Story in the Sydney Morning Herald – John Buchanan calls for MCG Boxing Day and SCG New Year’s Tests to be dumped

A little more background to the story if you have read it, and to start with the iconic Test matches.

I have suggested that if CA deem the need for a 5 Test series, eg Ashes, then back come Boxing Day & NY Tests – less is more, ie they will become more valued.

If CA choose this, then the whole BBL and one day program moves back a week (under the scheduling I outlined), meaning that the season will finish 1st week of March; and it does mean an overlap of Test cricket & BBL.

BBL is the future whether we ‘purists’ like it or not.

CA has already put a line in the sand, and fans have also demonstrated, that the time for BBL is school holidays.

The current scheduling provides confusion of longform and short form cricket all mixed together.

It also means that Australia’s best players are removed from BBL due to home international commitments.

The major tenants of what I wrote are about –

  • Significantly increase % expenditure on the game to grassroots
  • Strengthen Club cricket and domestic cricket

Scheduling is one means to enable your best players to play more Domestic cricket.

So back to all of us lazing around on Boxing Day watching the Test.

In my proposal Long form cricket finished mid-December – you still have had the opportunity to see your day1 at the Gabba, or days 1-5 at other venues around the country for the 3 Test matches on offer each year.

From mid-December on, I want you to start following YOUR CLUB, your heroes – firstly through BBL, then the CLUB delivers the one day format of the game so that the CLUB can grow its brand, its supporter base, its revenue base.

And you get to do this with your family through to the end of February!

The iconic days of Boxing Day and New Year will see double headers and possibly triple headers on the same ground, or move between venues as is currently done with NRL, AFL and ARU.

The iconic days will feature the home town derbys, in Melbourne, Renegades v Stars; in Brisbane, HEAT v GOLD COAST…….and yes, it will mean that expansion is necessary.

At the same stage the State Associations which run all local & regional Club competitions plus the Sheffield Shield are now receiving significantly increased $$ for direct impact on grassroots cricket.

This is because CA & ACA have agreed that the first priority in the funding model is to increase expenditure on grassroots from the current 6% of total spend on the game to 30% over the next 4 or 5 years of the new MOU! The $$ will be found by reducing the current spend on CA bureaucracy from current 55% down to 40%, and reducing the current spend on Elite programs, players & support from current 39% to 30%.

The game appears healthy.

So now is the time to use a de Bono provocation (scrap Boxing Day & NY Tests) to get the decision makers to stop, look at the game and its future from a different perspective – then act!!

I was a part of 9 Boxing Day & NY  Tests, as well as watching many since they began in the early 80’s.

Couldn’t agree more that they are special occasions.

But the world around cricket is moving rapidly.

Consumers habits are changing.

New technologies are changing and inventing new mediums, eg e-sports

Broadcasters around the world, while craving live sport content, are grappling as businesses to pay what sport needs to fund its operations – which as I have suggested are pouring over 90% of their spend into everything, but grassroots.

With little spend on grassroots, costs are going up for parents, facilities are becoming inadequate and unsafe, schools have retreated from proving basic physical education skills for all primary school children.

Health issues are on the increase such as obesity, mental health.

Social issues increasing around violence, race.

Sport is one medium to help address our changing society in a positive way.

It is too late to wait till young children and their parents become involved in a ‘pathway’ program to chase their sporting dreams – and remember this is only for a small % of children who participate. And then of this small %, then only a smaller number finally make it to the top. And then how many can remain there and set themselves up for life???

Thanks for listening.