Up to the Test

Pi­o­neer Kate says it’s time more women were call­ing the cricket

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - FIONA BYRNE fiona.byrne@news.com.au

MORE than three decades af­ter she cre­ated his­tory by be­com­ing the first wo­man to call a Test match, Kate Fitz­patrick has de­cried the con­tin­u­ing lack of fe­male voices in the cricket com­men­tary box.

“A wo­man could call it (a Test), they could eas­ily de­scribe the ball-by-ball play. That is how they could eas­ily be in­cluded and should be, I think,’’ said Fitz­patrick.

“There are only so many shots and so many de­liv­er­ies and so many po­si­tions.

“A wo­man could eas­ily pro­vide that de­scrip­tion and then all those blokes can sit there and bang on about how bril­liant they were, and how they all made hun­dreds, and how they would be play­ing things dif­fer­ently.’’

Fitz­patrick caused a sen­sa­tion in 1983 when she was hired by Nine to join the revered com­men­tary team, which at the time in­cluded Richie Be­naud, Ian Chap­pell, Tony Greig, Keith Stack­pole and Frank Tyson, cov­er­ing the Test series be­tween Aus­tralia and Pak­istan.

A pas­sion­ate fol­lower of the game, the ac­claimed ac­tor had come to the at­ten­tion Wide

World of Sports ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer David Hill with a series of fea­ture ar­ti­cles she had writ­ten on cricket.

“I re­mem­ber walk­ing into this small room at the Gabba (Bris­bane) and ex­cept for Richie Be­naud and Frank Tyson, th­ese other men were stand­ing with their backs to me,” she said. “The oth­ers were not pleased to see me at all.’’

She said while Be­naud and Tyson were gen­tle­men, the rest of the team were not so sup­port­ive.

“They never spoke to me out­side of the box, I never had so much as a cup of tea with one of them,’’ Fitz­patrick said.

“I lived in a dif­fer­ent ho­tel and trav­elled on dif- fer­ent planes. They to­tally iso­lated me.’’

Fitz­patrick’s cricket call­ing days ended af­ter the series as she moved on to an act­ing com­mit­ment.

“You know how peo­ple say, ‘She was no good, they got rid of her’? No, they didn’t. I was only ever do­ing it for a spe­cific pe­riod of time,’’ she said.

Nine made a sec­ond at­tempt to add a fe­male voice to its Test call in 2006 with the ap­point­ment of Stephanie Brantz, who ended up do­ing bound­ary in­ter­views.

Fitz­patrick is tak­ing to the stage at the Athenaeum The­atre in April for the musi

cal, Cabaret. “I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to play­ing Fraulein Schnei­der,’’ Fi t z pa­tri c k said. “It is a bit scary but hey, what is life. I am so lucky to get such a ter­rific part.’’

Ian Chap­pell and Richie Be­naud

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