The new 24 hour dedicated Cricket channel began on Foxtel in Australia just over two weeks ago. For those of you unaware, Foxtel is Australia’s national pay TV service with Fox Sports channels covering many exclusive sporting events not available for viewing on free to air TV. The launch of Fox Cricket on the 17th of last month was a revolutionary and transformative moment for Australian Cricket. For me, being a lover of all sports, I couldn’t possibly live without Foxtel and thus have had access to a subscription for over a decade. The true reason why my family got Foxtel in the first place is thanks to Cricket. I desperately wanted to watch every game of the 2007 World Cup, eventually convincing Dad to have it installed as a gift for my 10th Birthday which fell just a week before it began.
Many Australians love nothing more than inviting a few mates around, kicking back and relaxing with a stubby in hand whilst watching a day of Test Cricket. The introduction of a 24 hour Cricket channel will be a blessing for many Australian men whilst their wives or girlfriends have and will continue to cry out a collective groan. I do honestly feel for my partner who’s had to put up with a winter of constant AFL Football before leading straight into this new Cricket channel.
The biggest question for me prior to the launch of Fox Cricket was what content would cover the times where live Cricket wasn’t being broadcast? The good news we’ve received is that the channel is lit with past matches that enthralled our cricketing-crazed nation. Whether you be 21 years of age like me or of an older generation, we are able to relive and remember our cricketing heroes. Lillee, Chappell, Border, Waugh, Warne and Ponting, all players who were crucial in producing and maintaining our love for the game.
As I watch these classic matches, I relive and evaluate how I felt at the time. Take ‘Amazing Adelaide’ for example where Australia rolled the Poms and chased down the required target all on day 5. I vividly remember having school that day as a year six student. As I made my way to the carpark and into Dad’s car after school, I can still remember him looking at me with a cheeky grin without saying hi or anything. First thing I asked was what the cricket score was? He didn’t reply but instead decided to turn the radio up a little louder. I then of course hear that Warney was spinning his magic, the Poms are in deep shit, and that we could pull off one of the great Ashes victories.
I look back in hindsight and think that winning that match wasn’t really that surprising. It was simply a stable, confident, successful, and great Australian Cricket Team filled with brilliant players from top to bottom! Unfortunately, the great access to these games brought to me by Fox Cricket also persuades me to compare that team to the current day one. I would go so far as to say that watching these old games actually makes me feel more disengaged with the current team and crop of players.
What motivates me to watch the upcoming series against Pakistan? Without Warner and in particular Smith, who in the team are exciting and great players who maintain our love for the game? Our best players are the Goat Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc, the latter who’ll have to grind away in humid conditions on a bloody dirty flat track. No offence to Nathan or any other off-spinner but they don’t quite enthral me as much as a batsman at the top of his game belting around an attack, or that of a fast bowler like Mitch Johnson steaming in on a quick deck with the batsman shaking in their boots. Add all this to the fact we’ll likely lose two nil and it doesn’t make for a great or at least entertaining series from an Australian standpoint.
I’ve spoken to many who really feel disenchanted with Australian Cricket at the moment, particularly after the ball tampering saga. Many aren’t even interested in the summer of Cricket to come and will likely focus all their attention on the big bash. Perhaps for many the advent of Fox Cricket may actually reinvigorate their passion for the game. However I do also think that many may view it similar to I, that watching old classics actually inflicts a greater emotion of how much we miss the great days of Australian Cricket. It’s strange isn’t it? We bloody won the Ashes 4-0 just 10 months ago. I sit here now watching young blokes I’ve never heard of play in the JLT Cup, listening to the likes of Gilly, AB and Andrew Symonds commentate just wishing they could morph back to their playing days and join the action on the field once again.