Cricket can’t afford to have a weak Black Caps side

2013-01-04 00:00

IRRESPECTIVE of how the first Test pans out, New Zealand’s lack of fight has me worried.

Test cricket cannot afford a weak New Zealand team, but there is more reason to be upset this week with the news that the sport has lost another valuable voice.

I never had the chance to meet Tony Greig, nor can I hold an opinion about commentators and their differing styles, because a number of them, if not most, have actually played the game extensively.

Greig was in a league of his own and as Queenians come, when they were on top of you, they always reminded you who was boss.

He was as cocky as the kudu crest on the Queens College school badge. My bias against the school that I was never able to beat in either rugby or cricket aside, Greig was the reason I could tolerate the well-informed but brainwashed Australian channel nine commentary team.

His willingness to travel away from Australia and provide crucial and balanced analysis, especially in Asia and Sri Lanka, was a breath of fresh air.

I will never forget how he immersed himself in the epic second Test in Kandy between Sri Lanka and South Africa 13 years ago, a game in which the Proteas should have lost, but they somehow got themselves out of trouble. The cricket world will miss his distinctive voice and game-telling skills.

He also deserves credit for promoting the cause of players to be remunerated equitably for baking in the sun or dealing with extreme elements. His work has left the game in a better state.

New Zealand have always been a team I have enjoyed watching, except when they pulled the wool over South Africa’s eyes, especially with that gutting Mirpur World Cup quarter-final loss — the cherry on the chokeberry cake.

That defeat was a bitter pill for South Africa to swallow, but it was New Zealand cricket at its best: the sum of its parts being greater than the whole of their opposition.

As meticulous and methodical as South African cricket may have been, in the heat of the knockout phase it is those sides who’ve built themselves as craggy fighters that I admire.

It was an attitude that scared sides whenever they faced New Zealand, and with their meagre resources, it carried them through and earned them worldwide respect.

I have a deep respect for Jack Russells and their tenacity to fight on when the world is against them. It is akin to the respect I have always given New Zealand’s cricket.

The size of the fight in them was apparent just recently in Sri Lanka, when, after a first Test clouting and a long spell without winning, they bounced back in the best way possible at the P. Sara Oval, admittedly not Sri Lanka’s most favoured Test venue.

I don’t know if the first Test will be over by the time this column is being read, but the first innings collapse left more than a lump in my throat.

This is not the New Zealand team I have grown to admire. It is not the New Zealand side that was one of only three teams not to lose a Test series in Australia between 1994 and 2008. Others were India and South Africa.

It is not the New Zealand team that gave Australia as good as they got in 2001, even having the temerity to declare twice in the third Test of that series and denying Shane Warne a Test century in the process.

They have the ability to bounce back. We all know what they did to Australia in Hobart after a sound thrashing in Brisbane, but then again, either you get beaten or escape with a tail-between-your-legs draw there.

Cape Town happens to be SA’s abattoir for the New Year’s Test, but some fight will be appreciated in Port Elizabeth.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.