Updated: June 25, 2021 8:09:40 am
The inaugural world Test champion, New Zealand, is almost the size of a state in India, the team it vanquished to the throne, and is less populated than 20 of its states. Yet, they are no sporting upstarts — superpowers in rugby and home to Olympic medallists in a wide range of events, besides qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, where they creditably drew all their games. The New Zealand cricket might not possess the enviable depth of Indian cricket, or its riches or power, or the history or pedigree of rivals, Australia, but it has a group of players who get the job done without stretching the limits of sportsmanship or displaying excessive emotion.
There are lessons to be picked for the sporting world, even for India, which on paper has a more robust system in place. From New Zealand, they can learn the virtue of persistence. New Zealand endured sustained heartbreak in ICC events throughout their history, from the defeat in the 1992 World Cup to the disappointments of the 2015 and 2019 finals. But they dreamed on and emerged tougher. If Kohli’s India aspires to end the ICC drought, New Zealand offers the perfect blueprint. There is much to learn from the Kiwis’ quiet resolve and resilience.
The cliche of New Zealand as the nice guys finishing first is far from accurate. It is also condescending. It’s high time it is acknowledged that they have a team of genuine world-beaters — the best batsman and captain since Martin Crowe (Kane Williamson), the finest bowler since Richard Hadlee (Tim Southee), their best ever wicket-keeper batsman (BJ Watling) and their most lethal group of fast bowlers ever. Their ascent is no fluke, or happenstance, but earned through talent, sweat and determination. It could not have been better timed, as some of the traditional powerhouses, like West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are struggling to string together a competitive side. New Zealand’s triumph should infuse them with hope, but they must also look at the incredible effort that went into the making of the World Test Championship winners.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.