Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A rather uncommon occurrence occurred in the world of sport today: An Australian admitted to his team suffering from mental frailties.

Yes, you heard it right, an Australian. They who know no weakness, or at least pretend so. And no less a competitor than Mitchell Johnson. The same Mitchell Johnson whose Neanderthal tendencies can be as expedite as his one hundred and fifty kilometre per hour missiles that he passes off as bowling. The same Mitchell Johnson who thinks nothing of attempting to maim a foe with those callous missiles and spends inordinately large amounts of his playing days on a grassy expanse over-indulging in the dubious art of sledging. The one you always suspected that any intellectual point made would be too acute for the bluntness of his grey matter to feel that said point.

And yet, yet, here he is announcing to the cricketing world that the Australian batsmen didn't handle the pressure and atmosphere during the middle stages of their inning last Saturday against the kiwis.

Who knew Johnson had it in him to act in slightly more refined manner than normal? Not many.

Whether it be by design of team management, whether it be an honest observation off the cuff, it is to be commended.

For to admit is to accept which augers well for their future. To accept a negative is the only way one can turn a negative into a positive. The Australians, if they are been genuine, have taken the first step towards learning to handle such situations in a superior mode to which they did on Saturday.

To be fair to all concerned this was an atmosphere of such hostility for which the like has rarely been seen in this part of the sporting world. That most of the Australian batsmen failed to cope with this situation is of no real surprise.

Realising that they are not alone should follow close behind. There is not a team in the game that could have withstood the ferocity of this braying mass of unadulterated human jingoism.

No man nor woman is without fault, no man nor woman is without frailties. Many may convince themselves into thinking otherwise, afraid to show any sign of weakness, cajoling themselves into believing that all is okay, but only the truly weak do streak through life unaware of the absurdities of their stripped down propaganda.

So the lessons must be heeded and they needed to be after such an abject display, for the result of this match was nowhere near as close as the scores suggest. Take out Tim Southee's meltdown under the pressure of local expectations and the Australian's would surely have been harassed out for thirty runs less.

For once, though, we are seeing those from across the ditch displaying the humility required to expand their mental horizons, to explore the realms of higher achievement. And life will undoubtedly become easier not just for admitting a weakness, but also, if they do qualify for the final, it will be in Melbourne.

Then let's see how mentally tough their foe is.

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