James Rose and Ben Pahor
The Australian cricket team has been slammed and labelled unsporting for failing to acknowledging Ross Taylor's glorious knock when he was dismissed yesterday. But was it a storm in a tea cup or is it a systemic problem within the Australian cricket team?
Killer instinct: James Rose
Let me start by saying, it would have been nice to see members of the Australian cricket team shake hands with Ross Taylor after he concluded his brilliant innings of 290 runs yesterday, just as it was nice to see the New Zealand Cricketers acknowledge David Warners contribution to the second test at the WACA.
That it would have been nice to see, doesn’t mean it’s required though. I’m all for praising acts of good sportsmanship but I’m surprised at the reaction of Dirk Nannes and the general public regarding what a sporting team didn’t do. Has our critical gaze become that microscopic that we’re now labelling teams and individuals based on inactions as well as actions these days?
I’m of the view that any sporting arena is a battle, you should respect your opponent but you’re not out there to make them feel great about themselves. That can be done after the competition is over as you reminisce over a few beverages. The Australians in this instance have in my view shown the appropriate respect by applauding the milestones as they were achieved and the need to shake hands at the end of the innings however nice shouldn’t be expected.
If you mandate behaviour like this, in the rules or in the court of public opinion that is social media does the gesture not lose meaning? I’d rather be pleasantly surprised when teams such as New Zealand take the time to shake someone’s hand, than annoyed when a team doesn’t.
Ah Social Media, is there anything you can’t ruin?
Poor sportsmanship: Ben Pahor
In a time when we are fighting to get kids involved in sport, particularly in cricket, professionals and young kids' idols must set the standard and lead by example. Australian cricket commentator Dirk Nannes yesterday slammed the Aussies for not congratulating Taylor after he was dismissed.
"You don’t have a guy bat for a day and a half out there and just not even acknowledge it,” Nannes said on ABC radio. “That’s just horrendous sportsmanship.
"Not one person from the Australian camp went and shook his hand … it’s not that hard. It’s not hard to just do the simple things.
“It’s not a good look.”
The Australians have always had a killer instinct and are known for their sledging and hard line approach on the cricket field. However, why does their competitive edge need to come at the cost of sportsmanship?
Players do not need to be overly nice and applaud everything their opponents do, as they are out there to win. However, showing respect to an opponent is another story.
New Zealand have shown the world how it's done over the past 12 months, with brilliant acts of sportsmanship while also excelling at both the cricket world cup and rugby world cup. It is something so simple and something that can have such a huge impact on the crowd and the youngsters watching the sport.
I agree that having a killer instinct and having a competitive edge on the field is essential to winning, however, so is good sportsmanship and being a good winner and being gracious in defeat are important traits.
If the Australian cricketers can learn to be gracious then it will go a long way to teaching the future stars of the game to act the same way.
A simple act of acknowledging a good shot or a good innings is not soft or losing focus, it simply being a good sport and a good athlete. Refusing to do so can show an enormous amount of disrespect to an opponent. Teaching children how to behave and deal with winning and losing on the sporting field is just as important as teaching them the skills of the game.