Cricket on Christmas Day

Cricket on Christmas Day


In recent times professional team sport in Australia has moved away from largely being a Saturday afternoon affair to being played at a range of times, day and night, on any day of the week.

Two days have been largely sacrosanct – Good Friday and Christmas Day.

However, apart from the AFL, this reluctance to use Good Friday is gradually disappearing.

Not so Christmas Day – yet it was not so long ago, 1954 to be precise, that a Sheffield Shield game between NSW and Victoria featured a day’s play on December 25th.

Today Cricket Australia seem to have a policy in place in which a Test match will always begin on Boxing Day, in Melbourne and feature Australia playing another top cricketing nation, most recently England.

The policy suggests Christmas Day is not to be used for any reason.

But the move to include an increasing number of Twenty20 games into an already crowded cricket calendar may change this.

I’m not just suggesting slotting a BBL game in then, rather a full blown international.

Consider this – in most recent seasons Australia has invited at least two international cricket teams to tour the country over the summer months.

In 2012/2013 we saw both Sri Lanka and South Africa play Tests here.

Invariably, these Tests are preceded or followed by a series of Twenty20 or one day internationals between the same countries. Fitting all these games in is difficult, especially as rest days need to be set aside between matches.

But why not have two countries touring at the same time, one playing a series of Tests, the other a series of Twenty20 games. The situation could be reversed after a 3 Test series.

Thus country A could still play Australia in the traditional Boxing Day Test while country B could play a series of Twenty20 matches, with these games occurring on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, two days that normally don’t feature Test cricket.

Now the immediate cry would be how could Australian players play both. Obviously they couldn’t, but a quick look at the recent Australian team which played England shows only George Bailey featured in both these formats against England.

Indeed the trend in recent years has been for a declining number of players to do so – it’s a natural progression to completely separate our Test team from our Twenty20 side.

If this plan was introduced, perhaps a triangular tournament of one day internationals between the 3 countries could occur at the end, with the Australian team consisting of a mix of the best Test and 20/20 players.

As international cricket dates are set well in advance it would be difficult to implement these suggested changes quickly.

With 2015 set down for the World Cup cricket one day series in Australia and New Zealand, it might be worth looking further ahead to the following season when New Zealand and the West Indies are set to tour. As neither of these two nations are currently ranked highly, this could be the time to look at these suggested plans.

And how would Tasmania benefit.

As premier for a day, I would be immediately contacting Cricket Tasmania to take the suggested scheme to the Australian Cricket Board.

With Tasmania to host the first international 20/20 match on Christmas Day, a great way to boost Tasmania’s profile. And bring in a few more of the all important tourist dollars.




  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Geoff, find it fascinating that cricket was played on Christmas Day in 1954 (and before that) but not since. I like your idea. I don’t like how our national team fields pretty much completely different teams for T20 and Tests but that’s the way it is. Not sure if the crowds at the game would be great but think the TV ratings would be huge as everyone digests their turkey. Cricket Australia better get in quick, no doubt the AFL is eyeing off Xmas day…

  2. Seriously, I’ve read some rubbish in my time, but cricket on Christmas day – utterly stupid!

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Personally I think if it is at all that the big bash is the go

  4. Lawrie and Rulebook – As Croweaters I reckon that Queensland v SA Sheffield Shield Matches were always played at Adelaide Oval starting on Christmas Day. I can remember my father and grandfather going.
    The last one I can find a record of on Cricinfo is 1969. Les Favell and Greg Chappell both got 100’s and SA won by 10 wickets. Splinterdick got 58, and the Donnie (?) Sutherland our left handed middle order batsman (who stood for the Communist Party at elections – unsuccessful surprisingly) made 64. TJ got 5 wickets in Queensland’s 2 innings. Lance Gibbs the West Indian offie was SA’s guest player.
    Ian Chappell and Ashley Mallett also played on that Christmas Day – but in the 5th Test against India in Madras (now Chennai).
    There were also 2 Test Matches played at Adelaide Oval on Christmas Day. The last one was the First Test in 1967. I know I went to one day of that match, because I can remember watching Abid Ali, the offie Prasanna and Chandrasekhar (the leggie with the withered left arm) bowl. Australia won with Bobbie Simpson as Captain.
    I don’t remember which day I went, but I remember being fascinated by the exotic Indian names and bowling actions. Rusi Surti (an allrounder) opened the bowling, and if my memory is correct also bowled left arm orthodox spin. The Indian ‘quicks’ were only there to take the shine off the ball for their spinners.
    Lawrie/Rulebook – please tell me that my memory and record checking is good, and that there was first class cricket on Xmas Day in Adelaide up to the late 60’s.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sa and Qld played in , Adelaide over X mas my dad reckons these used to start Xmas eve rest day Xmas day I need to chase up further which I will do today and I certainly agree with , Luke it would be a ratings bonanza in the evening

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    We’ll played , PB 67 68 test match v India was played in , Adelaide on Xmad day now need to chase up shield info

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    PB 1969 last time shield cricket was played on Xmas day yes it was , Sa v Qld
    The famous last wicket partnership of 307 between , Al Kippax who made 260 and
    Hal Hooker between Nsw and Vic occurred in 1928 with most of the runs scored on
    Xmas day

  8. Australia won by 146 runs
    Test no. 624 | 1967/68 season
    Played at adealide oval

    23,25,26,27,28 December 1967 (5-day match

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