We Protea die-hards live in hope

2016-06-07 06:00

BEFORE we used clocks and watches to tell time, ancient man used to look to the stars to decide if it is time yet to plant or how much longer the night would last.

Nowadays, we may be more advanced, thanks to technology, but we still have events that remind us of what happened in the past. For instance, I have a tiny scar on my leg, which I acquired on Sunday, March 22, 1992, when I was nine years old. How do I remember the date?

Well, it was the day of that infamous rain interrupted World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

You know, the one where South Africa had to score 22 runs off the last ball to win the game. The Proteas, in their first World Cup due to the end of isolation, fought hard throughout the tournament, and since it was the first time we were watching that level of international cricket, we were not cynical. So, when the defeat was confirmed, I went outside, and out of anger, I inadvertently, or not, kicked a rose bush.

It was a similar case during the following World Cup on the sub-continent in 1996. The Proteas started well, and, we lost. We lost again in 1999, and right here at home in 2003. And for each of those losses, there are certain things that remind me of these tiny traumas.

In 2007, it was the same story, and in 2011, some of us didn’t even bother showing any enthusiasm, because even though we were one of the better sides leading up to the tournament, there was no hope in Hades that we were going to win that competition.

Again, we were all hopeful, and euphoric about #ProteaFire last year, especially after captain AB’s display against the West Indies in Johannesburg. AB himself went on to promise us, the fans, that they would be coming back to South Africa with the trophy.

They did not bring back the trophy. And, to make sure that we remember the last three World Cups, there are slips to remind us that for some reason, we decided to make stupid financial decisions that seemed absolutely logical should the Proteas have won.

So poorly have our beloved Proteas performed at international tournaments that the only trophy they’ve so far picked up has been the ICC Champions Trophy they won in the competition’s inaugural year of 1998.

On Wednesday, the draw for next year’s ICC Champions Trophy in England was made, and it pitted us up against India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

De Villiers has already fired off the customary warning to everyone, saying they’ll beat anyone that comes across their path. Yeah, we believe you this time, AB. No, really, we do.

Why? Because we’re Proteas fans, and like the Proteas fans that we are, we will always believe that our cricket team are invincible.

It’s going to be a very busy time between now and then. Their season begins with a tour of the Caribbean, followed by an incoming series against New Zealand, a trip down under to face our Aussie foes, and then welcome the Sri Lankans here for a full tour, starting on Boxing Day, right up until just before Valentine’s Day.

No matter what happens in England/Wales next year, whether we win or — probably — not, I assure you that it will leave a mark, either physical or mental, and we’re going to remember it for a long time to come.

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