Like a Netflix drama you watch during a lockdown, there were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in the series between Australia and India.
The plot seemed predictable at first; the soothing assurance of the Boxing Day Test and the New Year’s Test formed the center of the story, but the two matches were soon put into question. It was Melbourne first – would it even be able to take place and, if so, would it encourage spectators? Finally, even with a smaller crowd, the outbreak in Victoria was contained and the match could go ahead. Residents of Berala and Western Sydney face $1,000 fines if they attend the SCG for the Sydney TestContinue readingIn Sydney, until two new Covid 19 clusters appeared, the other states closed their borders and the schedule was in question again, it looked like a large crowd. The latest reports are that only 25 percent of the crowd will be permitted to access the area, with public transport masks now mandatory. Just as the plot finally seemed to be resolved and the characters were heading for a happy ending, a new adversary appeared as the Board of Cricket Control in India stepped in to challenge the Brisbane Test, citing mental exhaustion among its players in Queensland under the quarantine restrictions. This story arc is clearly the current season of cricket drama. No one was sure at the outset if the matches could be played at all or if the idea of Australia A would have to be revived to provide valuable television content if India could not make the journey. The lengths to which officials have gone to ensure a reasonably normal cricket summer say a lot about the importance put on the game of the men. There is definitely cause to pause and ask whether, considering the global health crisis, the series should have gone ahead at all. There are a range of problems, ranging from the public health threats associated with crowds at the games to the effect on the mental health of players stuck in bubbles for months at a time. Hardly an eyebrow was raised when the forthcoming women’s series between Australia and India was postponed. It is a topic worth asking in the risk-averse environment we have become accustomed to. For the common good, we have all had to make sacrifices. So why can’t we miss a couple of cricket matches and enjoy them all the more next summer after we’ve been vaccinated (hopefully)? The response, of course, is money and power. For instance, the individuals who are likely to lift their voices about cuts to the JobKeeper grant have far less of either than those who would have anything to say about a cancelled cricket tour. A number of people with plenty of money and influence make sure that the games are played in the way that best serves their needs, from the governing bodies to the broadcasters to the sponsors to the state governments. Even though this series would have been relatively easy to host compared to the current men’s tour, there were no public concerns from the broadcasters, no backlash from the BCCI. This is a thread that runs through the forced modifications that Covid has introduced into the sport. Although Super Netball and the WBBL were combined and played in one venue before the finals, the AFLW season was cancelled, every attempt was made to ensure that the major male sports could host their competitions as normally as possible, and anyone who dares to challenge those priorities is shouted down on social media and reminded in the comments that women’s sports do not pull in the money that men’s sports
It is as if this is a clear, immutable fact, rather than the result of a lack of investment in the long term.
As recently tweeted by American sports journalist Kelsey Trainor, “You have to spend money to make money. That’s true of every other investment sector except women’s sports. “Australia will be excited to see if Will Pucovski makes his test debut against India | Adam CollinsRead moreDespite the enormous strides women’s sport has made in recent years, the pandemic has revealed the enormous gap that has exposed. Those desperate to hold on to both make conservative decisions and hold on to status qu when money is tight and control hangs by a thread,