Georgie Parker: Is winning the most important thing or are moral victories enough?

Georgie Parker
The Nightly
3 Min Read
All-rounder Salman Ali Agha only bowled three overs but claimed the wicket of David Warner with the last ball before lunch.
All-rounder Salman Ali Agha only bowled three overs but claimed the wicket of David Warner with the last ball before lunch. Credit: Michael Klein

What a great Boxing Day Test we just had. The pitch was interesting, we had moments where I was genuinely concerned Australia wasn’t going to win, some DRS controversies we can now chat about, and Pat Cummins producing his best-ever performance.

A great four days of Test cricket.

Pakistan were stoic. For a team that most of Australia had written off as facing a series whitewash — bar Kerry O’Keefe, who bravely predicted Pakistan to win this match — they really made the Aussies work. And because of that, they took the very English trademarked approach of having a ‘moral victory’.

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“The whole game I will sum up, our Pakistan team played better than the other team in general”, Pakistan team director Mohammed Hafeez said after the match.

Pat Cummins.
Boxing Day Test player of the match Pat Cummins. Credit: AAP

A wry smile appeared on Pat Cummins’ face after being asked whether that meant anything. He’s had that line of questioning before. They were thrown at him basically every match during The Ashes, where England famously morally won.

So there’s a question to ask your friends and family: Is winning the most important thing, or are ‘moral’ victories enough?

Are we finally seeing the ‘participation award’ generation of players and coaches come through the ranks as international sports people, or, is this just a guy trying to protect his job and show the people above, “But nah, we were meant to win that one” to keep them off his back? Maybe a bit of Column A and bit of Column B.

Ultimately, the scoreline is the scoreline. I’m an Adelaide Crows fan, so I know all about the ‘we should have won’ feeling after Ben Keays’ point that was a goal last season. I personally never went down that road though, because if we were meant to win, we would have (maybe kick straight, or start your run earlier than when there’s only 15 minutes to go? But I don’t need to relive that moment again).

One moment in a match or game is not the defining moment. Your better playing style or more aggressive attitude can’t be the barometer to winning. Sport is unknown and it is the best reality show on TV because of it.

We watch because of the drama, the upsets, the team trying to counteract the attacking nature of the other. Is parking the bus or flooding in football or Aussie Rules interesting?

Of course not, but it happens because at the end of the day it’s who has the most points, who crosses the line first, and who scored the most runs or took the most wickets that is the winner.

Winning isn’t everything in terms of approach or talent. But on paper and what achievements you can put next to your name, it is.

And bar cheating (no sandpaper ever again, please), it’s not the way in which you do it. And how you do that and what legacy you want to leave is up to you.

An example of that is Steven Bradbury. His approach to his final in Salt Lake City in 2002 could be labelled as not gold medal worthy by those in the sport. But, here he is, with a gold medal in hand and one of the most iconic moments of Olympic history to his name.

As Pat Cummins said in his post match press conference, “It doesn’t really matter, does it? It is the team who wins at the end.”

For me, winning isn’t everything in terms of approach or talent. But on paper and what achievements you can put next to your name, it is. It’s the only thing that does. Otherwise, you can change my Olympic Games participation certificate to a gold medal and you can call me Georgie Parker OAM (it has a nice ring to it, at least).

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