I wonder how often a Test series ends with most people having a sense of relief that it is over and looking forward to the excitement of the one-day series that inevitably follows.
Well, this time around I am sure that most would want the Tests to continue. We probably all miss waking up to catch ball one of the day or to see how the match has progressed as we slept. Who would ever have thought that a one-day series is in danger of being an anti-climax after a five-day Test series? We have witnessed such drama and excitement through the Tests most would want it to continue for a little longer.
But just before we became too depressed, along came the Twenty20 matches and our mindset changed again ? the game moves at such a hectic pace it makes your head spin. Not only the match itself but with the format still in its infancy, the technical changes to the way the game is played, the team strategies and fielding innovations seem to develop and evolve from match to match. As the commentators have aptly named the game ? this is Rock 'n Roll cricket.
Since the version burst onto the scene I have felt we are about to see the growth of cricketers that only want to play this form of cricket and I think we have just seen the first one in David Warner. If this is Rock 'n Roll cricket ? this guy could become Elvis. I was glued to the television as he set about our attack. I even found myself a little disappointed when he was dismissed. The awesome hitting power and the technique he used was something to see.
Cricket can never be about simply slogging without thought and a solid plan and he showed that he has both in bucket loads. It will be difficult for him to not get caught in the hype around his innings and the potential he has to redefine the format.
His shot in the second match seemed to indicate, however, that he did feel the pressure of expectation that everyone had as he walked to the crease.
Opposition teams will work out strategies to combat a player's style and it will become more difficult as he becomes known but I would imagine that never before has a young cricketer become a player youngsters want to emulate in their back yards after just a single international innings.
Proteas ODI team is a concern
We went to Australia with a few concerns about our Test team but fairly optimistic that we could do well. Our one-day team causes far more concern. It seems that we have become static in the fast moving world of limited overs cricket.
I am very concerned that we keep hearing the phrase that this team is in a building phase. We keep hearing that the team is new and needs to develop. That may be true but the concern is that we have allowed ourselves to get to this situation.
Like it or not sport is now a business and cricket is our product which competes for the attention of sports lovers around the world. In our industry the one-day game is ultimately what generates the real money. Having to go through a building phase in our most lucrative product range is like not opening our store during the Christmas rush. It makes no business sense.
The game has got to become more professional in its attitude. Can you imagine the CEO of a listed company telling the shareholders that many of senior management had retired in the last year and new management needs time to develop so there might not be any profits for a while?
Can you imagine Sir Alex Ferguson telling supporters that his team is in a building phase and they must not expect too much from them this season? Why should an international cricket team be any different?
I know real star players come once in a life time and the process is a little more complicated than that but the fact of the matter is that the day Shaun Pollock started playing for South Africa we knew that at around this time of his career, as with every other cricketer that ever played the game, he would be retiring and we would need a replacement.
What about a Director of Cricket?
So if we need a rebuilding phase of the magnitude we are seeing, either there has been no planning, the domestic system that provides the national team with players is not producing the kind of quality needed at the top level or there are problems with the refining process that must take place in the national team.
I would not want debate here which area should be held most accountable but I do find it frustrating that an organisation which has virtually every base from finance to marketing covered does not have someone directly responsible for its product ? a Director of Cricket.
If we decide that the rebuilding phase is unacceptable in this modern world of international sport ? who is held accountable? Who is the person that is responsible for the succession plan and putting in place the strategy that ensures that we remain as competitive as we as shareholders expect our team to be in the international arena?
I believe we will be competitive in the series, not by design and planning, but because of individual talent and the fact that Australia seem to be suffering even more than we are as a result of poor planning.
Do you agree with Eric's sentiments? Is David Warner the new breed of cricketer? Leave a comment below!