By The Spotter
‘The Man who would be King’. The title of Kipling’s famous novella could be apt to crown the rise and rise of the swashbuckling knight of the Blackcaps, B.Mac. But hark- a word of warning. Before we go about bestowing some such title on our fearless and brilliant cricketing leader, remember that the date of the prospective coronation isn’t until March 29 in Melbourne.
By God, the man and his team deserve every compliment and more that are coming his and their way at the moment, but let’s all hang fire a smidge and get through to the end of this month before we even attempt toasting a new King of Cricket and his loyal court of Caps.
I’m not here to rain on any coronation parades, but do bear in mind that before we dare to get too far ahead of ourselves, there are plenty of other would-be pretenders present that have much more hardened leaders and players that have been there and done that at the business-end of major tournaments. I’m thinking of the likes of competitors such as Mahendra Singh-Dhoni, Kumar Sangakkara and Michael Clarke. These guys know exactly what it requires to get to or win a final, even when they haven’t necessarily had the squad with the most talent and in the most exciting form at their disposal at the time. So it stands to reason that their individual self-belief would surely permeate through their squads right now. And lest we not forget the South Africans, or for that matter, the Indians. My, how they must be loving all this talk of an Aussie-Kiwi final. They must be smirking and bristling in about equal measure.
And never, ever discount a dangerous beast like Pakistan. It’s not unlike them to go from rabble to regal within weeks, though it’s probably a stretch to say that this time round- they had a lot more talent years ago. All of the above then is exactly why it will be even harder than we think to win this thing. But here’s the counter: even though we should perhaps take heed of such warnings, McCullum and his men might just be better going about things exactly the as they have been ie. playing as though it’s their destiny to become champions and so far not looking as though they will in the least suffer from any sort of inferiority complex by perhaps respecting their opponents just a bit too much and risk losing their aura, bravado and heaven forbid, their quarter or semi-final. Perhaps a line drawn somewhere between those two extremes might be a useful approach…
Life and sport as we know however is all about timing (and form and the odd bit of lady luck). In Brendon McCullum at this juncture we have a leader who is in the prime of his career; he seems to have the magical ‘Midas’ touch (well, coin toss aside) and he has a band of many men right up there with the best on show. Apart from some wily and extremely tough playing opponents, our other greatest threat could come by way of our own psychological self-belief. Only time will tell if the Black Caps possess the mental toughness to match their undoubted physical talent, skill and prowess.
Let’s all hope like Hades then that should we make it within sight of the champion’s throne on March 29 at the M.C.G., that we have the fortitude to withstand whatever or maybe more appropriately, whoever intends standing in the way of the destiny they seem to be speeding toward at this present time.