Sorry, Kris Shannon. As much as I usually agree with what you come out with (and I do miss your interesting and eclectic Weird World of Sports column in the Weekend Herald, by the way), I do think you were quite a distance off target in the Sunday Herald when you said that the Black Caps should follow the Australian model of the past few decades in regards to riling, baiting and sledging of their opponents.
Really? Hasn’t the South Africa-Australia series been the most prime example, one that stands out like a misanthrope at a Meet n’ Greet, of how abusive bile directed at the opposition can lead to complete desolation, and even destruction?
I did in fact implore our guys to stoke up a bit more fire in their collective bellies a couple of seasons ago. In Dec, 2015 I had this to say: ‘Being too chivalrous all the time is likely to take the fire out of the belly; the danger is permanently. Having the odd thing to say in the midst of battle shouldn’t automatically cast one as a disreputable so and so. And you can’t tell me that fair-minded players of the past like our own Sir ‘Paddles’ didn’t ever exchange a word or three with an adversary on occasion’.
I’m a bit more biddable over those comments now, because you can’t help but admire the way Kane and his crew play the game in a spirit that almost belongs to a bygone time. And that’s good. It’s refreshing, and it is what the younger guys who are on the way up should aspire to.
There was something I read somewhere about the understated manner and humility of our national side, along the lines of ‘that’s just how we like it in Aotearoa.’ And it’s hard to disagree, isn’t it?
Imagine how hypocritical it would be if we conditioned and encouraged kids to play fair at school and in the clubs (as we already do), but then cast away those standards as soon as they started making their way to the higher echelons. How dopey and wasteful that would be. Bizarre mixed messaging at the least. Flagrant lies at worst.
The part I did agree on was how Kane W almost looks apologetic when he reaches a century. We won’t be angry if you smile Kane, promise.
Reading between the lines, the piece alludes to Steve Waugh’s teams achieving greatness because they out-sledged and out-psyched their opponents. I don’t think that’s so much the case- not when his line-ups had the names of Warne, McGrath, Ponting, Lee, Gillespie, Gilchrist and Hayden and S Waugh himself, among others.
Maybe I’ve got a mixed message problem regarding the context, implication etc. of what was written. The final paragraph of the article is specific about ‘not swapping nice for nasty’, and I take that point. It’s what went beforehand that doesn’t quite fit in with that last sentiment.
Consider. If B Mac had got an eighty instead of a blob in the 2015 World Cup Final, we may well have won the thing without the need for having to act like a bunch of childish pricks.
*(The above though is nothing compared to this massive misjudgement of a certain Rugby League team).
Promise it’s not Herald open season. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled. In fact Patrick McKendry’s pieces on the Parker-Joshua fight pre and post have been just brilliant.