Let us acknowledge our cricket heroes

2014-10-24 00:00

CRICKET, it could be fair to say, is a game that appeals to a select few. Unlike motorsport or rugby, or even boxing, where there is an element of speed and brutality, cricket in essence remains calm and serene at the best of times.

Bowlers and batsmen may glare and stare, the oft unsavoury word is directed at someone or something, but the general atmosphere is one of calm and dignity. No arguing with an umpire when on the receiving end of a rough decision, no unnecessary shouting on the field — it’s just not done. In the modern era of professionalism and exorbitant monetary figures, cricket could still stand tall as the gentleman’s game, although Kevin Pietersen may tend to disagree.

Some describe the game as a staring contest between two sides, others as a contest between bat and ball that soon loses its appeal and drags on for no purpose. Five-day Tests are seen as pointless, especially when, after those five days, there is still no result. It is tough trying to explain the intricacies of the game to the so-called “uneducated”, but to those of us who do understand and who do get excited when looking at pages of numbers and stats, it’s the closest thing to heaven on earth.

Take the current domestic season. Again, not much attention is paid to the game at this level, the international arena having spoilt us and made many people rather snooty when it comes to their cricket preferences. However, the die-hard enthusiasts rise to stand tall once more, devouring the game at this level with the same eagerness and keenness as afforded any game at any level.

These are the folks who understand that greater honour and, more specifically, the uncovering of juvenile talent, starts at domestic level. To date, the One-Day Cup being played around the country is worth more than its weight in gold as far as paying attention to what’s unravelling every game and on occasion, it’s more exciting than the international serving.

It’s old news now — a week in the news world does garnish an event or an achievement to the has-been pile after that long — that Dolphins batsmen Morné van Wyk and Cameron Delport set a List A (50-over) world record partnership of 367* against the Knights in Bloemfontein, yet it pains to witness how low-key it’s all been.

Even speaking to the heroes — and damn, let’s call them that — they both highlighted how the achievement hadn’t sunk in. The reason — because not much had been made of it. There was no recognition from those who count, no banners or street poles screaming out accolades to them, no proud pounding of the chest to say, “Look what these players, our players, South African and Dolphins players, have done”.

It was quietly passed over and confined to the record books, books only looked at by those who have a passion for the game. Granted there was no television coverage and the occasion did get a small mention in the printed media, but surely a press conference could have been arranged, something that put the achievement on a deserved pedestal, something that we as media could have appreciated and really made big. People need to know what had been accomplished. We all have jobs — these guys play cricket — and they ensured a good day at the office, a rare happening in the ranks of Dolphins cricket.

Anywhere else — Australia, England and India — this would have been big sports news. Here in our fair land, some media are only cottoning onto it now, the moment long gone. When the players are asked to talk about it, it’s sad to see the “why bother” looks on their faces.

Why? Because it’s something to be proud of. It’s ours. Let’s embrace it and even if it is old news, let’s still spread the word about what happened on the cricket field in Bloemfontein last Friday.

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