Nagpur's nickname, "Orange City", could easily be a reference to the sun. It burns the colour it did when South Africa played India in the 2011 World Cup. The week leading up to the clash was when this column was born.
Squeaky bum time is here again. Another knockout match for the Proteas, and this time it is actually called that.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe is not respected in the UK. People there are still upset over his involvement with Essex, where he was mediocre on the field and hostile off it.
If you had a choice between Colin Ingram, David Miller and Farhaan Behardien as a replacement for Jacques Kallis at the Champions Trophy, you would still pick Kallis.
Which will come first: South Africa winning a second ICC trophy or Cricket South Africa appointing a CEO? Either would be a milestone.
That smirk. The one reserved for this moment. That knowing smirk. The one that always knew the Indian Premier League was corrupt. Many are wearing that smirk, but maybe they should not be.
When Joshua, James and Joanna Kirsten grow up, they will read about the sacrifice their father, Gary, made for them and feel pride. Or guilt. Or a little bit of both.
How wrong I was. Last week I stated that Jacques Kallis would be a part of South Africa's Champions Trophy squad. He is not.
Even Hashim Amla can be seduced. The Mother City has been batting her sun-kissed eyelashes at him since he made his first Test century there in April 2006.
Zimbabwe's interim coach Stephen Mangongo can come across as quite mean. He describes his team's performance in West Indies as "an absolute disaster", and admits to being "embarrassed" by them in the Caribbean.
Sunday's domestic twenty-overs final is being punted as the champagne cork that will be popped to mark the end of the South African season. There will be much to celebrate, especially for the champions, but there's no need to save the fizzy stuff for the Wanderers.
A sunset is best viewed from afar, so as dusk dawns on South Africa's summer, it is apt to reflect on it by looking to the horizon.
In the context of India's dominance over an Australian side in need of serious introspection, and Nick Compton, a South African-born batsman, racking up runs to blaze a trail towards selection for the Ashes, a one-day series can easily seem meaningless.
Four Australian cricketers learnt this week what most of us did in primary school: if you do not do your homework, you will be punished.
One of the least appreciated details of cricket is its sounds. The silence before a ball is delivered, the scratching around in the crease, the clapping of hands, the shouting of encouragement and the echo of leather on willow, which is multiplied a hundred times when stadiums are mostly empty - as they often are.
Stadium numbers indicate otherwise, but South Africans want more Test cricket. The first thought after the Proteas completed their summer sweep at Centurion was why there is a seven-month wait before they will be in action again.
The most significant change Robin Peterson made when he went from perennial drinks boy to permanent fixture across all formats of the national team was being more comfortable in his own skin. One aspect of that honesty involved understanding how to operate within his limitations, another was acknowledging his role in the side.
Four. The number of Tests South Africa have won in succession. None. The number of Tests South Africa have lost in the past 13 months.
Stereotypes are born because they reflect some sort of truth. Even when that changes, the assumptions do not.
When Faf du Plessis tossed the coin in Kimberley yesterday, he became South Africa's fourth one-day captain in less than two years. That statistic reflects a team that has not yet found its place in the 50-over format and is continually making attempts to do so.
"Thanks for coming, New Zealand. Next time you visit please bring your cricket team with you."
Welcome to a new cricketing year. Given how well it started on the field it would seem 12 months of good times await. If only. Rather, it is a case of welcome to the same old Cricket South Africa problems.
Mark Boucher watched South Africa retain the world No1 Test ranking on his 36th birthday.
If Ryan McLaren is not named in the starting XI to play the Perth Test, he will fly back to South Africa on Friday. He only arrived in Australia on Tuesday so all he may get to show is a week's worth of jet lag. Nice one, selectors.
Makhaya Ntini is used to being a poster boy.
Having seen only Sydney - mostly its working-class Western Suburbs because that is where travelling reporters can afford to stay - and Brisbane's inner city, I am probably not qualified to ask this yet, but I will anyway: "Why do so many South Africans move to Australia?"
There is a good reason it is difficult to remember the last time South Africa lost a Test abroad. It was long ago - so long ago that Sachin Tendulkar could still score big runs and not having a black African in the starting XI was considered curious.
For the first time in 26 months, Cricket South Africa reached finality on something last week. Gerald Majola's disciplinary hearing found him guilty of misconduct and ordered that he be fired. He was.
If popular opinion was a national cricket selector, Quinton de Kock would be wearing a South African shirt everywhere he goes.
In between hospital reports, gory details and emotional outpourings, there was a moment when it became clear that Mark Boucher was not going to play international cricket again. That one moment came when South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee briefed the media on Boucher's situation in Taunton.
There is some merit to the "fake it till you make it strategy" in cricket. It worked for Kevin Pietersen when he pretended to be a decent cricketer and moved to England. Then he actually became a decent cricketer and it looks like he might continue to do that: a resolution between him and the England and Wales Cricket Board is imminent.
The World T20 has finally reached a stage of relevance and the weather demons (let's not call them gods, because that would imply some sort of kindness) are threatening to wash away the tournament.
The next sentence may convince you that this column has been plucked from the archives to fill a space in the newspaper, but I assure you it has not. In little more than three weeks from now, the Proteas could find themselves in possession of ICC silverware.
All hail technology. If it were not for the modern marvel of instant communication, the allegedly disparaging SMSes Kevin Pietersen sent to members of the South African squad would have been sent by post. And by the time they arrived - if they arrived - who would have cared?
There are many ways to coach cricket. There is the "do as I say" method, which usually fails. There is the "let the senior players run the show" style, which has been known to work to a certain degree.
Victory. As sweet as a Somerset cider, which is not even that sweet but that is hardly the point. As celebrated as the Canterbury cathedral and as capable of blowing your hair back as the whoosh of a train coming through the London underground.
English journalists are a funny lot. Not the kind that make you laugh, the kind that make you raise your eyebrows - half in surprise, half in shock. They do not talk much to their South African counterparts, unless they have to. The only ones that have to are those who work in broadcast media because, occasionally, they want our opinions.
Fifteen years of South African cricket walked off the field with blood dripping from Mark Boucher's eye. His career was due to end on the Lord's field of dreams after 150 tests. Instead, Boucher walked off at a field locals call "a rural ground", in Taunton, with no more than 3500 people watching.
The clink of teacups settling onto saucers, the taste of scones (pronounced to rhyme with clones), the fine drizzle that could last for days, and many stiff upper lips. These things are going to define the next two months.
IF YOU needed proof that sport can sometimes be silly, cricket will provide it. This weekend, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh will play in an unofficial Twenty20 series.
On a Dunedin afternoon so arctic most people's tongues were frozen to the insides of their mouths, Jacques Kallis melted the ice with a fiery attack on ball-tracking technology.
If it was possible to smirk sardonically and say: "I told you so" at the same time, that is what they would do. If it was possible to show distaste and disgust but blend it with delight, that is what they would do.
The cricketing world breathed a collective sigh of relief when Dave Richardson was announced as Haroon Lorgat's successor in the role of International Cricket Council CEO.
Two things happened last week that served as a reminder of the growing internationalisation of cricket.
For an organisation that made a profit of more than R230-million, it may seem incongruous that a figure almost 50 times less than that could redeem its image somewhat.
IF you were thinking about applying to be the Dolphins coach, sorry, you're too late. The Kwa-Zulu-Natal union's window closed on Friday. There is still time to alert the Cobras to your credentials, though. Their doors shut only next month.
On Sunday, the Bangladesh Cricket Board announced they will send a team to tour Pakistan for an ODI and a Twenty20 match. On Monday, coach Stuart Law resigned.
For four overs on Monday night, Dale Steyn did something he has not managed to do throughout the previous season. He owned cricket.
That time of year has arrived again. The summer sunshine is being filtered through what feels like a layer of water as it no longer holds true warmth, standing in the shade is becoming more like taking an ice-bath than enjoying the outdoors, and soup is a more viable option than ice cream. Winter. Or, for those of us who live our seasons by cricket, the off-season.
Welcome to this week in cricket. On Tuesday, South Africa won the test series in New Zealand. On Friday, they will play India in a one-off T20 match at the Wanderers. Complaining about scheduling, about fatigue, about overkill is futile.
How much money does it take to run cricket? In South Africa, they would have us believe billions. In New Zealand, it looks like very little. If there is an insult in that observation, it is not directed at New Zealand.
Spectators at Dunedin's University Oval came within centimetres of not having hotdogs to munch on during the first test between South Africa and New Zealand.
IF THERE is one match Impi have a chance of winning, it is the one they play tonight. They take on the almost equally hapless Warriors in Benoni in the hope of putting their first points of the T20 challenge on the board.
Marchant de Lange took seven wickets in his first innings in test cricket to become the most successful debutant of 2011. For the next match, he was dropped.
If Thami Tsolekile read all the comments that have been written about him in the past two days, he would think he is one of South Africa's least liked sportsmen.
This morning, probably at around the time you are reading this, Cricket South Africa were supposed to launch their domestic 20-over competition.
England seem to know less about Saeed Ajmal's doosra than India knew about the colour of the sky in Australia.
Without adequate opportunity no sportsman, irrespective of talent, can make a case for selection for higher honours.
Paarl. Press box made out of scaffolding. Back row can't see the game.
Few mere mortals will ever really understand the intricacies of being a professional sportsman. They may have a basic comprehension of the facts at face value: time away from home, where minutes become months, rigorous preparation, pressure to win, ecstasy on winning, agony when the opposite occurs.
The train ride between Colombo and Galle is a journey plucked straight out of paradise. A refreshing sea breeze weaves through the carriages, waves curl up against the tracks and the beach is within touching distance. For the 120 minutes between two of Sri Lanka's prettiest cities, the world is an untouched, perfect beauty.
Like so many other South Africans, Johan Botha has packed his bags for Australia.
As you prepare for the next tour, a visit by Sri Lanka, your prescribed reading is the novel Chinaman.
During the next five days, Australia will experience a "Mickey Day" - their first.
There was a time when South Africa spoke of playing a brand of cricket they labelled "brave". What it meant no one really knew.
Elation, ecstasy, incredulity, relief, disappointment, horror, disgust. The Newlands test match covered the entire spectrum of emotions, in just seven sessions.
What is an Australian side without a match-winning spinner? Or a South African team with one? Over the course of the next five days, we may find out.
Gary Kirsten's goofy grin following South Africa's ODI series defeat to Australia beggared belief.
Two weeks from today, Jacques Rudolph will be laying out his whites, preparing to put on South African kit for the first time in five years.
A funny thing happened to Cricket SA in the last three days: they were reminded that the final authority in cricket does not lie with them. Less than 24 hours after they closed a book heavier than War and Peace with the removal of Mtutuzeli Nyoka as their president on Saturday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula ripped all the pages out and said the story would have to be rewritten.
While Bafana Bafana were straining their eyes reading the fine print on Caf's rule 14 and the Springboks were calculating how 57% possession translated into a 9-11 defeat by the Wallabies, the Proteas were flexing their necks.
South Africa's cricket selectors could be cast in a scene of Bridget Jones's Diary.
On Monday afternoon, the floodlights at the Wanderers were being tested. The pylon that was under observation was switched on and off routinely, probably used to this annual exercise.
There are many reasons for South Africans to dislike the Champions League T20. Besides making the clumsy error of pouring even more 20-over cricket onto an already overflowing cup, its timing is ghastly.
A month from now, Bafana will know if they have qualified for the Nations Cup, the Springboks may be competing in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup and the Proteas would have played their first international in almost seven months.
Mention Kevin Pietersen to a South African and you will likely be met with a snarl and a snide remark. The latter could contain an acidic word like "traitor" to match the personality the batsman first displayed when he qualified for England. Mention Imran Tahir to a Pakistani and the reaction is quite different.
If there is anyone Graeme Smith should be watching quite closely, it's Ricky Ponting. In particular, South Africa's test captain should have been taking notes during an incident which occurred during Australia's tour match against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
FROM now on, we can expect cricket to make fans drunk, both day and night, as Castle Lager puts it. The country's most popular beer announced that it would sponsor the national one-day team for the next four years, in addition to continuing its liaison with the test team.
Seven Englishmen, three South Africans and an Irish lad . No, not walked into a pub or were stranded on an island. Instead, seven Englishmen, three South Africans and that Irish lad have become the best cricket team in the world.
Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe's cricket captain, made himself comfortable on a small step behind the Harare Sports Club's main stand.
It is obvious Cricket SA prefers the longer version, maybe not of the game (considering they will host Australia for only two test matches this summer), but in terms of administration.
One of them has claimed the scalps of Brian Lara, Mohammed Ashraful and Mickey Arthur, but has only played five international matches. The other has lurched through a seven-year international career, staggering from controversy to crisis and has been capped 115 times.
When England and India step onto the field at Lord's tomorrow, it will be the 2000th time that 22 men in white embark on a five-day journey that could end in nothing. Despite all that has changed in the game in the past 134 years, that pursuit still defines cricket.
Few know it, but South Africa played a leading role in the creation of twenty-over cricket.
IT WAS two summers ago that South African cricket was in danger of having its fast bowling department tinted with a dash of red.
MOST cricketers cannot tell the difference between their Twitter accounts and sitting in a pub with their mates, judging by the personal interactions they post. But that does not mean the sport has shunned technology. Quite pleasantly, the opposite has happened.
IN OCTOBER, the Soweto Cricket Club played a match on their home turf, the Elkah stadium, for the first time in three years. Since 2007 they had been forced to play at a secondary ground in Dobsonville because their own stadium, once a venue for international tour matches, was not up to standard even for a club game.
THE cruelty of a sniping winter's day can so often be eased by hearty soup. Besides the warmth, there is a certain safety that comes with it, the feeling of being cared for and protected, the feeling of familiarity and most importantly, the feeling of being home.