Victory speaks volumes for SA camp
Once a team becomes world champions in any sport, a number different challenges will be faced.
Sometimes the challenge will be significant, like the Proteas experienced in England and Australia recently, and at other times the opposition will offer no resistance, like the recent series against New Zealand.
Naturally, when faced with a formidable challenge, it is easy to be highly motivated for the task at hand. The Proteas demonstrated that against England and Australia when they emerged worthy winners against both countries on foreign soil.
The two-match demolition of a sub-par New Zealand team offered a different challenge. It was evident before the tour that even a New Zealand team at full strength was never going to test a far superior South African combination in any way.
Once turmoil erupted in New Zealand cricket before the tour, resulting in the Black Caps sending a team without some of their best players, the writing was on the wall. The Kiwis had no chance of success.
It would have been easy for South Africa to go through the motions against New Zealand. To their credit they didn’t. They had only one bad session during the two-match series and that was the last session of day two in Cape Town. The rest of the time they maintained their high standards and demolished the outclassed Kiwis in emphatic fashion. This speaks volumes for the professionalism in the South African camp at the moment.
It is difficult to understand how New Zealand expected to be successful in South Africa without some of their best players. It was naive to think that a young, below-strength team would be able to compete with the No 1 team in the world under foreign conditions.
The New Zealanders were like lambs to the slaughter and the expectation that they would stretch South Africa under difficult conditions away from home was unrealistic. It was unfair on a group of players and an inexperienced coaching staff to have been put in this position, although it appears as if some of the coaching staff were involved in some of the destructive events before the tour.
Hopefully harsh lessons were learned and New Zealand cricket will do everything in their power to reconcile the differences that led to the unfortunate situation that caused such divisions before this tour.
They face England on a home-and-away basis shortly and unless they introduce strong measures to ensure that their best players play, and that the team is unified as far as team spirit is concerned, they will suffer a similar fate.
There are precious few test nations in world cricket and the last thing the game needs is one of its more stable and consistent nations being in turmoil.