Blog by Tony Burnet.
To round out my trilogy of sports related blogs, and in the aftermath of the Cricket World Cup Final, I thought I would share some insights.
Firstly, without a shadow of a doubt the best team in the tournament was Australia and they duly won.
Secondly, we should be justifiably proud of our team for reaching the final.
However there was a contrast of styles and approaches on show. We had New Zealand the underdogs facing enormous odds and, having lived by the sword, their captain chose to die by the sword.
There were no excuses, no “ifs or buts” and a sporting graciousness in defeat that defied such an important sporting occasion. The scene of McCullum congratulating Clarke, the opposing captain, on a great career was worth the price of admission.
Afterwards McCullum chose not to comment on impending retirements so Australia could have their moment in the sun which they richly deserved.
On the other hand we had Michael Clarke announce his retirement from ODI cricket on the eve of the final – centre stage! We had constant sledging from the same old group of players, in particular to Vetorri, who coincidentally was playing his last game. We had commentator Warne going on about “thirsty” players – aren’t we over this sort of boorish, school boy bullying?
The press conference said it all! McCullum had a full house of international reporters and conducted himself with dignity and class. Clarke and his victors had a press conference three quarter empty. That alone is tragic.
Cricket is the epitome of fair play and decency – or so it was. What has happened to the great game – is it lost in translation? To be labelled bad losers and, even worse, bad winners is a legacy of Clarkes’ team and hides the fact that his team is full of brilliant sportsmen. It’s the culture that is sick.
And so it is in business. Do we play to win at all costs and to hell with our company’s reputation or do we play hard and fair and are gracious in defeat, with our reputation intact?
I know what I would choose. Do you?
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