Campbell's diary: Time to reflect

Alistair Campbell Photo © CricInfo Ltd

Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell
Photo © CricInfo Ltd.
Now that the dust has settled somewhat after three months on the road, it is probably time for a little reflection on lessons learned: things that did happen and things that could have been.
My writer's curse seems to have stuck with me, as after having bowled and fielded so well against the West Indies we then batted like novices and duly lost the game and with it the chance of qualifying for the finals. Words cannot describe the feeling in the changing-room after the game. We knew that we had let slip a golden opportunity; an opportunity that might not present itself to some of us again.
However we had the hard task of motivating ourselves for the final game against Australia. We had a team meeting and decided that there was much personal pride to play for here as well as the opportunity to leave Aussie on a high note. What transpired was a great game of cricket. After Aussie scored 302 nobody gave us a price of getting anywhere near, but in the form of Carlisle and Grant Flower who both played out of their skins and a very innovative Doug Marillier we ended up one run shy - but could leave Australia with our heads held high and supporters gained!
It still bemuses me how we played well against Australia in our four matches but just could not get it together against the West Indies. My one and only theory is that we knew we would have to play above ourselves just to compete against the Aussies and therefore everybody raised their games, but we did not feel that way against the West Indies and thus put in some very mediocre performances.
General public sentiment wanted an Aussie-Zimbabwe final as they had seen enough of the West Indies for the Summer, and it was a great pity that we weren't able to give them that.
We had one more task to perform before leaving and that was to attend a 'Save the Rhino' dinner in Perth. It went off very well and it was alarming, as well as nice, to see so many Zimbabweans. Perth has some 30,000 Southern Africans living there - according to my source! Good money was raised from the auction and hopefully it will be put to good use.
Apart from losing the penultimate game against the West Indies, I was also called in front of the Match referee to answer charges of breaching the Code of Conduct by criticising the umpires. I was guilty and was found so and was fined 25% of my match fee. I find it strange that anything can be said about players but nothing can be said about officials even if there are glaring errors that have been made and that could have turned games.
However, we are back home at the moment, playing our first-class matches and awaiting the arrival of Bangladesh in early April.