In praise of positive action

Selectors are like umpires – no one ever praises them but one mistake and it’s a bunfight to pour scorn and ridicule over their unprotected heads.

So here’s to a little bit of trend-bucking.

In the first radio newsroom I ever worked in I stumbled across a story – by accident – as a nervous 20-year-old. In the absence of anyone senior to guide me (they were having a ‘long’ lunch) I took the decision to run the story on the next news bulletin.

It was a hoax. There was a minor outcry and I was at the centre of it. I had checked the source of the story but I didn’t have anyone to double or triple check it with. In short, I was as certain as I could be that it was right but I couldn’t know for sure.

The editor called me into his office and crapped all over for me for 10 minutes. Then he said: “But well done for doing something. I’d have been even more angry if you’d ignored it.”

Whatever may come from the decisions of Omar Henry and his panel, could someone, please, just recognise the fact that they are working their backsides off? They can’t know for certain what the right answer is to SA’s bowling and all round ‘balance’ problems but at least they are trying to find it.

It would be the easiest option in the world to sit back and leave the squad to it’s own devices, maybe to hope that things would just start coming right naturally. After all, the team usually wins more than it loses.

But this is the World Cup and there isn’t time to hang around ‘hoping’.

Henry and his men have been faced with potentially critical decisions on an almost daily basis and they have not baulked at a single one of them. When have they procrastinated, when have they not shown balls when balls were required?

From Jonty Rhodes’ replacement to the decision to rest Allan Donald against Kenya and Bangladesh, they have acted quickly, decisively and firmly. They may yet be proven to have made mistakes, but their actions have not been thumbsucks – they have been made after hours of hard, uncompromising discussion.

Maybe the team won’t appreciate it until after the tournament, and maybe they never will, but somebody ought to. That’s the least they deserve for the most unappreciated job in the South African game.

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