I’m going to create a petition, get 10,000 signatures and march to the steps of Parliament.
I’m going to write directly to our Prime Minister and ask her to rush through legislation that will benefit many New Zealanders, and our reputation on the world stage.
I want it to be illegal to hype up the BlackCaps.
Media, fans, and especially bandwagoners, will not be able to mention how good our cricket team is playing, how we could beat any team in the world, how our players are as good as anyone going around. And most of all, no one is even allowed to think that we can be competitive in a World Cup.
Because when we start to actually believe, it all turns to desperate mess.
I can offer you very few other explanations for these last two performances, other than we got too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve been performing well in all forms of the game, our players looked hot against Sri Lanka. We were peaking at the right time. And the second-best team in the world was on its way, to face us in our own conditions. Kane v Kohli (at least for a little while). It was all on, and everyone was talking about it.
India are good, but they’re not this good. And we’re not as poor as these performances would indicate. There’s a bit of Rest and Rotation™ to help settle on a World Cup squad, but the changes aren’t significant enough to seriously deplete the side. Neither pitch has been one to dictate such a severe result, and Bracewell’s innings in the second match shows that application does reap rewards (especially when combined with a sprinkle of hopelessness).
We are a team with a high ceiling, but we also have a low floor. On our day, we can beat anyone, and thankfully – recently – it’s been our day more often than it has not. But when it’s not, it is really not our day – it’s like a contagious gastro bug that runs riot through the dressing room.
We can’t blame Sri Lanka. It’s true to say they didn’t offer as much of a test as this Indian side, but a world-class team should be able to bring that level of performance no matter who they’re up against. Of course, the opposition is allowed to have a good day, and everyone is allowed a bad day at the office now and then. But now we’ve had two in a row, and with the next game a potential series decider, time is running out for the BlackCaps to demonstrate that they can compete with this Indian team.
The sporting public was amping for this series, and these matches have damped the spirits. The unfortunate thing for New Zealand Cricket is that this weekend in particular, there is plenty of other sport on. Without compelling cricket, people had reason to switch channels. The Sevens are on in Hamilton, the Phoenix are on a great run, and it’s Australian Open finals weekend. There are other options, and some people will have lost interest for the coming three games.
So, let’s hope this is all part of a ploy. That the team is aware they do better when they fly under the radar, and they are actively getting rid of the weight of the bandwagon supporters, plus a few others along the way for good measure.
That way, we can all pay no attention when they win it all in England.
Follow Heather on Twitter