I remember growing up when I thought that Australia was the most successful sporting nation in the world particularly on a per capita basis.
I have to say the New Zealanders have taken over that mantle for sure. Just last week they became cricket champions in the Test match format when they defeated the English side quite convincingly. The thing is they have never beaten us in a series here in almost thirty years but by the same token, they are hard to beat at home. As it is they have not lost a test in their past eight home series.
We probably lost our chance to play in the final when we lost to India last summer after we went one up and their captain Kohli had to go home. We should have won from there. We seem to have the wood on the Kiwis and they produce their worst effort when touring our shores.
It’s not as if this significant win was a fluke though. Almost twelve months ago they only lost the one-day series (again against England) when they lost on a countback and it had something to do with the number of boundaries that had been hit in the final. Such a rule had never been implemented before and it took most players by surprise.
As I said at the beginning it’s even more significant when you consider it is a nation of only five million people that is a little bit bigger than Sydney. They don’t have the funds to pour into coaching academies or sponsorship details that adorn our representative squads.
They seem to maximize their talent. Some time ago I was in NZ when they were winning matches and I was so impressed with the demeanor and attitude of their captain Kane Williamson. He could teach some of our so-called heroes a thing or two about how to play the game in the right spirit. He is ranked #2 batsmen in the world ahead of any Aussies and their bowlers to are great toilers not just relying on pitches that suit their style. Similarly, two of their fast bowlers are ranked in the top five quicks based on averages throughout the year.
So I say good luck to them and it’s a well-deserved accolade. Now if they could just go a little easy on us when it came to Rugby Union we would appreciate it I’m sure. They already have three world cups in that department and continually beat us in trans-Tasman fixtures. Enough is enough.
But wait there’s more I hear you (them) say. They already hold America’s Cup in yachting. You remember our heady days with Allan Bond and winged keels etc. We lived off that for years.
Even in Soccer at the last world cup, I think they went through preliminary series without losing a match but were unlucky to miss out on the next stage. Thank God they don’t play Origin is all I can say.