A lifelong obsession

Cricket tragic Barney Zwartz exults in both the result and the spirit of the 2021 T20 World Cup Final.

My obsession with cricket as a teenager led me to become a journalist. It was painfully apparent that I wasn’t good enough for my school first eleven, let alone my country (I did have a couple of distinguished performances for the second eleven). So, if I couldn’t play cricket for a living I’d write about it. And I did for a while, until other things became more important – falling in love with my bride of 40 years not least among them.

I have always had the true aesthete’s disdain for the short form of the game: 50 and 20-over games are OK if you lack patience or subtlety, but nothing matches Test cricket. However, little has persuaded me of T20’s merits more than the World Cup, concluding last Sunday night when Australia played superbly to beat a fine New Zealand side and become champion for the first time.

It was a great tournament, with some wonderful individual and team performances, while the spirit in which it was played seemed admirable. If you believe in redemption, as a Christian must, David Warner’s man of the tournament performance after considerable travails should warm your heart. Australia was rewarded for its hard work, singular focus, team togetherness and determination.

Amid these tawdry self-revelations, I must confess that I am a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand. So while I couldn’t lose in Sunday night’s T20 World Cup final, nor could I really win. It’s hard not to feel for the Kiwis, who come across as a uniquely decent and likeable lot. So I’m resorting to that hoary old cliché: cricket was the victor.

Image credit to Alfred Kenneally.