From next Thursday (May 30th) South African sports fans are in for a two-month festival of sport (June feast of sport  July feast of sport), followed by rugby interest in August generated by the Currie Cup, until the pace picks up again in September with the IRB Rugby World Cup, ending on 2 November.

But, that is still not the end: your cricket-loving customers will again be inspired by the Protea cricket team when they take on England on Boxing Day in Centurion, followed by three more tests, three T20 and three ODIs ending on 9 February. Then we’ll host the Australians from 21 February for three T20s and three ODIs until 7 March next year.

Now, if that is not enough to generate cricket interest and inspire a whole new generation of cricket players …!

The format of the ICC World Cup this year especially promises to generate interest, because every match counts: all teams play against each other in a Round Robin format and the four best teams go directly to the semis and final on 14 July.

Retailers can therefore expect to be inundated with requests to see – and hopefully buy! – the bats the top players will be using. As mentioned before three members of the Protea squad will be playing with Gunn & Moore – Quinton de Kock (GM Mythos), Aiden Markram (GM Noir) and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius. It is locally available from Opal Sports. David Miller has become the poster face of New Balance cricket and Hashim Amla for BAS (Beat all Sports), distributed by Sedgars Sport.

South African brands will also feature strong at the World Cup: from captain Faf du Plessis’ iXU Enigma (in striking pink), ditto team mate Andile Phehlukwayo, to JP Duminy playing with his own brand MK Handcrafted and Rassie van der Dussen with D&P.

But, as retailers have experienced, the performances of other top international players also inspire youngsters, and according to the latest ICC rankings these are the Top 10 ODI batsmen:

1            Virat Kohli of India, using a MRF bat

2            Rohit Sharma, also of India plays with a bat from CEAT (College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology).

3            Ross Taylor of New Zealand likes the GM Noir

4            Quinton de Kock  plays with the GM Mythos

5            Faf du Plessis uses the iXU Enigma

6            Joe Root of England uses the New Balance TC Bat

7            Babar Azam of Pakistan plays with HS 41, locally available from Tenth Sports JHB

8            Martin Guptill of New Zealand plays with the Kookaburra Kahuna (distributed by JRT Crampton)

9            Aaron Finch, Australia’s captain plays with the New Balance GC1500

9            Shai Hope of the West Indies uses a SS bat.

On 1 and 2 June the final matches will be played in the current year’s Rugby HSBC Sevens – and with the Blitzbokke lagging 24 points behind log leaders USA, chances are very slim that they will be able to end on top even if they win the final two tournaments – this weekend in London and next weekend in Paris. But, miracles do happen and the top three teams could all be knocked out in the Group stages of each tournament. You wish.

From  the 5th to the 9th of June European soccer followers will be talking about the semi-finals and finals of the UEFA Nations League. The ball, again supplied by adidas, has very similar technology to the 2018 World Cup ball, also from adidas.

Banyana-Home-and-away-kits
Banyana’s World Cup kit modelled by vice-captain Refiloe Jane and captain Janine van Wyk.

Soccer interest will be further stimulated by the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, starting on June 9th, which will be strengthened when Bafana Bafana’s quest for the African Cup of Nations crown starts on June 21. The Women’s Cup final is played on 7 July … although it is highly unlikely that Banyana Banyana in their first World Cup appearance will make it past the extremely strong opposition they will encounter in the group stages.

Although adidas is FIFA’s Official Supplier and will also supply the Conext 19 tournament ball, the Nike swoosh will dominate on field – and with soccer replica sales, if any.  Seven of the top 10 teams are sponsored by Nike, compared to three wearing adidas. In total, Nike sponsors 16 teams (including South Africa), adidas 6 and PUMA, Le Coq Sportif, Warrix and Umbro one each.

Brand Country Rank
Nike USA 1
adidas Germany 2
Nike England 3
Nike France 4
Nike Canada 5
Nike Australia 6
adidas Japan 7
Nike Netherlands 8
adidas Sweden 9
Nike Brazil 10
Nike Norway 12
adidas Spain 13
Nike South Korea 14
PUMA Italy 15
Nike China 16
Nike New Zealand 19
adidas Scotland 20
Warrix Thailand 34
adidas Argentina 37
Nike Nigeria 38
Nike Chile 39
Le Coq Sportif Cameroon 46
Nike South Africa 49
Umbro Jamaica 53