Monday Morning Postscript:
The game has been played and won by the Aussies. The Black Caps caught Australia on a day when they lifted their game to the highest level – they had no answer for the Aussie bowling attack. Both sides wanted to win – desperately, one fell short while the other didn’t. Both Captains praised the opposing team for their play during the six-week tournament and both were extremely proud of their own ‘boys’.
I refuse to get caught up in the sledging/send off furore (that is raging on social media & to a lesser extent in mainstream media) other than to say, there are different sporting cultures in these two neighbouring nations. Each culture suits the nation that has embraced it. Neither will be convinced by the other’s stance, as each feels strongly, that their way is the better way to win! Sometimes the Aussie way looks ugly and sometimes the Kiwi way looks weak, to the other nation across the ditch. Sometimes it is ugly and sometimes it is weak!
Michael Clarke was not my favourite cricketer before this year. I feel differently about him these days. How wrong of me to judge his character from media snippets and huge assumptions on my part? With the burden of the death of his “little brother” Phillip Hughes and the constant threat of career ending injury, he captained his country to a World Cup Final win. He did it with his bat and his captaincy – in aggressive field setting & clever use of his bowlers. And all the while, he did it with a black arm band with the initials PH written on it. By carrying Phillip Hughes on his arm and in his heart, he reassured nervous parents that cricket is a great game to play and friendships made on the field can and do stay with you forever. I remember my Dad, who passed away over 8 years ago, saying what a wonderful young cricketer Michael Clarke was and would be. And that he would make a great Australian Captain! He was right, my Dad! After the year he has endured, Michael Clarke deserved to retire from One Day cricket with a great win and a great celebration!
I hope the cousin banter across the ditch by text was not too savage. I suspect it may have been! But I’m sure it was expected and accepted, as it had been on that fateful day at Eden Park just over a month ago.
Lastly, yes, Shane Warne proved himself to be a dinosaur. His interviews were embarrassing and inappropriate ….. but I did call it before the game!