I was bewildered by the media comment after the first day of the world championship test against India. The tenor was broadly that we’d done well. With our world’s best pace attack and only three wickets down at day’s end, it was certainly not the way I saw it.
Last night I lay in bed watching, aware of the psychological importance of quick wickets. When they weren’t forthcoming it was time to intervene and I applied an age-old gilt-edge technique. Specifically, I got out of bed, went downstairs, sat in the library for three minutes which was sufficient, and sure enough, back upstairs to find a wicket had fallen.
I waited a while, fingers crossed as we needed another wicket urgently to demoralise the Indians.
So I did my duty, went back downstairs, made a coffee and then returned to find that certainly (my absence) had secured that critical wicket.
After those interventions I left it to the chaps to take care of the remaining five without my help.
Sir Bob, you and I clearly share a gift.
I woke at 5.30 am to watch the Indian quicks deliver 26 dot balls, then Conway’s wicket, then the umpires stop play for bad light. I might have been disappointed but I knew that by cunningly falling asleep before midnight I’d ensured 7 Indian wickets and Conways 50.
I have found that a small red wine at that time of the morning does more damage to an Indian batting line up, than does coffee.
Had the same sort of experience some 40 years ago when, with a minute to go and the scores tied at 22 all in the third and deciding All Backs vs Springboks test match/Marx Jones flying circus display at Eden Park, Allan Hewson lined up a penalty from about 40 metres out.
“Allan”, I said, “You’ve missed some tackles, let the ball bounce and have been caught out of position today and that let the Boks back into this game. But kick this goal, and you’ll redeem yourself, and I will unstintingly sing your praises for as long as I live”.
And Allan Roy Hewson, the pride of Petone and the finest all round fullback who ever pulled on a black jersey, did. And so do I. And I bear no grudges that neither Hewie nor NZ Rugby has ever acknowledged, much less rewarded my crucial match winning psychic contribution with, say, life membership and a permanent corporate box.
Great comeback by the Black Caps too, btw.
Sir Bob, something needs to be done about tonight’s weather forecast. Perhaps a stern word from our Prime Minister?