Friday, 25 February 2011

"Saffers, Saffers everywhere..."

I am lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be in South Africa throughout this World Cup. While there are some obvious advantages (weather, for one), it does mean I have to put up with the pro-Protea drivel ahead of the inevitable semi-final choke.

Part of the "South Africa is the greatest" hype machine is the "everyone else is rubbish and cheating and don't deserve to win and won't win because South Africa is the greatest" angle. That includes badmouthing all the other teams, by pointing out that they're fulled with Protea rejects. So aren't as good as the real deal.

Take this article as an example. Not content with finding every person who's ever been to Southern Africa, and shoehorning them in as traitors, they're also backhandedly getting their excuses in early. If England win, South Africa win because of Trott, Strauss, Prior and KP. If Kenya win, it's because Jonty Rhodes is their fielding coach. And if Australia win it's because they wear green and gold too.

This general South African feeling of annoyance that their boys are turning out in the blues, greens, reds and blacks of the other nations is not without a slight amount of hypocrisy. I don't know much about Peter Davies, but reading his next blog, he speaks eloquently about how well Imran Tahir bowled. Pakistan born and bred Imran Tahir. The elephant in the room.

I can understand South African frustration that for one reason or another, some of the best players in world cricket have slipped through their fingers. And as an England fan who's seen Pietersen, Trott, Kieswetter and Lumb play this year (don't forget Eoin Morgan... but that's another story) I have accepted that there will be some sniping and bitterness from the South African cricket fraternity. But now, on behalf of world cricket, I'm humbly asking you to quietly stop. The moment Imran Tahir kissed the badge on his chest was the moment the "imported cricketers are ruining the game" argument lost all it's credability.

So no moaning at Ryan ten Doeschate that he went orange instead of green, OK?

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