World Cup

Do it for yourselves & New Zealand

Prior to the beginning of the World Cup on February 14, I was asked to write an open letter to the New Zealand cricket team in one of New Zealand’s leading newspapers offering them support and encouragement.

As we enter the final of the tournament I have reflected on what I wrote. My article was acknowledged by our Prime Minister John Key, who congratulated me on my words of support for the team.

The team has responded magnificently by making the final for the first time. I share those thoughts with you.

“As a proud sporting nation we stand behind the Black Caps as you take on the world’s best teams and players. The ICC Cricket World Cup is the greatest prize in the sport — it is something to win, cherish and be proud of.

History will show that we have been semifinalists on six previous occasions. There is no point dwelling on the past, it is the present that is important.

You have to seize the opportunity because everything you have worked for over the past few years has brought you here. If you win the final, you will be writing a new chapter in the history of our game.

A World Cup comes once every four years. At its conclusion, planning starts for the next one. The country has counted down, the team has counted down and that time has now arrived.

Over the next six weeks embrace and enjoy the tournament. Yes, there will be challenges and nerves but use them to your advantage and regard them positively.

Winning has become a habit for the team over the past two years. You have grown in strength and the country has embraced your success.

I have followed your success with a great deal of pride and interest. You are a well-coached team and you have good support staff to take care of you.

Inspirational captain

You have an inspirational captain, a quality pace-bowling attack, one of the best spin bowlers in the world and some highly-skilled batsmen. You have a well-balanced team which can handle different conditions or match situations.

You are the best-ever Kiwi team to represent us at a World Cup. You have played well collectively and enjoyed each other’s individual performances and success.

You have played some tough cricket and have fought your way out of tricky situations to win matches. Those qualities may be required again.

There is a buzz of anticipation and excitement throughout the country and there is high expectation of playing well.

The interest in the sport is at its highest level in the nation because of your recent performances.

You are role models and in many cases heroes to our young and aspiring cricketers. You were there yourself once as you looked up to the great players of that era.

Remember how that felt. You are now in a position to produce match-winning performances and make those early dreams of yours become a reality.

 Every time you take the field, wearing the silver fern will mean something special to you — it is our country’s pride.

Winning world titles doesn’t just happen. It will require a total commitment to the cause. The work ethic needs to be at its best. Supporting each other through good and bad times will be paramount.

To play in a World Cup is a great experience. Most players get just one or two chances to perform on the global stage. The world will judge you as cricketers and as people — this is the platform and this is your time.

A proud nation awaits watching in anticipation and supporting you. Irrespective of what happens, if you give your best no one will complain.

Good luck lads — do it for yourselves and do it for New Zealand.”

 Sunday is an important day in our cricketing history. This is the biggest day in the lives of our players. Let’s see whether the Black Caps can continue to be inspired and play well to achieve the ultimate ‘dream’ and become world champions. — Hawkeye / Chivach Sports

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:05:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/do-it-for-yourselves-new-zealand/article7044178.ece

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