Cricket is a team game

Inside the magnificent roofed Millennium Stadium - the bastion of Welsh rugby, boyo.
Inside the magnificent roofed Millennium Stadium - the bastion of Welsh rugby, boyo.

Graeme Smith’s record as a batsmen and captain is outstanding. He scored 8 659 runs, including 25 centuries, in test matches. Made captain at the tender age of 22, he led our team to series wins in England and Down Under. He was a very good leader, and the second national captain from King Edward School in Johannesburg, the other being … ?

Yet, he blotted his copybook somewhat, by twice leaving his team in the lurch. Remember when he chose not to return to South Africa with his team, after a disappointing 2011 world cup? Then, with our backs to the wall against Australia in Cape Town, he announced his retirement as we were about to bat, and try to save the match and the series.

Curiously, his retirement was released at 10:21 on the Monday night. Time to bring in new blood: David Miller and Quinton de Kock, as wicketkeeper!

Cricket is a team game, meaning, especially if you are playing for your country, that you put team not yourself first. It was therefore unforgivable, for Graeme Swan to withdraw from the England team in Australia last year. Similarly, Kevin Pietersen has been axed, precisely because he is not a team man.

Onto rugby matters. I set the proverbial cat among the mynahs in Durban, by proposing that the Sharks should play in the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and that the stadium should have an artificial turf field, and a retractable roof. Here’s hoping that business savvy prevails – both the Sharks and the stadium owners need to attract far more spectators.

What’s more such a stadium would attract big name concerts to Surf City. Say hell yeah!

In November last year, I was fortunate, even blessed, to watch the Boks play Wales in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Without the roof closed that match would have been ruined, as would the field itself, and, of course, the rain that fell would have kept thousands away. The message is clear, that if you want to attract large crowds, play in an iconic comfortable and dry stadium, which always has a field in pristine condition.

Rob Haswell

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