Much like two million viewers, I didn’t move until it was all over. No it wasn’t Nadal nor Barty in the tennis. Nor Nick and Theo either. What stopped my pulse was the last-gasp heart-stopping draw in the women’s Ashes cricket Test.
And despite the non-result, I saw an incredible example of leadership. In a crisis. One where the least experienced are mentored, show up and work through. The other game of leadership.
Let me set the scene.
England need 40 or so runs with 10 or so overs to go and aren’t short of batters. An easy win awaits.
Now Cricket Captaincy 101 demands that you turn to your most experienced players : namely Ellyse Perry or Tahlia McGrath or Jess Jonasson. Giving anyone of them a bowl would have meant quick wickets falling or runs slowed.
But Australia didn’t. Instead they relied upon two of their most inexperienced players: Alana King and Annabel Sutherland. With two matches between them.
Instead Meg Lanning, the captain, Rachel Haynes, the vice-captain and Ellyse Perry, their most senior bowler chose a different path.
They spent extra time with each bowler. They set catchers and fielders to take advantage of the batter’s mistakes. And encouraged the bowlers. Even when things went badly.
And King and Sutherland rose. Wickets fell. Runs dwindled. And the debutants kept bowling. And yes a draw : but nearly a win or loss for either : or even a tie.
Why did Australia choose this path?
Ask again when in a few years King and Sutherland know what to do next time. And pass that wisdom onto the next group of players.