TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
WHERE were you on March 22, 1992? Or March 11, 1996? How about June 17, 1999? On March 3, 2003? April 25, 2007, anyone? Your whereabouts, please, on March 25, 2011? And on March 24, 2015?
Do not be alarmed: you are not being asked these questions as part of Cricket SA’s investigation into match-fixing.
Neither was Nelson Mandela released from prison nor JFK assassinated nor Robert Mugabe despised on any of the days above. Hang on – scrap that last thought; Mugabe is despised every day.
Rather, this is about poking with a sharp stick some of your darkest memories as a cricketminded South African.
If you are of this disposition you know exactly where your were, what you were doing, who you were with and, probably, where you were, with whom and what you did in the empty days that followed.
The dates above are when SA’s bids to win tournaments have come unstuck, often in gobsmacking fashion. And those are only their attempts to win a World Cup. We couldn’t ask about the Champions Trophy and the World T20 as well because we didn’t have enough question marks.
So, here we go again. The 2016 edition of the World T20 has started in India. SA’s first match is five days away …
Today is as good a day for a braai as any (they all are), and if any of the thousands of fires that are being gathered around in backyards and on balconies the length and breadth of the land this fine Sunday are not stoked by a cricket conversation the likes of which we’ve all heard before, then you’ve been abducted by aliens and beamed to a galaxy far, far away.
“This time? Waddya think? Can they win it?”
At that, eyes will harden defensively. Heads will swivel to a funereal rhythm. Sighs will sink deep as a bit of boerie that slips through the grid and into the flames’ fiery grip.
“Bru, yoh … I dunno, hey. Jirre, I hope so.”
Then we’ll all wring hands together about the madness of Hash not being in the XI.
“But where do you put him?”
“Doesn’t matter, china. Man’s a genius – gotta play.”
And send up prayers for Dale Steyn; even the atheists, agnostics and other assorted non-beer drinking, salad-eaters among us.
“If that oke stays in one piece …”
We’ll also will a return to form for JP Duminy.
“Now that dude used to jol! Remember? What the hell happened?”
Then we’ll thank the gods – all of them – for Kagiso Rabada.
“I like this kid, boet! I like this kid!”
Perhaps this is just how things are in a cricket country that knows no different, that has to wait for the Springboks to win a World Cup to understand what it feels like.
Which only makes it more difficult to live with: if those okes can do it why can’t these okes?
They can. They just haven’t … Yet.
Which might make you want to ask your mates what they will be doing on April 3, 2016.
“Fancy coming round for a tjop-n-dop?”
Good day for a braai, and for the WT20 final.