Chris Rattue with his latest winners and losers from the wide world of sport.
Losers: Black Caps and the World Test Championship
The rush to glorify Bangladesh shouldn’t let the Kiwi cricketers off the hook.
Bangladesh deserve all the praise they are getting around the world after a truly astounding first test win at Mt Maunganui.
It was an excellent test. Bangladesh bowled superbly and often batted with an attitude from a bygone era when it was a sin to take risks.
Congratulations to Bangladesh, who unveiled a new bowling star in Ebadot Hossain.
The victory was built on some great planning and grit, things sorely lacking in the Kiwi side.
New Zealand were awful, and their capitulation has taken the gloss off the new World Test Championship format.
As the inaugural winners, New Zealand should have defended the new competition and their own honour with more class. Losing Kane Williamson – who is almost impossible to dismiss on home pitches – is no excuse.
Defeat at home to a lightweight underpowered cricketing outpost without putting up anything like a decent fight is hugely disappointing.
As amazing as Williamson’s team have been, there was always the suspicion that events had fallen New Zealand’s way a little rather than the new test championship format really revealing who the best team in the world is.
The Bangladesh defeat is Exhibit A in that argument. The pressure is now on New Zealand to respond like champions.
Winners/Losers: Cricket TV commentary/coverage
First up, I really miss the analysis and authority of Ian Smith and Simon Doull.
But the Spark Sport coverage isn’t all bad. Being able to dial up what you want when you want it on the app is great, and the cricket lab-type analysis was pretty good.
As for the general commentary…okay with good energy, but with work to do I would argue.
It’s a bit cute with too many entertainment/humour attempts going on, something difficult to pull off without a naturally loveable, incredibly famous loon with a brilliant cricket mind (ie. Shane Warne) on the team.
And there seems to be unnecessary point scoring between some commentators, which is cringy.
Craig McMillan is the guy who really holds it together (IMO), or has the potential to.
I used to love the thought of new sports platforms emerging, in part to force Sky’s subscription costs down. But the old one-stop Sky shop was brilliant, in retrospect.
Putting our top home cricket on an outlier platform must be costing cricket a lot of vital visibility. That’s the part which is hard understand. Jane and Joe Blow only have so many subscriptions in their budget. Or is this old timer missing something?
Final note: I’m not a fan of music at major sport, but the stuff coming out of Mt Maunganui was really good. (Congratulations to the ground’s DJ).
Winners: The new New Zealanders
Thank goodness South Africans Neil Wagner – one player who did show the necessary fight -and the booming Devon Conway immigrated because without them it would have been a lot worse.
Winners: Cricket spirit (but not too much of it)
The angst, shall we say, between teams like Australia and England, Australia and India (there’s a theme there) has created some amazing cricket series.
But the warmth between the New Zealand and Bangladesh sides after the tourists’ shock first test win was touching.
Having said that, cricket doesn’t need to go overboard with the warm fuzzies. Bitter rivalries are brilliant.
Losers: People who hate Novak Djokovic
Come on. The level of venom in Australia – and elsewhere – towards Novak Djokovic is completely out of whack.
The world’s best tennis player, a vax naysayer, has made a big mistake not revealing why he was given a medical exemption to enter Australia for the Australian Open. He needs to realise that people deserve to have an informed debate.
But people want to be angry about Covid, and they are looking for convenient targets. They need scapegoats.
The world took its eye off the ball with pandemics. Witch hunts won’t solve it.
And in times of trouble, why not get the world’s best entertainers to do their stuff, if at all possible?
Losers: Super Rugby
The new rugby competition is only six weeks away from starting. But you wouldn’t know it. Will rugby ever wake up?
Loser: Not only Blake Ferguson
Ferguson, a hard-to-miss wing over a long NRL and representative career, got into serious trouble in Japan where he was about to begin his new life as a rugby union player. New career already over.
Ferguson allegedly hit someone in a restaurant and was found by police to be possessing cocaine, which does not go down well in Japan.
I’m guessing Ferguson has issues. Addiction is often the answer when trying to work out why someone does something so baffling and self-destructive.
He may well be a sick man, but not a bad man. Hopefully he can get well, but there’s a chance he will have to start doing so in a Japan jail. Hopefully his restaurant victim is okay.
Japan appears to have a very unenlightened attitude to drugs, choosing to treat them as a matter of incredible shame rather than understanding and from a medical standpoint.
The country is so rigid that one story suggested that Ferguson’s Green Rockets club may have folded because of his actions. Ridiculous.
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