Cities Bicker as One-Day Withers
There was a report in The Age on Saturday about a looming Sydney-Melbourne stoush over who should get to host the final of the 2015 one-day Cricket World Cup. The article indicated that the NSW cricket establishment reckon it’s “their turn” to host (after Melbourne hosted the 1992 final), and the SCG will have been upgraded to hold about 48,000 by then. Making the sweeping assumption that anyone will still care about one-day cricket by then, this apparently sets the scene for another chapter in the 2 cities’ rivalry.
As a Melbourne resident of WA origin and loyalty, I reckon I can give a somewhat neutral take on this, and here it is: just who do these NSW Cricket Association and SCG Trust blokes think they are? On what basis do they have a claim? 48,000 hey? Wow – almost half the capacity of the MCG…
By the time that 2015 comes around, their newly-redeveloped SCG will be the 5th biggest stadium used for international cricket in Australia, trailing not only the MCG, Homebush & Docklands, but also the Adelaide Oval – ie. they’re not the only ones upgrading their ground.
And remembering that Australia is co-hosting with NZ, that also places them as the 6th-biggest ground all up amongst the hosting nations. If you assume that we’ll just use one venue in each city and that traditional cricket grounds will get the nod over Homebush and Docklands, then the SCG still misses a podium finish behind the MCG, Eden Park and Adelaide Oval.
Clearly the Sydney establishment have got a “born to rule” mentality – a sense of entitlement, that they’re somehow special and that the world should revolve around them. The Melbourne Cricket Club has often displayed the same attitude, but with one key difference: they have a large, magnificent stadium to add credibility behind their pompus attitude. Sydney doesn’t even have that.
There are some legitimate arguments for different venues to host the final, as follows:
- Melbourne: by far the biggest venue, best able to do justice to the event, and (consequently) the biggest commercial return
- Auckland: if we’re going to ‘share it around’ and ‘take turns’, then it’s NZ’s turn to get the final of a tournament that our nations are co-hosting
Each of those arguments have a point, and I could live with either of those outcomes.
Then there’s the second-tier of claims:
- Christchurch: The Age alluded to a view that we should help out the earthquake-ravaged city (who missed out on the Rugby World Cup) by giving them the final; an admirable sentiment in some ways, though undermined by the reality that they’re going to have to demolish a fair chunk of the city’s AMI Stadium due to post-quake structural weaknesses
- Adelaide: if we’re going to be hypocrites by pushing the moralistic ‘share it round’ attitude whilst simultaneously stuffing the Kiwis (which is essentially the essence of the Sydneysiders’ argument), then we should at least give the game to our next-biggest venue
And then, after all of that, is Sydney.
That said, NSW will probably get their way, that being the way Australian cricket generally seems to work.
Sadly, by 2015, this will likely be a dying tournament, reaching its culmination in a lesser venue. For its history of great moments on the big stage (Australian prevailing over England at a packed Eden Gardens, Kapil Dev’s destruction of the West Indies at Lords, Ponting and Martyn’s innings of devastation against India at the Wanderers), it’ll be a pity on a couple of levels.