BULLGOOSE: The reform of cricket one backyard at a time

You may recall I recently presented a bold plan for the complete reform of the horseracing industry.

When the suits found it nailed to the door of the stewards’ room at Tabulam Racecourse it was read with excitement and all the proposals were put into practice immediately.

It’s only a matter of time before you see larger, more imaginatively-named jockeys running along next to their horses, five-legged races and more at racecourses across the nation.

And possibly across the world.

Next, cricket.

Reform it.

Four words: gets out goes in.

Cricket is about as egalitarian as the kingdom of Vlad the Impaler.

Now before anyone soils their flannels or cries for Bert and Ruth into their Baggy Green, hear me out.

I am the voice of the cricketly dispossessed.

After a distinguished career in backyard cricket I was identified (by myself) as ‘handy’ with willow and six-stitcher (modified paling and tennis ball).

I looked forward to some cricketing fun in the Big School (primary). But this was never to be.

After lugging the cricket kit a kilometre to the park, picking teams and tossing the coin, anticipation was high.

But the fun never eventuated. Instead, two squeaky wheels grabbed the bats and proceeded to block balls and yell, “No, no! Don’t run!” for an hour.

By Home Time only four kids had batted.

Next week we fielded and yep, Bradman Squeaky and Squeaky Bradman monopolised the bowling while the rest of us out on the field broiled, battled sunstroke and hoped – hoped for rain, an escaped marmot, for WW3, for anything interesting to happen.

But it taught me one thing: life isn’t at all fair.

And another thing: Satan was invented a long time after God to try and explain how come the world was such a mess and cricket statistics were invented in a failed attempt to make cricket less boring.

My mate from the broiling outfield, Kenny Ford, put it pretty well for a ten-year-old: “Don Bradman is a dead cricketer. I wouldn’t be him for quids.”

“But cricket is all about tradition and sportsmanship,” bleats a cricket tragic while ignoring the latest sexting, match-fixing, ball-tampering or widespread boredom incident. Oh no it’s not, you tragedy freak. Not when you compare it to the golden and democratic traditions of the One True Game: Backyard Cricket.

Check it out:

Gets out goes in.

Over the fence: six and out

Little kids get another chance.

Everybody gets a bowl.

Report, and fess up to broken windows immediately.

I’ve seen hallowed national constitutions far less golden, democratic and inspiring than this.

These are words to live by.

Has the ACB got the balls to adopt them?

Oh, probably best if they added just one more: ‘Balls landing on busy roads or in the yards of vicious dogs are to be retrieved, promptly, by the Minister for Aged Care’.

A lesson to us all.


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