Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Life's too short for short glory

It should take more than Smash-Ball to convince anyone South Africa has forgotten how to play test cricket.

Ross Taylor tweeted his support after the T20 win. Photo / Getty Images
Ross Taylor tweeted his support after the T20 win. Photo / Getty Images

Oh no. Something scary just happened - I enjoyed a T20 game. Well, not the whole game, because I've barely watched one entirely.

But the last four overs of New Zealand's epic - to use the word very, very lightly - victory over South Africa was moderately exciting in a depressing way.

Cricket is at a tricky point for some of us who have loved and watched it religiously for years, entranced by the long-haul and subtleties.

When it comes to test cricket, I can talk the talk but don't always walk the walk any more because the charge through middle age changes priorities. Test cricket is battling for customers.

What to do, what to do? Do we go with the flow and become T20-ites, or do we go the Marty Crowe kind of way and burn the old bat in protest. In other words, will we be drawn into this web, or remain staunchly outside the gates.

And if we go the T20 way, what will happen to us in this gaudy wasteland? The shortest form of cricket should count for diddly squat, being a heavily manufactured version of the real thing that turns bowlers into victims and batsmen into sloggers.

Then again, those four final overs in East London were captivating, the downside being that once the game was over there was not even the hint of an afterglow.

T20 reminds me of the James Bond movie empire. The storylines are simple, there's only room for about one hero, it's meaningless and shallow, and the mass appeal makes me feel like I was born with a common gene missing.

Martin Guptill is being lauded for his innings, which must have been amazing if you are into that sort of thing, but his winning shot was delivered with the panache of a drunk hailing a cab at four in the morning. He squared up and heaved the cherry over cover and was immediately mounted by someone called Colin Munro, his batting partner and about the 298th player to represent New Zealand in the past couple of years.

In the cricketing world that made sense, Rory Kleinveldt's ill-fated last delivery was a shocker, a lowish full toss that had "Pad Up Chris Martin" written all over it. However, the commentator reckoned this was an inch away from being a brilliant block-hole ball and even referred to it as a yorker. Maybe T20 commentators are so attuned to saying what they think needs to be said in happy-clappy cricket that they no longer do any thinking.

A lot is being read into this victory for the rest of the New Zealand tour, but hell - it should take more than a bit of Smash-Ball to convince anyone that South Africa has suddenly forgotten how to play test cricket. They didn't appear to give up that easy on the recent tour of Australia.

Guptill, the hero, and Ross Taylor, the stay-at-home batting star, swapped cute public messages of support after the victory.

Taylor - surprise, surprise - delivered his message via Twitter, the apparently addictive media chat site where brief banality flourishes.

"Washed my hair ... about to cut toenails," can pull in thousands of followers on Twitter, some replying they've just mowed the lawns or had a boiled egg for lunch. LOL.

I've resisted allowing Twitter too far into my life, and the same applies to T20 cricket. Unfortunately, the enemy is at the gate, determined to let itself in. For now, however, life is too short for things that are too short.

- NZ Herald

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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