Rugby Union Drew Mitchell says its up to Australia’s players, not the coach, to prove themselves after admitting they weren’t up to the task in back to back Bledisloe Cup losses against the All Blacks. The former Wallabies winger described critics of Michael Cheika as short-sighted and backed the coach to lead the side to next year’s World Cup in Japan. He said Saturday’s clash with South Africa in Brisbane would be a chance to atone following players’ comments that their attitude and application had been lacking against the All Blacks. Will Genia and Israel Folau have lamented the side’s mental lapses this week as they prepare to host the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium. Mitchell, who played the last of his 71 tests in 2016, said he was pleased to hear players weren’t making excuses. “That’s not anyone’s issue other than the person themselves,” he told AAP. “When you’re in a hole, you have a voice telling you to go hard and another saying go easy … you have a choice. “When they see themselves taking the easier option in the review … you want to make sure you don’t sit in the same situation (after Saturday’s game) and look at the same decision twice.” Folau (ankle), as well as David Pocock (neck), Taniela Tupou (hamstring) and Nick Phipps (ribs) all remain in varying degrees of doubt for the clash ahead of today’s team announcement. Saturday’s clash looms large given Australia have won just one of their last seven tests, with Cheika’s winning percentage over the four years and 50 tests in charge at 50 per cent. Mitchell would be angry if the axe fell on the coach, though, citing a societal trend for change and negativity as the main driver of the criticism. “We’re a society hell bent on pointing out the negative…. it’s sad there’s so much negativity in people that for that short moment where they press ‘send’ they get fulfilment,” he said, in a nod to the criticism levelled at Cheika on social media. “I would hope there’s no idea of him not being the coach at that World Cup next year.” We’ve seen people make changes thinking there will be a short term gain, but you’re never getting that at a World Cup. “He’s a genuine planner, he’d have some things in the pipeline he’ll start to execute over the next 12 months and it’d be a damn shame if he wasn’t able to go through with them.” AAP
CAPE TOWN, (Reuters) – Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed yesterday they had made former test skipper Graeme Smith’s tenure as director of cricket permanent, keeping him in the role until March 2022. Smith, the most successful test captain in history, has been in the role in an acting capacity since December.CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul told a media conference that Smith had impressed since in the position.“Graeme has made a huge impact with his energy, expertise, hard work ethic and characteristic determination and passion he has brought to the position,” said Faul. “Although there is certainly a great deal of work to be done, as reflected by the performances of our various national teams, he has certainly put our cricket on an upward trajectory that provides light at the end of the tunnel.”Faul added they were pleased to tie Smith down ahead of what is likely to be a turbulent time for the game due to the COVID-19 pandemic.“We wanted to appoint him permanently from the word go, but there was a lot of uncertainty at the time,” Faul said. “Graeme also wanted to have the opportunity to see if the partnership can work.“I’m not sure if anybody’s career can start with so many challenges and what will be a new way of looking at cricket.”Smith appointed former team mate Mark Boucher as head coach of the national team and started with a 3-1 home test series loss to England, but ended the 2019/20 season with a 3-0 One-Day International whitewash of a strong Australia side. “There is a lot of work that still needs to be done, not just at international level but throughout our pipeline development pathways as well but I am determined to get South African cricket back to where it belongs as one of the world leaders at international level,” Smith, 39, said.The former opening batsman played 117 tests, leading South Africa in 108 of those and winning 53.South Africa are due to tour Sri Lanka for a limited overs series in June but that looks increasingly unlikely due to the global health crisis.
There is no dearth of explanations or reasons proffered for our anaemic post-independence development: underdevelopment of our economy and our society by the departed colonials; squabbling politicians; lack of capital; ethnic/racial divisions; brain drain, etc. But for each of the identified constraints and then some (for instance, lack of physical resources), other countries, such as S. Korea, Singapore, and others in the Far East, have yet jumped from Third World to First.But we would like to place on the agenda one factor that somehow has not received the attention that we believe it should: the need for us to have a strong desire to work for the common good of Guyana. Now, it might be said that this is a consequence of the ethnic divisions in our society, but Malaysia, for instance, also has these divisions, and was able to leapfrog them to knock on the doors of the First World. If the successful ‘developed’ and developing countries are analysed, more often than not, one would discern a strong sentiment of ‘doing it for my country.’This emphasis can be measured by the degree to which, emotionally or consciously, people agree that a common good justifies restrictions on the individual, including oneself. It could also be described as the degree to which the members of a society are willing to forego individual advantages if thereby a larger advantage is secured for the community. Can we say we have this sentiment widespread in Guyana?Some time ago, noted CUNY political scientist Richard Wolin visited China and asked one worker, “What do people here do on weekends?” The reply, to his surprise, was, “We have no weekends. We have to work hard to pass America!” On his tours across many campuses and cities, he found the same sentiment very widespread. The people were willing to work for what they saw as the good of their country. Because of such an orientation, China has, for three decades, been able to maintain a double-digit growth rate, and is now the second largest economy in the world – nipping on the heels of the US.Japan, which led the thrust for ‘miracle growth’ in the post WWII era, was also helped by a strong patriotic fervour among its people.Many people conveniently forget that the Industrial Revolution in Britain and Europe followed their consolidation as nation states, where the people were willing to sacrifice for ‘King and country”. While the US overthrew the king, its citizens also rallied for the national cause.In Guyana, we are still at a point where the feeling of ‘we the people’ has not been inculcated into the psyche of our people. In the absence of such a sentiment, individuals will act only in the interest of their sub- group or themselves on an individual basis. Looking out for “No 1” becomes the rallying cry. It is up to the leaders in our society to mobilise these individuals for the ‘common good’.Unfortunately, the present PNC-led Government has jettisoned all its promises for an inclusive Government that would transcend our divisions, and has actually exacerbated them. Immediately upon achieving office, it slighted its AFC partner, which had purportedly brought in Indians who were traditionally outside the PNC’s constituency. Guyanese today should compare the differential rates of development in the Far East, where exertion for the common good is commonplace, and that of, let’s say Africa, where most countries are riven along ethnic lines – like us. We must do better.In societies lacking an ethos of the common good, people do what is advantageous for themselves, and have no qualms in abandoning principles or changing sides when it is beneficial to them. This expedient behaviour also encourages corruption, which is not just a problem of political systems, but is an attitudinal problem. Persons who are little inclined to accept personal disadvantages for the common good are easily corrupted.