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Cricket ‘over-kill’ is a shame

February 6, 2013

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By GRAHAM WILSON (The Four Kinsmen)

I HAVE been a cricket fan all my life. My father played into his 40s and an older brother was a very good opening bowler and batsman, who grew up playing with the former Australian wicketkeeper, Brian Taber.

My father actually saw Don Bradman play at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) many times.

I’ll admit I was nothing special myself, but I loved going to the Tests and Sheffield Shield Matches at the SCG. When in my car, if the cricket was on, my radio was always tuned to the ABC cricket commentary, or at home to the TV broadcast.

My favourite all time cricketer was the West Indian player, Garfield Sobers. Sobers used to open the bowling with Wes Hall, then later on came on and bowled left arm wrist spinners. He was an unbelievable fieldsman but he was in the team as a batsman. A fantastic one. He was just so good at every facet of the game.

Disillusionment

All this preamble is to show how I’ve changed my sense of appreciation to one of disillusionment, mainly because of the overkill of cricket today. Its virtually non-stop.

What’s sad is our state cricket competition, Sheffield Shield, which has always been a grooming ground. It’s been pushed into the suburbs. NSW just played Western Australia at Blacktown. The Sheffield competition is where all the new talents coming through are playing. Not only that, the batsmen coming through don’t get to play against the best bowlers anymore unless and until they are lucky or fortunate enough to make it to a representative game, like Australia A.

I will concede that the 20/20 competition has given the sport a new audience of enthusiastic followers who previously thought the game was boring. This is most likely because of the aggressive approach one has to take from the first ball. Its a game for shot makers.

The improvisation of the batsmen in the 20 over form of the game has been quite enlightening. Shots you wouldn’t think possible are being played. What it all boils down to is entertainment which is what sports fans want today. On the other hand, its virtually over in 3 hours, whereas the 50 over games take 7 hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if 50 over cricket doesn’t survive. If that happens, the World Cup of cricket is finished.

Test cricket is the ultimate challenge on how to survive when batting when there’s no pressure of time and of the tactics used to bowl a team out twice to win the match. A 5-day test is the ultimate test of endurance.

Tennis is first class

I WENT to the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne. It really is a first class event. The Rod Laver Arena is terrific but its an experience when walking around the outside courts, the food outlets, the entertainment stages and exhibition rooms.’

It’s no wonder it is so well attended when the highlights are the best tennis players in the world. It could do without the constant groaning of Sharapova and Azaranka though!

Time out.

Graham Wilson

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