Centurion: The South African cricket team management confirmed yesterday that detailed plans for their bowlers to use against New Zealand's batsmen had been delivered to the wrong hotel room.
A guest at a Sandton hotel posted an image on Facebook showing how South Africa planned to attack each of the Kiwi batsmen in Wednesday's first one-day international at Centurion. She said a document addressed to South African fast bowler Dale Steyn had been slipped under her hotel room door.
"It's true, unfortunately," said team spokesperson Lerato Malekutu. It's not the first time cricket team strategies have fallen into the wrong hands, and the document reveals no riveting insights. The basic plan for most of the batsmen is to bowl "fourth stump, good length", with more detailed assessments about each batsman.
Plans for each batsman are divided into three categories - areas to bowl, bouncers and "death" overs. Star batsman and stand-in captain Kane Williamson, for instance, is labelled as liable to drive "on the up" and the plan is to shape the ball away from him to encourage a false shot.
Free-scoring opening batsman Martin Guptill, on the other hand, is regarded as someone who cuts in the air on the offside and bowlers should try to shape the ball into him. Luke Ronchi and George Worker are both described as "compulsive hooker/pullers".
The hotel guest, Cassandra Teasdale, has been offered tickets to the match by New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who is regarded as a leg before wicket candidate. Teasdale, meanwhile, quipped on her Facebook post, "I wonder if this means Dale thinks he is sleeping in my room tonight."
Similar documents have been delivered to the wrong hotel rooms in the past - most famously in 2001 on Australia's tour of England. Australian coach John Buchanan passed on motivational material from Sun Tzu, a Chinese general from the fifth century BC. A copy of the document was mistakenly delivered to the room of an English journalist.