An open letter to Cricket South Africa
Unlucky in Cricket love...
I think it’s time we take a break.
I have thought long and hard, had sleepless nights and it’s come to my attention that it’s not me; it’s you. For 34 years I thought you were the one for me. But somehow yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It hurts to write this but I’ve stuck with you through some of the lowest of the lows in world sport, never mind just cricket!
It began in Sydney in 1992 when we all thought we were just unlucky needing 22 off 1 ball; I was introduced to a heartache that little did I know would become so ingrained in our cricketing culture and a part of every (not just a few here and there) single international tournament.
There was the 1996 World Cup in the sub-continent; you absolutely cruised through the group stages with five from five, but bottled a 260+ chase against a West Indies side who had been earlier rolled over for 93 against Kenya, KENYA!
Moving on to 1999 and a great competition in England where we had the squad to win it; A great ploy we thought was to lose to Zimbabwe in the group phase and ‘get that out of the way’. Less said about the semi-final tie versus Australia (just needing 1 from 4) and what is simply known as ‘THAT run out’ the better.
I stuck with you through Hansie-gate!
In 2003 I happened to be in the crowd, by your side; at a damp Kingsmead; my backyard, our backyard and we left the tournament early with Canada, Namibia, Netherlands and Bangladesh! Needing to stay one ahead of the Duckworth Lewis par score was not clear enough to a professional outfit. And in 2007 we couldn’t do what the rugby boys did later in the year by succumbing to Australia (twice) yet again. In 2011 and 2015 it was deja-vu against New Zealand, the latter meaning my weekend trip to Melbourne from London was more of a holiday than a sports fan’s trip of a lifetime!
There have been others dotted in-between including semi-finals against India at a couple of Champions Trophy’s along the way too. What gets me is that it looks like nothing has been learned!
There’s been plenty of highs mind you! Crushing England at The Oval with Kallis & Amla batting for days and finishing the Aussies off in Hobart inside two-and-a-half days late last year are right up there. But I feel these don’t make up for years of heartache and talent that promised so much for so long.
Yesterday you said you ‘were sad’. Understatement of the year!
The level of disappointment I felt this weekend has no measure; you've failed again on the biggest stage and you’re ‘sad’. We know of the different sporting factors our country faces but to have such a talented pool and to still not get over the line is now unacceptable.
If you don’t hear from me for a while (perhaps till 2019) then I do apologise but time is a healer and this will take a lot of healing. Honestly all the best of luck against England over there soon; I think you will need it after the last fortnight!
You will be missed