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Sir Donald was sufficiently concerned to make enquir ies in se veral ar eas. As a result, he was left in no doubt; if the Australian cricket authorities challenged either the Journalists’Association or the pla yers, Chappell and Mallett, the Board would certainly lose the case because they were restraining the trade ofthe two cric keters: a significant phrase, given what was to happen in the High Court in 1977.
The biggest change in Australian cricket came with the staging ofmat ches under lights. The second summer of World Series Cricket,in 1978–79,coincided with a traditional Ashes series, when Australia and England pla yed six Tests, England winning the ser ies 5–1.On November 28, 1978,just befor e the First Test, WSC Australia pla yed a limited-o vers mat ch against WSC West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first night-time cricket in this great arena. There were traffic jams approaching Moore Park and, by the dinner-break,more than 25,000 people were already in the ground. Kerry Packer then ordered the gates be thrown open. It was estimated by the ground authorities that more than 52,000 people watched the match, pla yed in one of the more extraordinary and exciting atmospheres I have ever known.
New players were being signed by World Series Cricket for year three, and there was no doubt about the suc cess of the org anisation in the sec ond season,aft er a slow start 12 months earlier.The new players meant that,in 1979–80,WSC’s competition would ha ve teams from Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and a World XI made up of Indian,Eng lish and South African cricketers.
Two things stand out. Packer started WSC on 6 April 1977 in his office in Sydney and he ended it on 13 February 1979,when he flew to Adelaide and had morning tea in Sir Donald Bradman’s Holden Street home. During an hour-long meeting , he set out an impressi ve list of WSC’s plans for the futur e. He outlined the new players signed,the new tours to take place and confirmed burgeoning figures for day/night games and television ratings. His suggestion was that it was time for a settlement.
At the next Australian Board of Control meeting ,Don is reported to have looked at all those present and said that before the meeting was concluded an agreement between the two par ties would be on the table. And it all happened because of the tea and scones at Holden Street. It concluded the greatest revolution the game of crick et has known and completely changed for the better the manner in which television covered all sports,not just cricket,for billions ofpeople around the world. It also ensured that cricketers would in future receive proper financial reward for their skills.
Kerry Packer passed away on Boxing Day 2005,and one ofthe many obituaries on his life appears in this antholog y. He was a remarkable man who changed for ever the manner in which crick et would be programmed,and at what time ofthe day, or night,it would take place.
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