A walk around the Adelaide Oval is one of the most illuminating experiences in cricket. Very different indeed to the vague disinterest displayed by sections of Test crowds in South Africa.
The most obvious pleasure is simply that it IS possible to walk around the ground and keep an eye on play for most of the way. You don’t get forced onto the main road behind the grandstand or barred from a variety of grandiose VIP and/or members areas. Of course, it helps in that regard if you own a media pass.
The other surprising aspect of the walk around the ground is the familiarity the crowd have with the Australian players. Having sat in two places on the Centurion-style grass banks and in another two spots in bucket seats in the open (cheapest)seating area, the common theme was obvious.
Discussions and comments made about players (and often to them) invariably contained some insight into their character or a reference to something they had said or written in recent days. This should not have surprised me.
Mark Waugh has a radio contract with influential station 2UE in Sydney and speaks regularly on a variety of subjects. Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist write a weekly column in national newspapers and have exclusive television contracts with Fox Sports television network. They interact with the fans.
Glenn McGrath, too, writes a nationally syndicated column and has an exclusive contract with sports and racing radio station 2KY in Sydney. Justin Langer writes an internet column and has yet another radio contract while Shane Warne is signed up by television’s Chanel Nine.
Even country boy Matthew Hayden writes a column in a fishing magazine, for goodness sake! Yes, a FISHING magazine!! I think it’s called “promoting the game”. And the great thing is, you even get paid for doing it.
No South African player is writing a column for anybody, as far as I am aware. Gary Kirsten used to write a column for the Cape Times but every time he said anything interesting he was blocked by The United Cricket Board.
The UCB routinely bans its contracted players from commentating (while allowing Board members and selectors to do as much as they like.)
South African Test crowds are very poor. There are several reasons for that, but I reckon a little more marketing of the game by our players, and marketing of our players by the administrators, wouldn’t do any harm.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.