2015 was as good a chance for the Proteas to hunt down the elusive gold at the ICC CWC. As a diehard Proteas fan, I cursed Grant David Elliot as he kept his calm and smacked Dale Steyn to hit the winning runs.
A capacity crowd at Eden Park breathed a sigh of relief. Arguably, the single most important SIX in the history of Blackcap’s Cricket. I hated him for knocking my favorite team out of contention. I was gutted for South Africa’s sake.
I could not help but notice monk-like concentration as he compiled a match winning 84 off 73 balls. Talk about upping the ante at the big match occasion and he top scored with 83 in the final against Australia.
My South African heroes were reduced to dust but what bowled me over immediately was Grant Elliott showing perfect sportsmanship as he lifted a dejected Dale Steyn who lay still on the pitch.
Needless to say, that this gesture of his meant that I had no option but to fall in love with him like a hopeless Cricket romantic. And I have been a fan ever since.
To be honest, there is a certain sense of assurance every time Grant Elliot walks into bat for damage control. There is no extraordinary flair to his batting but an understated calmness about it.
He is ready to sweat it out to the very end and is barely the one hustled by the rush of adrenaline. Probably this is all the result of hardships he had to endure to play cricket at the highest level.
Moving from his motherland – South Africa to New Zeland in search of greener pastures,He is someone who has seen his fair share of what-ifs before donning the national colors.
I won’t say that he is a great player, might not be an average player in most Pundits’ books but to hell with that. Sometimes, it is just not in your control. One gesture, one knock, one spell, one brilliant decision and you are impressed forever.
“It happened in my career a lot. There was a lot of juggling around. I was called back in 2013, I guess. I hadn't played in 18 months or two years, and then called back to play against South Africa, and we won that series. I batted at four. Ross was not there. Suddenly I played against England and batted at five. I almost made that No. 5 position my own. Then Brendon gave up the gloves and took up the No. 5 position. There was no place for me in the team with Ronchi coming in, so I guess in a way I was then next batter in."
Elliott is Cricket’s common man
Working day in and day out to earn his bread and butter. Batting and Bowling - whatever sets his boat sailing. So much so, that here is a joke from Neesham when he broke his jandals and had to walk barefoot.
There is no time for leisure and lay off as the time is not on his side. There is hardly any fairy tale about him. He knew and valued every moment of his playing career, perfectly summed up by the following words
For me, the worst-case scenario is: I don't play cricket, I go get a job and probably see my family a little more. It is not the be-all and end-all. You have to play like you don't care, but you have to care a lot.
A thorough gentleman.That classy beard is not the only mature thing about him. He loves his cricket but values other things in life too.
"Cricket doesn't really define me as a person. I don't want to be defined as a cricketer. Just being a good, honest human being. Treating people the way people want to be treated. You are not going to be a cricketer your whole life"
NZ had a good run at 2016 WT20, they have been nothing short of perfect at reaching the pitches in the sub-continent. As they went undefeated to face the English in the semis, the law of averages punched the Kiwis in the gut as Roy decided to take the bowling attack to the cleaners.
It was not surprising or unexpected when the news came that Grant Elliott has decided to call it a day for his ODI career. Age is fast catching up with the 37-year-old and playing ODIs and T20s was asking a bit too much of his body.
"I have played my last one day game,But there are three formats. I won't be considered for test cricket, I haven't seen my test clothing for a few years. There's still T20 cricket and my body feels good.I'm going to reassess and let the dust settle. As long as I'm enjoying my cricket, I haven't made a call on anything yet. So I'll just get home and assess it."
I have enjoyed whatever little I have seen of Grant Elliott, he was part of that phase of NZ ODI Cricket when they went from one height to another. They have in a manner of speaking defined how to play fair and brave cricket.
They have breathed new interest in the game for the audiences. The capacity crowds at home for 2015 is a testimony to that fact.
A part of me prays that Elliott decides to play T20 Cricket. But then, it is not really my decision to take and I will appreciate whenever he decides to bid his final adieu to the game.
Grant Elliott, you have shown to me the importance of perseverance, of calm and composure and most importantly of true sportsmanship. You have shown me that being special is not the only thing that matters.
Talent is a great thing to have but to have the right attitude is even more important. Wishing you luck for your future endeavors.
Numbers hardly matter when there is such an emotion attached to a specific player but let me put them down for the fanatics:
Grant Elliott scored 1,976 runs at 34.06 with two centuries. Elliott was also a handy slow-medium bowler, who finished with 39 wickets at 30.23 in his 83 one-day internationals.