What Cricket Means

The events of the past couple of weeks have made me ponder what is it that makes Cricket the true Australian Game?

I have been a passionate cricket lover since I saw my first Test Match in 1975 at the MCG. Australia v West Indies, no helmets, no wiz bang TV coverage. It was pure fast bowling v pure batting. I still have vivid memories of Michael Holding running in like the 400 metre runner he was from nearly the sightscreen. Gary Cosier scored a century. Ian Redpath was ducking and weaving in his usual manner.

I thought I would be indulgent and list my most memorable cricket moments:

  1. Centenary Test 1977 – I was there at day 4 when Rod Marsh made his hundred and Rick McCosker came in all bandaged up and Peter Lever bowled him a couple of bouncers, the hook shot he did had a full MCG on their feet applauding.
  2. Ashes Test MCG 1982 – I was there on that fateful last day when Border and Thompson tried in vain to win. I remember my Father waking my brother and I up with a rousing “let’s go Boys, I think this will be special,” My father is 70 and not in good health but we still talk about that day. When we arrived there were barely 500 people in the MCG but by the time it was over there seemed to be thousands. I remember every time Thommo hit the ball, the crowd applauded. AB was his usual self prodding the ball here and there. Great Day, not a good result, but gripping.
  3. The above mentioned 1975 Test.
  4. One Day Game World Series Cricket at Waverley when Wayne Daniel hit a six of Mick Malone in 1978. I remember Ian Chappell walking up to Malone and talking to him before he came into bowl. I was sitting in the members at Waverley and seeing the West Indies team celebrate in their Glass Box, I knew that World Series Cricket was serious.
  5. Australia v New Zealand 1980-81 test when Jim Higgs was given not out off Lance Cairns for intimidatory bowling. Doug Walters went on to make a 100.

Cricket means so much to so many people, as a kid at school we used to play cricket every break, before school and after school. I remember at Ruskin Park Primary in Sth Croydon I batted for an entire week. The only downside was being called Chris Tavere, not AB. I’d spend every summer holiday playing beach cricket at Blairgowie Caravan Park, the shout of “Car” meant a mad scramble to move the wickets, and then in the afternoon you’d be down on the sand banks as the tide receded playing with a tennis ball with one side wrapped in plumbers tape to make it swing.

When it rained it was “Test Match Cricket” board game in the annex, positioning those players on the field was done with precision. I remember my best mate Greg could make the ball really swing, my brother Stuart used to perfect the slower ball. Every day in the summer was cricket. Who doesn’t remember batting with only the front pad on as we didn’t have enough?

Sadly today you don’t see the same, cricket is confined to the older brigade, you never see cricket matches played at lunchtime at school. The parks are now the domain of the personal trainers with a group session. Kids can’t walk down to the park with wickets, a shiny new red ball and a bag of pads.

My one hope is that if the tragedy of the last couple of weeks can do any good, it is that kids start to discover how good Cricket is, not just a vehicle to sell KFC and give “The Footy Show” commentators a summer job.


  1. My brother and I played cricket almost every day during summer in Melbourne. The nets at Oak Park Primary were 100 metres away. We were kids.
    Nowadays parents wouldn’t let their kids play unsupervised at the school.
    We played in a driveway or the lounge with a table tennis bat and a soft ball.
    We were mad for cricket.
    Our parents didn’t push us to play but they encouraged us in junior cricket.
    It is hot in Queensland, no doubt, but few kids use the nets anymore.
    Such a shame. They’re missing out.

  2. After last summer playing cricket, my boys asked to not play due in the main to all but a few of their team mates being wankers. This week, after a session of road cricket with same call of “Car”, they asked if they could play (with a different team). I’m not sure where it came from but I’m happy to get them back into it.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff qldpies and personally a carbon copy , Victor Harbor caravan park in summer holidays dawn to dusk , test match board game when it was raining ,
    the Goldings tennis court etc bloody computer games etc weren’t around while growing up they have a lot to answer for ! Kids now days if there not batting or bowling don’t seem to want to play like we did waiting your turn and fielding enthusiastically was a huge part of learning and growing up
    The 74 75 series , Lille and Thommo destroying the Pomms and I must admit I was working in a garden nursery and when , Thommo was dismissed with us losing by 3 runs , I hurled a pot plant in frustration vivid memories indeed

  4. The greatest thing about growing up in QLD was having summer holidays in Northern NSW. Day light savings beach and park cricket was all a 10 year old wanted in life. The only sound that was bad wasn’t the umpire giving you out, was mum yelling out “bed time boys’.

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