Sunday, August 03, 2008

Picture perfect

Graeme Smith’s effort to lead his side to a test and series victory at Edgbaston is a classic example of a cricketer seizing the opportunity to ensure himself a place in cricketing history. Smith is a Test captain; his side has not won a series in England for 43 years; the target is a difficult but not impossible; four wickets have gone before 100, as tempers flare and the word “choke” makes the rounds. The stage, in short, was set for the precisely the kind of English win that has haunted South African quests for victory. To make things even better, their champion all-rounder was the one doing the damage, stirring up the crowd, doing his Hercules imitations. And a South African batsman, their corresponding champion, had collapsed temperamentally, blaming something other than a cricket ball for his dismissal. It was almost as if Smith had worked with a screenwriter to work on the perfect setting for his heroics. I do not know if the myth-makers will work as hard on this innings as they have others in the past; but if they have any sense, they will sharpen their pencils and get to work. I’ve done my bit here.

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