Is anyone else starting to find this kind of thing grating?
“Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and say the opposition were better than us with the bat.”
So said Alastair Cook after the fourth one-day international. There’s been an awful lot of ‘accepting that the opposition were better than us on the day’ recently. It’s not always ‘on the day’ either. Sometimes it’s ‘in this Test’ or ‘over the winter’. Pretty soon it’ll be ‘for the last decade or so’.
To be honest, this whole ‘being magnanimous in defeat’ act is really starting to get on our nerves. It’s not that we expect England cricketers to be bad losers. It’s that the subtext seems to be that they played really well and that sometimes the opposition are slightly better and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.
Similarly, who has ever suggested that the opposition aren’t allowed to play well? No-one. Yet ‘the opposition are allowed to play well’ is a phrase we hear again and again in response to defeat.
Let’s make this simple. When someone says ‘the opposition are allowed to play well,’ or ‘they were better than us on the day,’ that person is trying to tell you that this is some mystical phenomenon that’s beyond anyone’s control. Don’t believe them.
Why? Because the person who’s says these things is invariably someone whose job it is to prevent the opposition from playing well and being better than them on the day.