Jacques Kallis, just showered but hardly feeling refreshed after defeat at the MCG, said that if every player walked off the field knowing that had given their best then they had no reason to feel too disappointed.
In other words, each man should look to himself and not to the performances of others. In times of crisis or extreme disappointment, real leaders find it within themselves to assess their own performances and not those of team mates. They console and encourage those who are struggling and they do not apportion blame. Not until an appropriate period of time has passed.
The same criteria should be applied to everyone involved in the game in South Africa. Do not look to blame others, ask only how you can improve your own performance for the general good of the team.
The truth is, even if the team has not behaved in an aloof, distant and uncaring and insensitive way, that is how they have come across. Television crews, radio reporters and newspaper journalists from South Africa as well as Australia have been forced to beg team manager Goolam Raja for an interview with a player – most resorting to the final plea …”any, ANY player will do.” Mostly they have been ignored or rejected.
It has not only been the media – South Africans living in Australia have been ignored and, generally, the team has made no friends in this harsh but rewarding country.
Now that chairman of selectors Rushdie Magiet and UCB president Percy Sonn have arrived one might have hoped that matters would improve. But instead of applying the logic used by Kallis, they have complicated things even further.
Magiet, with no experience in media or public relations, will now control access to the players while Sonn has accused the media of being “biased and negative” with regard to the dropping of Makhaya Ntini for the MCG Test and the recall of Allan Donald.
Sonn said he did not want to speak to the media on arrival in Australia for this reason. Apparently, it was the media who selected Donald ahead of Ntini because he was included in most match previews. Quite what Magiet makes of that is unclear.
The players say they are trying to be calm after the shock and embarrassment of the last two Tests. They will look to themselves and they will have to dig very, very deep into their personal resolve.
Everyone else involved in South African cricket, but especially it’s leaders, should do the same. They are many areas in which the convenor and the president could improve. There are many areas all of us can.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.