Kass Naidoo

Praise our heroes

2007-10-05 08:54

Kass Naidoo

Some of my friends are disillusioned by South Africa's T20 exit; they're refusing to ever watch cricket again. Bit extreme, don't you think? I must admit, I couldn't wait for the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan to start.

I have moved my office into the lounge, and thoroughly enjoyed bashing away at my laptop while watching Jacques Kallis become only the fourth South African in history to score centuries in each innings of a Test match, and Mark Boucher become the gloveman with the most dismissals in Test history.

It's no wonder the selectors found it difficult to drop Kallis for the Twenty20 World Championship. How do you tell South Africa's best batsmen that he is not T20 material? We haven't had the best track record when it comes to dropping long-standing senior members of the Proteas squad, when the time comes.

Maybe we are too loyal a nation? Or is it that we fail to properly value these players while they are in their prime, while they are giving their nation the best of their abilities.

But it would seem that Kallis's omission from the T20 has given new convener Joubert Strydom and his selection panel the courage to make the tough decisions, like leaving Shaun Pollock out of the first Test against Pakistan.

Retirements are a fact in professional sport, and it was particularly gratifying to note the sense of national pride and gratitude which accompanied the dignified departures of Australia heroes, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne.

It seemed that millions cheered as Australia made the most of a huge publicity and self-endearment opportunity to recognise and reward two of its most eminent warriors; simultaneously encouraging their fans to welcome and accept their able replacements.

Due reward

By contrast, when Shaun Pollock achieved the remarkable milestone of becoming the first South African to reach 400 Test wickets last season, only a few thousand turned up to laud their hero at a presentation ceremony held during the Boxing Day Test at Pollock's home ground, Kingsmead.

There are heroes to be found in every sphere of South African life, but if we don't laud them when it matters, they will never experience their due reward, and they may never recognise the time to move on, when it comes.

I don't think it's time for Pollock to go yet, and I'm sure Kallis still has a lot to contribute. While they're around, let's make them know how proud we are. Let's treat them like professionals, and when they're dropped, have the courtesy to keep them well informed.

I remember sitting at the airport between matches recently, when a young boy ran up to me, out of breath, to talk cricket. He had flown from Johannesburg to Durban with his grandparents to watch his hero Graeme Smith in action. He told me he wanted to be the next Biff. There's a cult following in cricket, and with Twenty20 taking off, I get a feeling it's only just starting.

  • Kass Naidoo is editor of gsport... for Girls!

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    Marketing Archie

    2019-05-22 20:27

    Marketing Archie

    2019-05-22 20:27

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