Dylan Cleaver on sport
Sport analysis and comment from Dylan Cleaver

Midweek Fixture: Why all the players lost their voices

By Dylan Cleaver

All Blacks captain Kieran Read, during the New Zealand All Blacks team Captains Run held at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Blacks captain Kieran Read, during the New Zealand All Blacks team Captains Run held at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Nine quick thoughts for the ninth month of the year.

1. Steve Tew can talk about "black marks" and Rob Nichol about "bad decisions" but it won't make a blind bit of difference to the attitudes of packs of young testosterone and booze-fuelled men towards women. The only thing that will get any cut-through will be if a player, a respected peer - like a Kieran Read or a Jerome Kaino, someone that lives what they preach - stands up and condemns publicly the sort of behaviour we read and heard about at the Chiefs.

2. We are in a barren period in New Zealand in terms of athlete leadership. Take away Brendon McCullum's stance against match-fixing and when was the last time you heard a prominent, current sportsman or sportswoman in this country say anything of any importance, or depth, about anything?

3. I blame a triumvirate of over-protective player managers, communications departments at many national sporting organisations and the various player associations.

Players simply no longer have to think for themselves any more. It's all done for them.

4. It's amazing how many of them suddenly find their voice from the safety of retirement though, especially when there's a well-paid TV gig in the offing.

5. Boy do New Zealand need a bounce back performance in the first test against India in Kanpur tomorrow. Boy are the odds stacked against them. Since India abandoned all pretence of preparing cricket wickets that offered anything to seamers, they are, at home, unquestionably the toughest assignment in cricket.

6. New Zealand have been great innovators over the years. How radical would it to play two wicketkeeper-batsmen in the stifling heat of Kanpur? With Martin Guptill seemingly lost in a fog of red-ball confusion, it could be under consideration.

7. The recent passing of cricketing writing doyen DJ Cameron served as a reminder what a crying shame it is that the papers/ multimedia publishing houses, only occasionally send writers away on tours. Cricket tours, far more than rugby IMHO, lend themselves to colourful, analytical and occasionally amusing dispatches. Good writers bring a tour to life for those cricket fans who can't stay up seven hours through the night to watch every day. The English still cover cricket tours well, and India... the rest of us have stopped trying.

8. There could be two Sydney teams in the AFL Grand Final. Nobody wants to see that happen less than Todd Greenberg and Bill Pulver.

9. The swim-bike-running Brownlees are a remarkable pair but the gushing over their incredible brotherly bond this week is over-the-top. If Alastair was really concerned for Jonny's health, he would have stopped him there and then and made sure he had the necessary medical attention, not drag his distressed body through the scorching Mexico heat. He dragged him to the line and pushed him over in second in the hope that Spain's Mario Mola would finish far enough back for Jonny to win the World Triathlon Series. Mola's fifth-placed finish was enough (just) for him to cling on. It was a move calculated to win his brother a title that he couldn't himself win.

THE WEEK IN MEDIA ...

Ever wondered what's going on inside the mind of football bad boy Joey Barton? Here's a look.

A nice retrospective of a team of misfits from baseball's inglorious cocaine era.

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