As exciting as spending the day in a bank queue

Admitting that it might be just a little unAustralian to hate cricket, Julie Ihle comes up with some suggestions for making the game more interesting, such as having Ricky date Kylie.

First published in SMH in 2003

Oh God, it’s back. Whole days and nights of fully televised boredom, which cuts into Judging Amy. Sports reports featuring nothing but groin injuries and interviews with men with too much gel and text message obsessions. That’s right, it’s the cricket season.

I tried tuning in during the week to work out once and for all what the point of it is, and have to say that I still think it’s about as riveting as spending the day in a bank queue.

And I’m not alone. Having done some detailed market research – asked five girlfriends – I can report that at least half the population hates cricket.

But since it is considered un-Australian not to like cricket, why don’t the cricket tragics and the rest of us meet half way to work out how to sex up cricket, to turn it into something more entertaining.

Here are some ideas:

  • Better looking players. Why not replace the current Australian cricket team with some better-looking models. Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, for instance. Once the team is in place then change the uniform to AFL-style sleeveless shirts and ultra-short shorts. Of course this will only work if the Australian Cricket Board applies some strict selection criteria on the players.
  • Speed it up a bit – maybe an enforced run every ball. This would mean it finished earlier, allowing more time to go home/the bar/sex-god cricketer’s place. It would also make the batsman more athletic and therefore more attractive (see above).
  • Maybe it’s time for some romance. Some people think there’s already plenty of romance in the Australian cricket team. The love they have for themselves for instance. But I propose that we add some romance with an actual plot and likeable characters. Why not a sweeping romance between a cricket player and, say, Kylie. Or, to melt everyone’s hearts, Delta. This is the sort of thing that sells newspapers and puts bums on the hill.
  • The Australian Cricket Board needs to seriously rethink its half-time entertainment. At the moment a guy in an apron comes out and serves cordial on a trolley. But if Kylie or Delta is having a romance with Ricky Ponting, they could sing. Better still, why doesn’t Channel Ten run its own Cricket Idol? At half time, wheel out Dicko and Marcia and the other guy and have the members of the cricket team belt out their best number, followed by a crowd vote-off.
  • And as it’ll be on the telly, why not retire Richie Benaud and replace him with someone who could talk about other things? Who better than Catriona Rowntree to say “that’s a lovely curve of upper arm by Adam Gilchrist, as he strides down the crease”.

Even if they took up only a few of these measures cricket would be a lot more interesting. And while, admittedly, many people do seem to enjoy watching the cricket, even for the most die-hard cricket tragics, a game of cricket is no match for gratuitous entertainment featuring Kylie

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