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