It’s just not cricket

Sunshine Coast Daily - - YOUR SAY -

WHAT’S hap­pened to cricket?

For many years now, early No­vem­ber has marked the be­gin­ning of a cricket sea­son.

It of­fered the prom­ise of lazy days in front of the game, the fun of watch­ing new play­ers com­ing through the ranks and end­less con­ver­sa­tions with friends, fam­ily and shop­keep­ers.

Cricket and sum­mer go hand in hand. Not any­more.

For the first sum­mer in 40 years, I can’t sit down to watch the one day in­ter­na­tion­als on free-to-air tele­vi­sion.

This may not seem like a big deal to non-cricket watch­ers, but it mat­ters.

It mat­ters be­cause cricket is part of our na­tional lan­guage.

It’s a ve­hi­cle that al­lows par­ents to con­nect with kids and sup­port them in their play and in learn­ing good sports­man­ship. It’s fun. About 7.7 mil­lion Aus­tralians have Fox­tel in their homes, but 17.3 mil­lion of us don’t. This leaves us in the dark when it

comes to the one day in­ter­na­tion­als and the tea room chats they in­spire.

I pre­dict that cricket will drop out of the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion. We’ll re­sort to talk­ing about the weather, pol­i­tics and what’s new on Net­flix.

Cricket Aus­tralia has done us wrong in sell­ing the screen­ing rights to a paid TV ser­vice. Sure, we’ll get some of the men’s Big Bash on free to air, but not the whole sea­son. We’ll lose con­ti­nu­ity. It used to be fun to watch a new player de­velop.

They had good games and bad games. Fam­i­lies would have din­ner in front of the game. It was easy fam­ily friendly en­ter­tain­ment that you could count on each night.

Both Fox­tel and Chan­nel 7 will

show 23 of the women’s Big Bash games. The pop­u­lar men’s T20 In­ter­na­tion­als have been sucked up by Fox­tel. We still have the Test matches on free to air.

But, if you think we haven’t lost too much yet, be­ware. In a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald Fox­tel said they wanted to get more of the cricket in the fu­ture.

I call this cul­tural theft. Cricket did not be­long to Cricket Aus­tralia. It was not theirs to sell. It be­longed to the kid who first put a wa­ter­melon on his hot lit­tle head while sit­ting in a boil­ing sta­dium.

It be­longed to the mad Pom­mies who travel to our shores and sup­port their team with their Mex­i­can waves and beer-in­spired sing­ing. Cricket was ours.

We the peo­ple made it work. But Cricket Aus­tralia has treated it like a prod­uct and put it up for sale. In do­ing so, they have sold us out. And now they want to win us back? Good luck with that. MARY BAR­BER Aroona

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