I trust this letter finds you recovering from what must have been an extremely emotional time in your life. I know I write on behalf of many thousands of people around the world who watched the semi-final against New Zealand, and who share a small part of your pain.
Let me assure you that sitting watching the game from a distance, and having been in that cauldron situation myself, I fully comprehend the deep down, inner-burning hurt feeling you are experiencing. I understand the anguish having not reached your final goal, but sometimes in life it isn’t all about the final win. Someone once said, “When the great scorer comes to judge, he judges not on how many runs you made but how you played the game.”
We all know that winning a World Cup event is something extremely special, but equally as important is the way in which you and your team gave your heart and soul in trying to win it.
I know that each one of you also fully realise that a World Cup win would have meant so much to so many and you will feel that you let your supporters down. While that is the immediate reaction post-defeat, in time you’ll come to see that despite the loss on the day, it isn’t the end of the world. As you gave of your best and ticked all the boxes, we’ll embrace your efforts long after the noise ringing around the stadium in Auckland has died down.
I guess you’ll look back at your personal performance and wonder about the ‘what ifs’ and knowing you as I do, you will feel the urge to take full responsibility for the four-wicket defeat. That too will pass in time. Yes, the fumble at the wicket in the run-out chance was critical and yes, you could possibly have made alternate bowling changes and set different fields, but that’s all part of cricket and what makes it such a beautiful game to play. If we are really honest, in hindsight Kyle Abbott should have played ahead of the not fully-fit Vernon Philander, clearly not at his best. However, you went with that call and it’s now in the past.
Unfortunately, Dale Steyn also looked as if he was carrying a niggle and didn’t strike for you as he always does. That made it tougher as the game unfolded and, in the end, you bowling in the last five overs of a World Cup semifinal probably wasn’t something you could have foreseen a few months ago. It came about through circumstances beyond your control bud.
Before I sign off, I need to just say how much we have loved to watch you bat, AB. Over the last while it has become something that every single one of us are willing to pay good money to see every day. The energy and passion you exude at the crease and the flair you showcase deservedly makes you the best batsman in the world. Although you may not have thought about it, by doing what you do, you are inspiring our next generation of cricketers.
Again, thanks for the amazing entertainment. Get home, unpack, spend quality time with your precious lady and loves ones and then hit the golf course and relax. Life goes on after every loss and after every win – something you truly realise once your playing days are over.
Former South Africa international Pat Symcox played at the 1996 Cricket World Cup, and is a self-proclaimed cricket fanatic, struggling golfer and addicted writer.
DE VILLIERS: THIS DEFEAT IS THE LOWEST POINT IN MY CAREER
Following the Proteas’ loss to New Zealand, captain AB de Villiers says he’s never felt so low.