Scottish onslaught Taylor-made for Knight-RyderPeter McGlashan |
There are some times when courage and a lack of fear can be dangerous.
Sometimes it is dangerous for the brave combatant, a false sense of confidence and bravado leading to irrational decision making and leadership blunders.
Other times it is dangerous for the opponent, a relentless wave of passionate onslaughts, void of self doubt or fear of failure, constantly battering away despite the odds being against the courageous underdogs.
Scotlands’ batting effort against the Black Caps yesterday showed the benefit of playing Twenty 20 cricket with such freedom and confidence. They had nothing to lose and came out aggressive and looking to impose themselves on us and had immediate effect. It was a difficult game to prepare for with poor weather all morning, and a delayed start, adding to the frustrations and nerves present on the opening day of the competition.
After watching Netherlands hold their nerve against a much better resourced England side it was natural to feel hesitant about entering a shortened contest against a side with nothing to lose.
Fortunately for us we have some serious fire-power throughout our batting order. Brendon McCullum, Kolkata Knight Rider, and Jesse Ryder began the assault immediately putting the Scottish bowlers under pressure, followed by Ross Taylor smashing it to all parts. The task of chasing down 13 runs an over for most sides would prove too daunting but for our side there really is no limit to what we can chase down. We have so many match winners that there really is a belief that we can continue to maintain an aggressive approach throughout the innings.
It is an exciting time and we all look forward to each opportunity to cross the boundary and impart our skills on the cricketing world. Twenty20 cricket is a chance to express yourself and play with a freedom not possible in the longer formats.
Fortune favours the brave and with Pakistans defeat tonight to England, the Netherlands are faced with an opportunity to advance to the Super 8s with a victory or even a narrow loss this Tuesday. We will be in the fortunate position of being at the ground preparing when that game is played out at Lords and will have box seats to watch the drama unfold.
Not only will it be wonderfully entertaining and tense for the two teams involved, but also the result will have a direct effect on our opponents in the next stage. If the Netherlands get through we will face them in the Super 8s and not Pakistan, so I am sure many of us will be cheering them on while we warm up for our game against South Africa.
As mentioned in my previous article this experience has been surreal, and a wonderful surprise, after thinking my days at the international level were over six months ago. Now, one of my biggest thrills of the tournament has been watching two other international keepers at the tournament choose to use the Aero KPR Face Protector, because they feel it is the best protection available while they keep. That is the biggest compliment I could be paid as the designer and it was great to sit down after the game and chat to Colin Smith, the Scottish keeper, about the product and what he thought of it. He has recently taken a blow to the cheek but does not like keeping in a helmet. He said the mask was perfect as it offered complete line of sight with no peak to get in the way and a significant weight reduction from wearing a helmet.
Over lunch we realised a common bond other than wicketkeeping. Colin is also an innovator, having developed the Katchet catching practice device, a product both Brendon and I use when training for the Black Caps. They are great, offering just the right amount of deflection in a lightweight, portable package that can be pieced together to create larger target areas with ease.
It’s always fun to find people who are on the same wavelength and enjoy the same things in life, it was great to sit and talk about where we think the game and its equipment may go in the future.
And being half Scottish myself, I must admit, I was very proud of the performance Scotland put in with the bat. Maybe sometime in the future, as my career winds down, I can turn out for Scotland and hopefully join such a courageous fight against another test nation.
While Scotland have now bowed out of the tournament, I will never forget the day I played against my ancestral home, saw my mask on another international keepers face and saw how raw courage can strike fear in an opponent.
This is already a great tournament, who knows what it has yet to throw at us…