Prove worth on the field

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page - Andi Thorn­hill is an ex­pe­ri­enced, award-win­ning free­lance sports jour­nal­ist. Email: an­dithorn­

the first Test.

The In­di­ans are ob­vi­ously very dom­i­nant at home and looked like Go­liaths against us rather than the sac­ri­fi­cial lambs that were slaugh­tered away by Eng­land re­cently.

I con­cede they may have beaten even a stronger West Indies team and I wouldn’t have com­plained, be­cause even at full strength we are known to blow hot and cold but I would have marked them based on their ap­pli­ca­tion and their in­testi­nal for­ti­tude.

The will to win is ac­cept­able but at times you have to con­cede if the op­po­si­tion has played bet­ter. When there is a con­test you feel bet­ter los­ing but when it is to­tally one-sided you can’t search for ex­cuses. With­out tak­ing any­thing away from the In­di­ans, I think we gifted them their record­break­ing per­for­mance.

As diehard sup­port­ers we weren’t of­fered a sin­gle thread of hope that we could com­pete on any of the three days. The guardians of our rich her­itage never showed up and we were se­verely pun­ished and even­tu­ally an­ni­hi­lated in quick time.

Hav­ing deep pock­ets couldn’t change the out­come. What you take to the bank is your en­ti­tle­ment but what you take to the mid­dle should jus­tify it. I hope this mes­sage res­onates with the play­ers as they pre­pare for the se­cond and fi­nal Test.

Manch­ester United is the rich­est foot­ball club in the world, with a cur­rent net worth of $4.14 bil­lion. It has Alexis Sanchez on its books and he re­port­edly earns around £400 000 weekly. There are other play­ers who are paid three-fig­ure cheques too.

De­spite that, they have made their worst start to the English Premier League in 29 years. Truth­fully, the bot­tom looked to be drop­ping out the bucket when they were 2-0 down against lowly New­cas­tle at half-time last Satur­day.

What hap­pened in the se­cond half was more about play­ers sav­ing their rep­u­ta­tions than any in­ter­est in sal­vaging the job of em­bat­tled man­ager Jose Mour­inho, who has re­port­edly fallen out with key fig­ures in the dress­ing room.

For in­stance, look at Sanchez who has been way be­low par all sea­son but he seemed to be spe­cially en­er­gised when he came on for the last 20 min­utes. He was in­volved in ev­ery at­tack­ing move and con­se­quently and fit­tingly scored the win­ning goal.

With the kind of cash he gets, it is pos­si­ble that at some point his con­science had to over­ride any ill feel­ing he might have been har­bour­ing against Mour­inho. Pro­fes­sional pride was the cur­rency that counted in that sit­u­a­tion. He was the cat­a­lyst for the oth­ers. That’s the mir­ror im­age all sports­men should por­tray as fre­quently as pos­si­ble.

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