It’s been announced that this year’s
Ashes series between England and Australia could have been sold out
four times over with 250,000 unsuccessful ticket applications.

The
Lords Test from 21 July, provided 29,000 seats for public sale and
received 100,000 applications, although if you want to sign up for an
Aussie supporter’s tour to England, a quick search on the internet
shows there are still plenty of tour “packages” on sale. Or for
well-heeled UK based Aussies, you can still purchase tickets at
essentially scalped prices from UK ticketing agencies.

The Ashes
tour will be both personally and professionally the perfect stage for
our aging superstars to remind us yet again not only of the volcanic
and ultra competitive personalities sprinkled liberally in this team,
but their greatness in the history of the game.

Recently I
interviewed departing Australian Cricketers’ Association boss Tim May
for the world’s leading sports business publication SportBusiness
International in a wide ranging discussion on the state of cricket
today. Given the more parochial nature of some of the material for a
global readership it was not possible to include some incisive thoughts
of May regarding the Australian cricket team and its place in history,
so Crikey provides May’s insights into the upcoming battle and this
mighty Australian team’s place in cricket history.

He also
discusses with candor how most Australian players are not enamoured
with the stated policy of player rotation, where he mounts a powerful
argument for protecting the longer term security not only of players
ready and willing to be selected, but he also takes issue with the
public being deprived of seeing “resting” stars.

“Consider for the Australian market resting say Adam
Gilchrist or a Glenn McGrath where sometimes you might only play once a
year in a city, and that’s fraught with danger. You’re mucking around
with your stakeholders where a guy in the country has bought his family
tickets on the back of seeing some advertisement on TV featuring
Gilchrist playing, he comes to a particular game from many miles away
with he and his kid expecting to see him in action, and he’s rested?”

May is moving to the US in the next couple of months where he will head
up out of Austin, Texas, a new head office as CEO of the Federation of
International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), which are seven formally
affiliated current Test country player unions which will shortly become
eight with the entry of Bangladesh. Only India and Pakistan are holding
out on the industrial front through no fault of the players, although
May thinks India will come to the party in the next 12 to 18 months.

Tomorrow we will publish a second instalment where May looks at other key local issues.

You can read his thoughts on Aussie cricket here.

Peter Fray

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