New Zealand’s WTC triumph shows cool guys can finish first
NEW DELHI, June 25 (Reuters) – Long looked down upon as the “cool people” of the sport, New Zealand’s victory at the World Testing Championship (WTC) is seen as a validation of its own reserved brand of cricket.
Kane Williamson and his men defied India and the rainy Southampton weather to become the first world test cricket champions, deserving praise as much for their attitude as for their skills. Read more
New Zealand’s impeccable conduct is almost an anachronism in the cutthroat world of cricket where confrontations are routine and starts ugly.
The country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, addressed the point by praising the “brilliant and humble team” in her congratulatory message.
“For several years now, we have witnessed the development of a team and a team culture which has taken New Zealand cricket to world heights,” she said.
Even discouraged Indian fans, who often find it hard to digest such defeats, took their hats off New Zealand, which former England captain Mike Atherton called “everyone’s second favorite team” after the victory. .
Pace, spearheading Trent Boult’s transformation from an arrogant youngster to “Lovely Trenty”, explains how the humble approach has worked for New Zealand.
“I definitely play my best cricket, or play my best, when I am, well I really smile, I run a little bit, I do funky and attractive circles and whatever it is.” Boult told Cricket Monthly earlier this month.
But their optimistic outlook has not dampened their performances, with New Zealand reaching the semi-finals of each of the last four World Cups at 50, finishing second in 2015 and 2019.
They have advanced to the WTC final as the world’s top-ranked test team after winning seven of their last eight matches, including two against Virat Kohli’s India last year.
Their approach contrasts sharply with that of their trans-Tasman rivals Australia, which not only espoused a ruthless brand of cricket, but also ridiculed New Zealand’s approach.
Former Australian wicket keeper Brad Haddin admitted to sledding several New Zealand players in the 2015 World Cup final for making him “uncomfortable” with their “kind” demeanor .
Australia’s approach to win at any cost has been blamed for the 2018 South African ball tampering scandal, which forced a cultural overhaul of their cricket.
Suspensions have been issued and the harbor master’s office has been handed over, but three years after the “Sandpapergate” scars are still visible as Australia continues to struggle on the ground.
Ultimately, however, New Zealand’s humility and grace on the pitch made them more sympathetic – they triumphed in the WTC because of their skill and never-say-goodness.
If there was one player in this XI whose career best reflected this, it was retired wicket keeper BJ Watling.
“He’s a special member, a leader in this group, and he really embodies what this team is…” Williamson said in his tribute.
“It’s quite fitting to send him off with… a rambling performance that is close to his heart.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; edited by Peter Rutherford
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