high and a
    suspension failure could have easily happened.Hamilton made it to lap 17 with
    the flat spot before changing tyres, which Wolff said was crucial to staying on
    a winning strategy.That was the earliest we could have pitted him. Everything
    else would have destroyed the race. But honestly it was not a comfortable
    situation we found ourselves in there to make that call, weighing up the
    championship versus a failure of the suspension.
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