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Cherished family time & unavoidable admin

I’ve had a few days to myself, following the end of the KFC T20 series against Pakistan, and this is always the time when I cash in and do some admin, which is so difficult to get done when you are constantly touring.

You may wonder what we cricketers get up to when we’ve got a few spare days during the season. Well, nothing glamorous I’m afraid, although I was able to fit in another round of golf with mates, which was great. It was also better than last week’s round, so a more enjoyable experience for me and my golf partner!

So, from an admin point of view, I’ve been trying to get someone to either rent or buy my place in Pretoria, ahead of our move to Cape Town in mid-year. So, seeing potential agents takes time, and I’ve done a bit of that this past week.

More importantly, when I get time off, I use it to spend time with my fiancé, Imari, and my family. Imari and I have set a wedding date of 23 November and the big event will take place in Stellenbosch. We tried to find a gap in the cricket schedule at the end of the year, but it wasn’t easy. Judging by the prospective dates for the tour by India, there will be a day or two off before the next game, so at least Imari and I will have some sort of honeymoon, even though it will be pretty short.

As mentioned, time with my family is also really important. My parents have been separated since I was about three, so I make sure I spend time with both my Mom and Dad, when I’m at home. Dinner at Mom’s usually involves her making ‘boerekos’ for me. By that I mean ‘skaapboud’ and an old-fashioned way of cooking vegetables. I like to cook myself, and I like to try making different things, while I delve into foreign cook books. So, my Mom knows that there isn’t much I consider special or different, but what she makes is something I look forward to all the time. With Dad, it’s always a braai and I always look forward to ‘tanning’ some big steaks and chops with him. Quality time with both of them is something I cherish.

Now I’m on my way to Bloemfontein for the start of the Momentum one-day international series against Pakistan. I’ve obviously had some time to reflect on the T20 defeat to Pakistan. It was a shame that the first game in Durban was washed out, as the wicket there is quicker and bouncier, and definitely would have suited us more. But, you can’t dictate the weather and it ended up being a straight shootout in the second game at SuperSport Park.

On the day, we just came up against a better side that played better than us. I thought they were fantastic and it was just about the perfect game for Pakistan – I don’t remember seeing the Pakistanis fielding and catching as well as they did on Sunday. In Twenty20 cricket, we always talk about wanting one guy to bat through and get 80-plus runs and the stats support that. I think I saw a stat saying that when a guy gets more than 75, then 90% of the time that team wins. Mohammed Hafeez played a brilliant knock and to be honest, we just didn’t have many answers. He scored all round the ground and was just too good for our bowlers on the day.

Then, chasing close to 200, you need someone in the top three to go big. But Henry, AB and I weren’t able to and that just put pressure on the rest of the guys. Also, that one over from Umar Gul just killed us.

It wasn’t our best performance, but it was good for us to see where we are as a Twenty20 squad and what we need to do. We’re a long way off where we want to be, if we want to compete in the ICC World Twenty20 in 13 months’ time. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but we realise this, and know that we need to keep improving.

Until next week.

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