Caught Behind 1/100

By Steve Ingham

An opinion piece on Australia’s favourite summer sport


While every commentator and fan in the country is ringing the alarm bells about the state of the national cricket team- and I will address that later- I want to focus on my favourite sounds of summer: ABC Grandstand Cricket, and more specifically, Kerry O’Keefe’s laugh!

There is nothing quite like listening to the wonderful colourful description of the cricket by Jim Maxwell and his team. Their coverage is simply outstanding, making you feel like you are at any cricket ground in the country while you are actually driving up and down the highway.

When I think back to happy summer memories as a kid, I can remember playing cricket on the banks of the Murray River in Echuca, trying to bowl like a fresh young leg spinner called Shane Warne, whilst listening to the cricket booming out of dad’s car, promptly flattening the battery of the chariot! Or, when camping, having the radio on in the background all day and peering through the gap in the annex of our camping neighbour to see the replay of the wicket on the TV in their caravan.

While now I’m older and understand why silly mid wicket is so silly, yet still trying to churn out a couple of leg breaks whenever I get the chance, my summer is still filled with the ABC call on my computer, my car radio or wherever else I might be during the summer. And while the ball by ball commentary is outstanding, the real highlight is the special comments. While Channel 9 may have the big budget, you can give me O’Keefe, Fleming, Roebuck, Lawson, Langer & Alderman any day over their much higher profile colleagues.

O’Keefe in particular is my favourite. His mixture of crazy sense of humour and penchant to laugh at his own material far more than anybody else, mixed in with his left field thinking and amazing knowledge of the game makes him an absolute must to listen to. Quite simply, summer starts and finishes for me when the “Cricket is on the Radio.”


I’ve always found it fascinating that while Australian Cricket always talks about the closeness and strength of the ‘team’, if they aren’t on tour they all prepare separately while playing for their state, or even club. I know that it isn’t always possible to turn out the national side against other players, and we all remember when the fans turned on Australia preferrieng to cheer for the underdog Australia A when we tried to add them as a fourth team to the triangular one day series. What would be interesting to see though, is maybe the 12 best batsman, 2 best keepers, 2 best spinners and 6 best quicks put together and then evenly split into a Australia Green vs Australia Gold 4 day warm up match, prior to the test matches. Consider this match:

Australia Green

Watson, Katich, Clarke (c), Khawaja, Ferguson, Bailey, Paine, Johnson, Hauritz, Siddle, Harris

Australia Gold

Hughes, Marsh, Ponting (c), M Hussey, North, White, Haddin, Smith, Hilfenhaus, McKay, Bollinger

This would give all players world class teammates and opponents, and a chance to shine in the right environment prior to the test series. Splitting the expected team up would give more opportunities to all players than a 1st vs 2nd XI match.

I’d be far more interested in that starting a season than a meaningless 3 game ODI series against a country who wont even be here for the rest of the summer! And, if we are to have ODI’s at the start of the summer, why not use them to build anticipation to the test series by putting us up against England. Noone cares about the ODI’s anymore because they are played after the Test matches when the main prize has already been won. No one would stick around and watch a VFL Match if it was on after the AFL Grand Final either…


  1. John Butler says

    Nice work Steve

    The thwack of leather on willow, the laugh of the kookaburra… and the cackle of Kerry. Hmm, may have to ponder that one a little.

    But I do agree that the radio guys beat the TV pundits hands down.

    It’s an interesting point whether Australia A could beat the current side. Far too close for the test team’s comfort perhaps? Therein may the problem lay.

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