I feel strangely at peace this morning. And I have been trying to account for this surprising moment. I backed no winners at the Valley on Saturday. Yes, I enjoyed the wizardry of Fred and Thompson in the A-League Grand Final last night, but I thought the match lost a lot when the Adelaide skipper was sent off. And we only had 2mm of rain overnight.

Puzzled, I paused over my Weet-Bix. While in such a contemplative state a vision appeared to me. It was a tall, skinny man running in to bowl at, of all places, Eden Park, in Auckland. It was Glenn McGrath. He was bowling the second last over of the New Zealand innings. The Kiwis only needed a run a ball, and he’d just been belted. Thinking he was sixteen years younger, he bounced Brendan McCallum. McCallum waited for the powder puff to arrive and dispatched it to a section of the stadium rarely visited upon by cricket balls. Ahh Pigeon, you are in zimmering form at the moment. The ‘Keeper drove the following delivery to the long-on boundary for a remarkable victory and series win.

And then it returned to me. That’s why I was experiencing a fleeting moment of serenity and tranquility.

I must be cautious, though. I should not open myself to the same forces the Australian cricket team has. Hubris is not fussy.

But before being cautious I will giggle at Australia’s inability to defend 336, and the loss in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. I will also smirk at the wonderful English comeback during the Australian triangular series. I will note the cavalier attitude during those finals when every move the selectors made conveyed an underlying assumption that the games were won already and hence players could be given time in the middle in preparation for the Caribbean in March. I will note my empathy with Freddy (an altogether decent bloke) and Monty (a man whose personal hero is Bruce Lee). And I will be amused by the highly scientific, skill-acquiring, fitness-maximising, exercise-physiological, sports-psychological, man management programs, the culmination of years of planning, which has Australia peaking for that World Cup.

Rationality is fine, and has done much for sport, but I’m not convinced it shapes up when it exists within a climate of arrogance.

As always, though, my peace won’t last. It will, however, have more of a chance to be sustained, once the national team develops a soul.

Peter Fray

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