I am doing up a feature article about the 10 most significant moments in cricket. But I have hit a snag I have only come up with seven, and I need your help to help find me the other three.
So here it is:
World Series Cricket: Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket held in Australia in 1977-78 to 1978-79, changed modern day cricket. While his cheque book was able to buy some of cricket’s biggest stars, Packer made sure the cricket remained competitive by offering cash incentives based on performance. He was able to get the matches shown on his Channel Nine network. Packer brought with him not just day-night cricket, but coloured uniforms, the white ball, the fifteen over fielding restrictions, helmets, and the 30 yard circle in limited overs internationals (LOI).
The boom began with bigger crowds, better coverage on TV, and better wages for the players, more and more LOIs being played around the world. While he robbed the game of some of its best players, people like Allan Border got his opportunity as a result of it, and to be honest it extended the career of Dennis Lilliee. Lilliee was facing mounting physio bills for his knee and back, and Packer came along and offered the players financial security for their families. If it were not for Packer, Lilliee more then likely would have retired much earlier when he did, and thus would not have taken more then 350 Test wickets.
The introduction of one day cricket: Face it, if it were not for it, who knows how popular cricket would be today, if that at all (not popular). Partly due to some of the negative batsmen around in the late 50’s and 60’s, and countries more intent to play for draws then for victory, cricket was going for a slump in popularity, particularly in England at the time. Add that with Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 World Cup victory by England by beating West Germany at Wembley, it is not hard to see why young children and teenagers would be more interested in following the steps of the England football team (soccer) and be footballers, then cricketers.
So instead of letting Test cricket, and in particular cricket, popularity going on the wane, the Test and County Cricket Board started to introduce one day cricket to the public in an effort to get cricket back on the map. It worked, 60 over competitions with the red ball and white kits, such as the C&G Trophy (it celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2003) in a knockout format akin to the FA Cup. Over the years national bodies have embraced one day cricket into their domestic season.
The introduction of helmets: Another piece of cricketing innovation and safety came into fore during Packer’s WSC. The introduction of the helmet has made batting and cricket a lot safer when batting against the quick bowlers. Previously batting involved with a cap on your head or nothing at all, neither provided any safety to the batsman should he/she get hit on the head. It first started off looking like a glorified motor bike helmet (well it looked like one), but over the years modern technology has taken place and reshaped it into more practical use.
The helmet has not been a vital part of cricketing equipment and safety; it has become very important for close in fielders to the spinners and quick bowlers. So much so in England, minors (under 18) who play cricket have to wear a helmet, unless they have a written letter excusing them from wearing one from their parent or guardian. This came about as a result of Alan Jones being hit while playing for Glamorgan.
Bodyline: One of cricket’s most infamous Test series in an effort to the curb the run scoring prowess of the late Sir Donald Bradman. Bodyline was the brainchild of Douglas Jardine for the successful 1932-33 Ashes campaign. Jardine’s main hit man was a coal miner turned fast bowler from Nottinghamshire - Harold Larwood.
Bodyline consisted of placing several fielders around the bat on the leg side, and bowling bouncers at that field until you either hit the batsman or got him out. It worked. England won the 1932-33 Ashes, but it was deemed to be against the spirit of cricket. Australian captain Bill Woodfull and ‘keeper Bert Oldfield were both hit, when Woodfull was hit under the heart at Adelaide, a near riot nearly broke out. One of the most famous comments to come from that series was by Woodfull: “One team is out there trying play cricket, and the other is not”. Once the series was over, ‘leg-theory’ (Bodyline) was basically banned with changes to the rules with the placement of leg side fielders.
It was legal in ever sense of the law, but not in the spirit of cricket. As a result both Larwood and Jardine virtually disappeared from the Test scene with Larwood later immigrated to Sydney where he lived until he passed away in 1996.
South Africa’s 22 year suspension from international cricket: As most people know, Apartheid was one of the main reasons why South Africa got banned for 22 years from international cricket. When Cape Coloured Basil d’Oliveria who was denied the opportunity to play first class cricket with Western Province because of his skin colour, moved to England and established himself with Worcestershire and got picked in the MCC (England) squad to tour South Africa in 1970-71, d’Oliveria was barred from getting a visa back into his country of birth. As a result South Africa got banned from international cricket.
South Africa’s expulsion ruined the promising Test careers of Graeme Pollock, his brother Peter, Barry Richard, Mike Procter, Eddie Barlow was already an established Test cricketer at the time, and people like Clive Rice went onto play for Nottinghamshire with distinction. South Africa’s banning was one of the many contributing factors in getting rid of the racist attitudes of the South African government. This was just the tip of the iceberg.
The rebel tours of South Africa: With South Africa banned from international cricket, rebel tour groups from England, West Indies, Australia, and Sri Lanka; all made rebel tours of South Africa. These rebel tours were important in keeping cricket alive in South Africa and give the South African public a taste of international cricket, even if it were at the scorn of the rebel countries cricket boards and governments.
High profile cricketers like Trevor Hohns, Carl Rackerman, Mike Gatting, Terry Alderman, Graham Gooch, Kim Hughes, and Colin Croft all made rebel tours of South Africa. The rebel tours gave Graeme Pollock the chance to go out at the top level he could play (unofficial cricket), the unearthing of one of South Africa’s greatest ever bowlers in Allan Donald. More importantly Omar Henry, a coloured South African became the first coloured South African to play for his country.
The England players got three year bans; Australia two; Sri Lankan players 25 year ban and the West Indies players got similar length of bans. This gave the opportunity for those who were on the way out of the top level and some who were never going to play for their country (Victorian batsman Mick Taylor who never played for Australia is one example). The last rebel tour was by England in 1989.
The first Test match played: Played between Australia and England at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) in 1877 with Australia winning by 45 runs. Charles Bannerman made history by scoring 165 retired hurt – the first Test century, the first Test century on debut, the first person to do it in their countries first Test (Dave Houghton and Aminul Islam have done it since then).
This may seem a surprise choice, but I consider this a significant moment as it was the first Test match to be played and helped globalise cricket and gave it something worth playing cricket at first class level and was the breeding ground for international cricket.
Please stear clear of country or personal achievements.
Agree, disagree why?
NOTE: I apologise for any spelling, gammar or factual mistakes and omissions, the article is in the draft stage