Good way to end a bad year

HARARE - If anybody were to try and tell you that 2013 was a year full of happiness and potential, that person would surely be deluded.

From a Zimbabwean point of view, there was precious little to smile about, say for the odd glimpse of promise shown from time to time.

It has been well documented that the country is in financial turmoil, and the immediate future looks as grim as the weather currently experienced by people living in Europe.

So while there is nothing to talk about in our own country, it would be best to focus on two fantastic games of cricket that were played in South Africa, and the one-sided contest which is been played in Australia.

India must surely be in a state of regret and reflection as they ponder on a number of choices they clearly got wrong.

The first port of call has to be their ongoing reluctance to not use the DRS/decision review system.

This has been a bone of contention for some time now, and one can’t help but wonder how much longer they will continue to be the party spoilers before realising that technology has to be used in order to progress and indeed promote the game of cricket.

A number of their players were dealt a rough hand of cards, unintentionally of course, but, these decisions could have been rectified if technology had been used.

The second blunder made by the BCCI was to throw their considerable weight and money around and change the schedule of the recently concluded series.

If the third Test match which was to be played in Cape Town had remained, India may quite possibly have gone home with their heads held high, as they may have been able to salvage a one all draw at the very worst.

But the BCCI felt it was necessary to give the rest of the cricket world a timely reminder as to who they are, and how much money they have as they flexed their muscles, and took on the roll as the schoolboy bully with apparent relish, and made it abundantly that although they were playing on South African soil, they were in charge, and nobody else.

Despite the schoolboy attitude displayed by Indian officials, the two test matches were played in very good spirit, as the players clearly decided to leave official matters off the field, and get on with the game.

The first Test match ended in one of the most disappointing draws, as South Africa inexplicably decided to shut up shop and block out the final over, instead of going for what would have been the greatest win in the history of cricket.

The second Test was one of those matches that will stay in the minds of most for a very long time.

Not only was the world about to say goodbye to the world’s finest all-rounder ever, but the actual Test match was one of the most closely contested matches of the year, despite the Proteas eventually winning by 10 wickets.

The first day was dominated by India, and some armchair critics were already beginning to dispute South Africa’s status as the number one ranked Test team.

Human beings are unquestionably the most fickle and disloyal creatures in creation.

Instead of acknowledging that we were witnessing a closely fought contest between the world’s number one and two ranked Test nations, the daggers were out and in particular former South African Test players made it their business to make as much noise as possible.

But South Africa and in particular Dale Steyn dug deep and gave Jacques Kallis the perfect send off as they rallied together as a team and sent India back home with their tails between their legs.

The fairy tale story would have had its perfect ending if the third Test had been played at Newlands, which is also the home ground of Jacques Kallis, but it was not to be.

After all, nothing in life will ever be perfect.

Many are of the opinion that Kallis should have hung on and brought the curtain down at Newlands against Australia in March, but who would want to begrudge the big man calling it quits after 166 Tests, scoring over 13 000 runs as well as taking 292 wickets, and not forgetting the 200 catches he took as well?

Australia have surprised most in the way they have dealt with England in the ongoing Ashes.

The simplicity in which they have dispatched England has left millions of people around the world wondering where England will find courage and the will to even face Australia, let alone compete in the fifth and final Test which starts in Sydney in early January.

Mitchell Johnson has been a revelation for Australia, and there is absolutely no doubt that Test cricket lovers around the world eagerly anticipate the upcoming three Test match series between South Africa and Australia, which gets underway in just over six weeks time.

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