Not since the last World Cup in South Africa in early 2003
has the International Cricket Council had such an exciting platform to showcase
the world’s best players to a global TV audience.

And while the ICC has been doing everything in its power to help
pre-sell tickets and publicise the first of three one-day games at
Melbourne’s Telstra Dome today – images of empty stands, while regrettable if it comes to
pass, will do nothing to devalue the real purpose of this Super Series.

That is to give cricket fans globally a chance to see the
current world champion one-day team take on the best of the rest of the
world – and anyone who thinks either side is not going to be trying to belt the cover off the ball or seeking to rattle the
opposition stumps, doesn’t understand what’s really at stake here.

With the cricket world watching,
any individual who can produce a match-winning performance is not only
going to help his team collect a sizeable winner’s cheque,
but add greatly to their own endorsement value. The Aussies also have fat contracts from Cricket Australia at
stake, so aside from personal pride to prove yourself against such a
star-studded opposition, it’s no exaggeration to say careers
could be on the line here.

With 130 countries and an aggregate Super Series audience of
a billion accessing TV coverage, along with countless others via radio or
internet, the ICC has already backed a winner with the series. However, Victorian Major Events will be just
as ecstatic as the ICC at the prospect of Melbourne being the centre of the
cricket universe between now and Sunday, as it gets name-checked and exposed
via regular bulletin updates on the world’s major global TV news and sports
networks.

Read the full report here of how the Super Series, which will
culminate in a six-day Test in Sydney next week,
offers the ICC and the game at large a perfectly timed international marketing
platform – coming as it does hard on the heels of the Ashes driven revival
for many fans.

But Angus Fraser, writing in today’s Independent, is less convinced of just how compelling the cricket might
be in this report when he writes:

The ICC, in its wisdom, has
awarded this month’s matches Test and one-day status. England against Australia
this summer was Test cricket. These Super Series matches are of great interest,
but they are only a show.

Peter Fray

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