Friday, October 19, 2018
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April 3 – Fourth Test Day 5

Lunch was a feast today – given that the match was already over, the optimistic caterers brought out the afternoon tea at the same time as lunch in the vain hope some of it might get eaten. Our opponents didn’t hang around long – they had a refrigerated truck full of Castle lager ready for their celebrations – and none of our team seemed to have much of an appetite. The Prof and I were soon left alone with the sad-looking leftovers. [Ed. As against being sad-looking leftovers.]

“So, why are the sponsors leaving the team?” I asked, after a few minutes sucking on a piece of leather I mistook for some  biltong.

“Simple,” said The Prof. “They know that without Captain Devereux we won’t be winning a game within the next sponsorship contract cycle, so they’re going to take their money elsewhere.”

“That’s a bit short sighted?”

“Oh, my, 17th, you are a bit naive. Brands only want to be associated with winners.”

“Win at all cost?”

“There isn’t a Board that really wants niceness and a flat dividend.”

“So, will the sponsors be part of the culture review?”

“Given that they are paying for it, I doubt it.” The Prof winked at me. “You’ll see some remuneration flow into your personal account accordingly.”

It’s clear that, like in times of war, there is always money to be made.

“So, what’s your reflection on the series?”

“Good question. There are just two big questions that present themselves in light of everything that has happened:

Question 1. How did we blow it after starting so well?

Question 2. How did England get the ball to go reverse in 2005 in England?”

He pointed a limp sausage roll in my direction with raised eyebrows, feigned to take a bite, then threw it nonchalantly back on to the plate.

“Are we going straight home?” I asked.

“Yep. I’ve cancelled our safari. We’ve seen enough of rampant predators feasting greedily on the vulnerable and defenceless.”

 

South Africa 488 and 6/344d; Australia 221 and 119.

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