For some reason I've been feeling a bit nostalgic of late and found myself
thinking about the World Series Cricket years (probably showing my age a bit too).
Our household were staunchly Establishment. We believed cricket belonged on ABC TV
and steadfastly watched the 1977-78 series between Australia and India while
the "Other" cricket was on Channel 9. We cheered as Bobby Simpson
came out of retirement to lead the young, untried Aussie team against
Bishen Bedi's Indians. There was Peter Toohey, Wayne Clark, Alan Hurst,
Rick Darling, Ian Ogilvie and Steve Rixon. They were my heroes.
Occasionally, much to my father and elder brother's disgust I would take in
some of the WSC games. I had a 'How to play cricket' book that one of the Chappels
had written so felt I owed them something. I must admit to feeling a little dirty
watching WSC - but I was fascinated. DK Lillee, Lenny 'No Ball' Pascoe, David Hookes,
Tony Greig getting belted in his space helmet and of course the incomparable
West Indians. White balls, the West Indies in pink...
I remember using a brand new tennis ball in the backyard and pretending
I was playing under lights for the WSC Australians. The next day I was
Peter Toohey scoring a century against India (can't remember if he ever did).
My Dad took me to my first test match the next season - Australia v England. England had
hammered us from day 1 of the series but I loved it - I think it may have been
Allan Border's first test - interesting that I saw him make his 10000th run
many years later at the same venue.
Weirdly, I was a bit disappointed when everything came back together
in 79-80. They were my formative cricket years. And I loved every minute of it.