I trust this letter finds you recovering from what must have been an
extremely emotional time in your life. I know I write on behalf of many
thousands of people around the world who watched the semi-final against New Zealand,
and who share a small part of your pain.
Let me assure you that sitting watching the game
from a distance, and having been in that cauldron situation myself, I fully
comprehend the deep down, inner-burning hurt feeling you are experiencing. I
understand the anguish having not reached your final goal, but sometimes in
life it isn’t all about the final win. Someone once said, “When the great
scorer comes to judge, he judges not on how many runs you made but how you
played the game.”
We all know that winning a World Cup event is something extremely special,
but equally as important is the way in which you and your team gave your heart
and soul in trying to win it.
I know that each one of you also fully realise that a World Cup win
would have meant so much to so many and you will feel that you let your
supporters down. While that is the immediate reaction post-defeat, in time you’ll
come to see that despite the loss on the day, it isn’t the end of the world. As
you gave of your best and ticked all the boxes, we’ll embrace your efforts long
after the noise ringing around the stadium in Auckland has died down.
I guess you’ll look back at your personal performance and wonder about
the ‘what ifs’ and knowing you as I do, you will feel the urge to take full responsibility
for the four-wicket defeat. That too will pass in time. Yes, the fumble at the
wicket in the run-out chance was critical and yes, you could possibly have made
alternate bowling changes and set different fields, but that’s all part of
cricket and what makes it such a beautiful game to play. If we are really
honest, in hindsight Kyle Abbott should have played ahead of the not fully-fit Vernon
Philander, clearly not at his best. However, you went with that call and it’s
now in the past.
Unfortunately, Dale Steyn also looked as if he was carrying a niggle and
didn’t strike for you as he always does. That made it tougher as the game
unfolded and, in the end, you bowling in the last five overs of a World Cup
semifinal probably wasn’t something you could have foreseen a few months ago.
It came about through circumstances beyond your control bud.
Before I sign off, I need to just say how much we have loved to watch
you bat, AB. Over the last while it has become something that every single one
of us are willing to pay good money to see every day. The energy and passion
you exude at the crease and the flair you showcase deservedly makes you the
best batsman in the world. Although you may not have thought about it, by doing
what you do, you are inspiring our next generation of cricketers.
Again, thanks for the amazing entertainment. Get home, unpack, spend quality
time with your precious lady and loves ones and then hit the golf course and
relax. Life goes on after every loss and after every win – something you truly
realise once your playing days are over.
South Africa international Pat Symcox played at the 1996 Cricket World Cup, and
is a self-proclaimed cricket fanatic, struggling golfer and addicted writer.
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