It was great to read about the test result, having recently re-watched Bodyline.
Henry was shocked to read the articles (written at the end of Day 4) in The Times spitting bile at the Aussie team and our sporting culture: “When Fletcher praised his players for the way they played Shane Warne, Warne took great pleasure in ramming the words back down his throat after Australia won in Adelaide. Fletcher had committed the cardinal sin of showing himself cleverer than Australians, and is paying the price”.
That should provide the necessary incentive for the Aussies to go 5-0.
Henry was also lucky enough to see Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland speak last week on the state of the business of cricket — which indeed seems to be travelling along quite well. The crowds this summer have been well up — the Gabba test beat the previous record by 77% — while excitement and good humour are also at what seems to be an all-time high. It’s a long time since Henry spent a whole day watching the “corpse with pads” carry his bat through the innings.
Funny what a bit of close competition can do to the economics of sport.
Not only are cricket fans benefiting — player salaries and sponsorships have risen to record levels. According to BRW, this year seven members of the Australia team made it into the list of the 50 highest-earning Australian sports stars (Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist), compared with six years ago when it was just Shane Warne on the list. Adam Gilchrist is the highest ranking cricketer, earning $2.2 million.
They do lag behind the richest Australian sport-stars — Greg Norman ($20 mil) and Harry Kewell ($12.5 mil), as well as the richest cricketers — Sachin Tendulkar’s endorsements would be well into the tens of millions — but at least they don’t need second jobs in the off-season.
While the business of being a cricketer may be more difficult than it once was — there are more tests and one-dayers being played presently than ever before, which obviously puts a high level of pressure on the players (think Damien Martyn), but at least they are being rewarded handsomely.
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