T20 CRICKET’S INFLUNCE

The Cricketer

T20 cricket has altered the game on its axis, and it’s Luke Sutton’s job to protect his players

NICK FRIEND: Sutton, a former wicketkeeper for Lancashire, has become a leading sports agent since his retirement. He opens up on the challenges of the franchise circuit, managing the post-playing transition and the unique story of James Taylorsutton131201Nick Friend | 14/12/2020 at 09:18

The cricketing landscape has altered beyond reasonable recognition in the years between Luke Sutton’s first-class debut in 1997 and the position from which he speaks now.

The franchise circuit, sprouting out of the success of T20 – itself still six years from conception when he arrived on the scene, has opened doors for players to a reality far from the game he once witnessed.

But these days, as a leading agent to athletes across a number of sports, understanding this new world is a major part of the job. Tom Moores, the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper, is one such client; he is representing Jaffna Stallions in the inaugural Lanka Premier League – the latest fresh competition to land in a volatile market.

When the Abu Dhabi T10 League returns early in 2021 after a delay caused by Covid-19, the annual cycle will begin once again. Yet, there is far more nuance to Sutton’s role than simply signing up his men; much consideration and research goes into determining where is best and what is safest.

“It’s an interesting landscape, put it that way,” he smiles as he explains the challenges at play. “You have to be extremely careful. There are lots of different dynamics: payment of players is one thing, but also how they’re going to be looked after when they get there is an important thing.

“For instance, what sort of medical setup is there? What are the facilities like? What’s training like? Are you sending a young player off to arrive in a country he’s never been to before and no one’s there to pick him? You have to be really, really careful. Almost continuously now, there are new competitions popping up all the time.”

Not long ago, there was talk of a T20 league in Qatar that never came to fruition, although a T10 competition did take place in 2019. The launch of the Euro Slam was postponed in 2019 and has not re-emerged since.

The Hundred will make its bow next summer, either side of flagship Premier Leagues in India and the Caribbean, with a T20 World Cup following on thereafter. At some stage, there will come a saturation point, but until then the role of the agent is to continue learning and assessing as fresh opportunities spring up across different parts of the globe.

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Sutton initially made his name in a decorated playing career with Derbyshire, Lancashire and Somerset

“This has definitely been an evolution for myself in recent years,” Sutton adds. “Really understanding that world and trying to get into those conversations as early as possible, so that you can make an assessment about where things are at from an organisational point of view, from a funding point of view, looking after the dangers of match-fixing, things like that. It’s really important.

“We hold a great responsibility about that side of things for young players, because it can be very tempting to go: ‘Just get yourself to here for this amount of money, get yourself off to there for that amount of money.’ Often, the shiny stones or a glamorous tournament with a bit more money can be very appealing for a young player.

“Recently, I had a player who I told: ‘Listen, I don’t think you should go.’ It wasn’t actually about the competition, it was about the team, about the franchise – I had some concerns around what was going on. I said: ‘Look, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go.’ I think that’s a responsibility that we’ve got to take. It’s a chaotic, interesting, exciting landscape for young players at the moment, but what comes with all of that are some hidden dangers as well.”

Financial issues have plagued several tournaments, even before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. But elsewhere, competitions are maturing with age: the Pakistan Super League, for one, has developed into a tremendously organised machine, while the Lanka Premier League – having chosen the most challenging possible moment for its unveiling – will benefit from merely getting itself off the ground.

Tom Smith has found happiness in cricket again

“You’re looking to make an educated decision – better than a guess – based on all the information that you can get,” Sutton says. “It’s one thing with tournaments being sanctioned by the ICC and regulated on that level – obviously if they’re not, you’d never send a player, but then within that there are subtleties.

“Where did this franchise come from? Who owns it? Where are they funded? What’s going on? There are plots and subplots within it: there’s the competition itself and how solid it is, and there are the franchises and how solid they are.”

Sutton is talking over Zoom, having recently published his second book, The Life of a Sports Agent: The Middleman. At different junctures, it features individual case studies of experiences with James Anderson and James Taylor, Team GB hockey player Sam Quek and Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson – all clients at one point or another of the former Lancashire wicketkeeper. There are sections as well on the social media conundrum and the inner workings of life in his industry.

To a degree, he has written it now as a fightback against the common stereotype that accompanies his line of work. “Everyone gets tarred with the same brush,” he says. The first chapter addresses that particular elephant in the room – only this week, football agents Mino Raiola and Kia Joorabchian have made headlines, and he touches, too, on the tendency to treat representatives as easy fall-guys. “We’re in the middle of interests,” he explains. “But you have to fly the flag high for the way to operate. I think that’s really important.”

“It’s a chaotic, interesting, exciting landscape for young players at the moment, but what comes with all of it are some hidden dangers as well”

As it happens, Sutton never had an agent during his own playing days – a quirk that he believes has helped his own outlook: “I don’t think that’s done me any harm because I know why I felt so cynical about it.” When he began working with Anderson, he was one of only four with interests around the England setup. Now, the PCA website lists more than 40 registered agents.

At heart, though, he’s still a sportsman – a scorer of 7,353 first-class runs, and so enjoys watching the excellence of his players – he was in Antigua to watch Anderson break Sir Ian Botham’s England wicket record in 2015 and describes Matt Prior – another former client – as “the cricketer that I always wanted to be”.

But as he studies their “sporting genius”, there a line that his ego cannot be allowed to cross. “When agents get caught into believing that they should be heralded as a big part of when someone achieves sporting success, I think that’s dangerous territory,” he explains. “Because that means on the bad days, you should also be in the firing line.”

As for the special moments, they make it all worthwhile. “You’ve seen all the backstory, you’ve seen the injuries that they’re hiding, the tensions that they feel, the insecurities that they don’t tell other people about. But then you see them deliver in the pressure-cooker of elite sport and I think you have a moment where you’re watching that – it’s a very private moment – and you’re like: ‘Wow, this is why I do what I do.’”

The other principal motivation brings him to the subject of Taylor, the former England batsman whose playing career was brought to a tragic, abrupt end by a serious heart condition. Sutton devotes two separate sections of his book to the period, and he holds a unique perspective on a brutally difficult, unusual episode that saw Taylor forced into a sudden, life-changing transition out of the game that had become his raison d’être.

He recalls, for example, how Taylor’s health in the aftermath initially meant that he struggled to get through Q&A sessions, while he also describes in significant detail the moment that the devastating news of his condition was confirmed, as well as the subsequent scurry to put statements together to inform all those who needed to know. And then, there is the story of the complex situation that formed around Taylor’s insurance claims.

It is a time upon which Sutton looks back with some pride, both in his own response and in Taylor’s reinvention ever since – now as a national selector. His is the rarest case imaginable, but it reminds Sutton of why he first entered athlete representation in the first place.

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The sudden retirement of James Taylor (left) was a sad time for English cricket

“My perception of management has always been about how to help someone with their life,” he says. “It’s literally as broad as that, so doing a sponsorship deal is part of that. Giving them some advice on how to handle a situation is part of that. Organising their diary is part of that. But there’s something broader to it – it’s being able to help them live a sustainable and meaningful life, while playing and beyond.

“I think with James’ example, this was a very young man suddenly in a position for his whole family where it was so difficult for them all. I felt like that was real management in many ways.

“Doing a commercial contract can be difficult at times and there are other times where you get involved in arguments or discussions and you think: ‘God, why am I doing this?’ But then, in moments like with James, you think: ‘Oh, I know why I enjoy doing what I’m doing,’ because I’m effectively trying to support young people in their sporting life.

“James’ case – his transition from cricket into post-cricket – was an extreme example, the most extreme. Literally, on a moment, it was all over. The reason I really wanted to highlight it in a book was that I think it gives an amazing example of how difficult that transition is.

“The world that professional sportspeople live in is not real. It’s a different pressure, it’s a different reward, it’s a different affirmation, it’s very different to normal life”

“The reason it’s so difficult is that professional sportspeople often feel that they’re defined by what they do in sport. That is all they are. That is all they’ve been conditioned for from a very young age. They get a lot of their self-worth, self-esteem, confidence, purpose, direction, meaning in life from their sport. Expecting otherwise is unrealistic. That’s who they are. To suddenly turn that off and then go into post-sport is really difficult and the process is very much around redefining themselves and finding out who they want to be post-retirement.

“The guys who do really well are the ones who redefine themselves, the ones who go: ‘Okay, I’m not a player anymore. I’m now at this place in life.’ That’s really difficult; the guys who hold on to still wanting to be a player and want to get back there, that’s a tougher thing for them to go through. That transition is really, really difficult. That’s why players need lots of support with it and, sometimes, they really struggle in retirement – not just in cricket. The rates of footballers struggling in retirement are alarming.”

He points to Quek as a rare precedent. Part of Team GB’s hockey team that won Olympic gold in 2016, she has transcended her sport since retirement. As well as successful stints on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here and Celebrity Masterchef, she has forged a secondary career as a presenter in multiple sports across several channels, while also writing columns in different newspapers.

English cricket’s closest parallel is Andrew Flintoff – or Freddie, as he has become so widely known. The great allrounder now hosts Top Gear, as well as holding several other high-profile television roles. It is worth taking a step back to consider his remarkable path; it is difficult to think of an English cricketer – either before or since – who has so successfully navigated the leap from his on-field days to an entirely different, public-facing role.

Luke Sutton’s return from the brink

In January, sports promoter Barry Hearn posed this question while talking to The Cricketer: “If you get the England cricket team walking down Brentwood High Street, how many of them would sign an autograph before they got to the end?”

The answer? Not enough. His point was simple. Of course, the journeys taken by Flintoff and Quek beyond their fields and into the mainstream are not for everyone – rather, their stories are extreme examples of post-retirement reinvention.

“You will get some who don’t want that, and they’ll be much more comfortable in their own sport,” Sutton explains. “Take Steven Gerrard versus David Beckham, or Alastair Cook versus Freddie Flintoff. Regardless of ability levels, they might have different ambitions.

“I think, within my role, it’s about having the understanding when you meet someone who has the ambition and ability to break into mainstream; then that’s a very significant process. It’s a difficult one. I don’t think anyone in cricket has done it like Freddie has done it, but it would take a lot of work, a lot of process, a lot of strategy, a lot of understanding of the dynamics that need to work.

“Football is king, and it might even be the whole royal family. As soon as you can realise that football is everything, I think you can work your way from there.”

In many ways, Sutton’s own experiences have helped him in management. He released his first book a year ago, Back from the Edge: Mental Health and Addiction in Sport, an autobiographical reflection on a journey that reached its nadir in the Priory as he battled alcoholism and issues with his mental health.

And in the cauldron of elite sport, those personal struggles have given him a precious ability to empathise with those following in his footsteps and, as importantly, to recognise when he might need to step in.

England off-spinner Dom Bess is another of his clients; the 23-year-old joined Yorkshire at the end of last season and has spoken openly on numerous occasions in recent times about the difficulties he has faced. Likewise, Wilson, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympics in the men’s horizontal bar.

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Dom Bess joined Yorkshire from Somerset at the end of the season

“I’ve been really happy that I have been able to be there for them,” Sutton says. “I think it’s really important; the world that professional sportspeople live in is not real. It’s a different pressure, it’s a different reward, it’s a different affirmation, it’s very different to normal life.”

The same can be said of social media: a poisoned chalice with its combination of benefits and pitfalls. Worcestershire seamer Pat Brown told The Cricketer last month how criticism from strangers had left him questioning “what everyone else is thinking of you as well”.

For Sutton, embracing it is a must. “Everyone should be on it,” he insists, with the significant caveat of learning to “understand” its challenges.

“The first thing is to say that with the power of social media, you can’t fight against it. It’s not a solution to say to guys: ‘Right, don’t be on social media.’

“It’s one of those territories where it’s not real. You can be locked away in your thoughts of how a performance went or what people might think of you. But social media is not a real place to find that affirmation.

“I think in my role, if I find a client is always going there to test out how they should feel about their performance or them as a person, that’s the time when I need to step in and say: ‘Listen, you need to remember this isn’t real. Real people are your family, me, coaches. We can give you that feedback as to where you’re at.’”

“Professional sportspeople often feel that they’re defined by what they do in sport. They get a lot of their self-worth, self-esteem, confidence, purpose, direction, meaning in life from their sport”

In Bess’ case, part of that feedback this year included managing his expectations as a cricketer in the final months of his contract through the height of a pandemic.

In a normal summer, his status as an international cricketer would have given him ample pulling power among clubs interested in his services. The season’s prevailing uncertainty made life more complicated, however, even if his situation was ultimately resolved in good time.

But Sutton recalls having to lay out the difficult facts. “There was a lot of uncertainty,” he says. “I remember at the start of the summer, saying: ‘I don’t know how this is going to look. I don’t know what financial state the game’s going to be in or where clubs are at.’ Normally by June, most clubs know what they’re looking to do for the following year – whether with their own players or other players.

“This year was different – all of those decisions got moved to late July and August as everyone was trying to work out what sort of budgets they’d have available and what would work. For Dom, it ended up in a really good outcome, but we definitely stepped into that process, thinking: ‘I’m not quite sure what this process is going to look like.’”

And in a business of constant evolution, that’s the game.

ADELAIDE TEST PREVIEW

PREVIEW OF ADELAIDE TEST

ADELAIDE OVAL  GROUND

The Adelaide Oval remains one of cricket’s most picturesque Test venues, situated amid gardens and trees and with the spire of St Peter’s Cathedral as a backdrop. 

The ground opened in 1873 amid bitter local disputes over boundaries and money, and in its early years the pitches were often dreadful. In 1884-85 it staged its first Test.In 1932-33, the Bodyline affair which was directed at Bradman,  reached its nadir at The Oval when Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield were struck, and on the third day mounted police patrolled to keep the 50,000 spectators in order. Nowadays the pitch is playing true to Australians traditions. The ground also hosts Football, Rugby and other sports besides cricket.

HEAD TO HEAD

India played 12 tests here since 1948  and due to play the First test  on 17th December 2020 for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.  India has won only 2 times here in 2003 & 2018.

Photo courtesy :  cricinfo.com

DEJA VU

The first win of India at Adelaide came in 2003. Rahul Dravid & V.V.S. Laxman were at it again at Adelaide in 2003-04 series Down Under. At Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 they batted together the 4th day of the test after asked to follow-on and they put on 376 runs for the 6th wicket and set up a win for India.

At Adelaide in Dec. 2003 the same duo put on 305 runs for the 5th wicket and set up a good total in the first innings and the roles were reversed at Adelaide.  Here Dravid led the role of hitting a magnificent 233 runs and Laxman playing second fiddle with 148 runs.  India’s seamer Ajit Agarkar ensured that India didn’t chase a big fourth innings total by claiming 6  scalps for 41 runs in the 2nd innings of Australia and restricting them with a total of 196 . And Dravid with a fluent 72  gave the finishing touches of scoring the winning runs in the 2nd Innings here. When MacGill pitched one short and wide of off stump, Rahul Dravid gave himself room and cut hard. As it sped across the outfield towards the fence in front of the George Giffen stand, he let out a yell of delight. Steve Waugh, the Captain jogged across to pick up the ball from the gutter  and he presented it to Dravid, whose 72 not out had glued together a run chase that was anything but straightforward. Incidentally, this was the last series of Steve Waugh. This win also helped India to square the 4 Test series with 1-1.

Rahul Bhattacharya, famous author,  in his column in cricinfo wrote like this :  The echoes of Kolkata and Adelaide rang down the decade, in far-flung venues and memories, and in notes from cricket watchers to one another.

PUJARA SHOW

The second win came at Adelaide in our last outing in the 2018-19 series.  It was a Pujara’s show.  Dravid recently said “ If somebody scores like Pujara did in 2018-19 either Pujara himself or others, India can win this series (2020-21) “.  Such was his dominance in batting in the last series played in Down Under.  Notwithstanding what has happened before, he has gone into every innings with the same mindset, and with a readiness for a marathon fight ahead. He has trusted his defence, though it is not foolproof. But above all, it’s his nature that has allowed him to stay on track and get the overseas runs that were evading him. He scored a brilliant century in the first innings followed it up with a fluent 71 runs in the second.  And our pace bowlers delivered it.  The pace trio of India led by Bumrah, Ishant and Shami and well supported by Ashwin ensured India a win with 31 runs and it also paved the way for India’s FIRST EVER series win in Down Under.

DAY NIGHT  TESTS

The ICC showing its concern about dwindling attendance in Tests world over came up with the idea of DAY-NIGHT Test matches with a pink ball.  This has shown good results in terms of attendance at Test centres all over the world.  And almost all test playing countries have hosted Daynight tests, it has come to stay. 

The first ever D/N test was played here between the hosts Australia and New Zealand in November 2015  and  won by 3 wickets and Adelaide hosted furthermore 3 tests  and Aussies won all the 3 tests.  

 India did play a D/N test in India at Koltkata in November 2019 against Bangladesh and they steamrolled the Bangla Tigers with an Innings victory with SG Pink balls.  It will be a different ball at Adelaide where the Australians use Kookaburra balls and Aussies pace trio headed by Mitchel Stark who is raring to go at Indians ( with 24 wickets in his kitty at Adelaide with pink ball) and ably supported by Pat Cummins and Josh Hazzlewood.  Only comfort for Indians may be the absence of David Warner due to a groin injury, who’s the leading scorer with 490 runs here. So, let’s keep fingers crossed till 17th December.

SUBHASH GUPTE, LEG SPINNER

 Memoirs on Squash Gupte

Subhaschandra Pandharinath Gupte was born in Bombay on this day December 11, 1929.

He left a legacy of  his art of leg spin bowling, a googly. His googlies were extremely deceptive and he was master of flight.

RETRO LIVE :

An Indian spin bowler taking 9 wickets in an Innings and that against a formidable West Indies team at Kanpur in 1958-59 series on DAY ONE of the Test. It was a creditable performance by the master of the craft of googly bowler, Subhash Gupte and though India lost the test, it was an occasion to remember Gupte as with his mesmerising googly, he ran through the entire team, including clean bowling of Rohan Kanhai.

EARLY DAYS

India’s ace leg spinner made his first class debut for the Maneck Engineer XI Vs Madhav Mantri’s XI in Bombay festival tournament in 1947-48 season and he took just 2 wickets in that match.  He played first class cricket for Bengal, Rajasthan apart from Bombay.  In England League cricket for Rishton.

TEST DEBUT 

He made his debut for India On Dec. 29, 1951 against the visiting England team along with Vijay Manjrekar.  He did not take any wicket in this test.  

Best moments

Subhash Gupte made his first away tour to West Indies in 1952-53.  In his first away tour itself he showed his prowess with the ball claiming 50 wickets in 8 first class  matches including 27 wickets in Test cricket.  It was a record at the time. Gupte was given the nickname of ‘ Fergie’ while on tour to the West Indies as he bowled like West Indian Leggie Wilfred Ferguson.

In the tour to Pakistan in 1954-55, he was the most successful bowler with 21 wickets, though the 5 match test series ended in a tame draw.

Then against touring Pakistan in 1954-55, he took 10 for 78 in Bombay in a game against 

Pakistan Combined Services and Bhawalpur XI team.  This was the first time an Indian bowler took all the 10 wickets in an Innings in a first class cricket.

In 1955-56 against touring New Zealnd, the Indian team made a heavy weather of batting exploits by scoring  400 + runs in all the tests including 537 runs at Chennai (Nehru stadium) where the record opening wicket partnership between Vinoo Mankad & Pankaj Roy was made. And Gupte had a rich haul of 34 wickets in the series, a record at the time.  He helped India inflict two Innings defeats to Newzeland at Bombay (Brabourne stadium) and Madras (Nehru stadium).

On tour to England in 1959, Gupte took a total of 95 wickets in 23 first class matches at an average of 26.58 which included 17 wickets in Tests.

He took 4 wickets conceding just 6 runs in 3 overs against the visiting England team in 1961-62 series at Kanpur to enforce follow-on for the first time for England, though England saved the test. 

In this England series during the Delhi Test he was suspended along with his roommate A.G. Kirpal Singh on disciplinary grounds for which he was not at fault.  His roommate A.G. Kirpal allegedly invited the Hotel receptionist for a drink and without any enquiry on Gupte.,The Indian cricket board destroyed Gupte’s Test career in one full swoop on disciplinary grounds for an alleged act of indiscipline.  A couple of years later Gupte emigrated to West Indies with his Carribean wife and spent the rest of his life there and passed away in 2002.

In a career spanning over a decade ( 1951-1961), he Gupte claimed 149 wickets in 36 tests, which is an unenviable record.

ENCOMIUMS

Former off-spinner Prasanna said: “He was the greatest leg-spinner India ever produced.” He said Gupte did not realise his full potential because fewer games were played in his time, adding: “He was the most orthodox, but the number of leg-spinners and top-spinners he had…it’s all about playing and realisation.”

B.S. Bedi, another indian legendary spinner remarked “ I was listening to radio commentary when Gupte took 9 wickets for 102 against west indies at Kanpur.  I was so inspired by that performance that I took up spin bowling.”

The game’s one of the greatest all rounder Sir Gary Sobers in his book rated Gupte above the legendary Leg spinner Shane Warne.  To me Shane Warne is a great turner of the ball.  But in my estimation Gupte was a better leg spinner.

After meeting Gupte in his home town in 2002  at Trinidad ( Caribbean Islands), noted author Rahul Bhattacharya wrote like this:

“Gupte moved to Trinidad 40 years ago on his wife’s persuasion as Frank Blakburn, a man who was mad at cricket offered him a job at Trinidad.  Gupte met Carol on the 1952-53 Indian tour to West Indies, where he spun his way to 50 first class wickets and he was the talk of the town.   Subhash saw Carol at an official function and fell in love with her and he proposed to her in a letter by post and it all worked out for the marriage “.

GUPTE’S OBSERVATION ON INDIANS

When asked about India’s third Test win at Port of Spain, the 73-year-old former leg-spinner Gupte  said, “It’s always nice to hear about an Indian victory. People respect Indian cricketers here. So, when they win, Indian cricket receives more respect. And personally I feel more proud. They respect me more too.”

Sunil Gavaskar still remains the greatest Indian batsman in his book. “India has never produced a better batsman than him.. Sunil has 13 centuries against the West Indies only. Tremendous achievement. And he was an intelligent cricketer. No, I can’t compare him with anyone else,” he said with an air of finality.

Lord’s- Warner Stand

Populous

The Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground

LONDON, UK

As part of the first phase in an ambitious 20-year master plan planned by Marylebone Cricket Club, Populous was commissioned to redevelop the aging Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground with a focus on improving the experiences of spectators and people who come on tours, while also maintaining the special character of the venue.

Set between a grade II-listed pavilion and the iconic Grandstand, the historic context of the building was a key consideration in its design. The scheme features splayed American white oak beams supporting a new tensile-fabric roof that extends dramatically out over the 2,674-capacity seating tiers like a fan. In addition to providing shelter for spectators, the fabric also moderates the crowd noise to minimise its impact on neighbouring residents.

LORD’S GROUND- PART II

LORD’s  GROUND – PART  II

Courtesy : Espncricinfro.com 

ENGLAND WINS WORLD CUP 2019

England’s Wait was over at last On July 14, 2019, a golden day in the annals of England’s cricket as England was declared Winner in the Finals at LORD’s.  A World cup that was eluding them from its inception in 1975.  And they have become One-day International cricket champions with that win. Of course England were the favourites to win this title after they beat Australia in the Semifinals. .  But a lot of drama unfolded on the night. 

WORLD CUP 2019 FINAL  DRAMA

England needed nine runs to get off three balls to win the World Cup. Trent Boult bowls a low full toss, and Ben Stokes – batting like a demigod – batters the ball to deep midwicket, where Martin Guptill swoops in, and fires off a rapid throw. A kinetic freak event transpires. The thrown ball hits the thrown bat, though neither thrower intended this. It skims off behind the keeper, where no fielder ever stands and the ball races to the boundary and Kumar Dharmasena, the leg umpire erroneously granted  6 six runs for this overthrow  which had impacted on the final result of the World Cup Final.  Kumar Dharmasena , the in the eye of storm of  Kiwis cricket fans as his  wrong decision in the final over of in the World cup Final tipped the game in favour of England, and conceivably changed the tournament’s outcome as the final scores were TIED at the end of 100 overs bowled by both teams.

“Next on the agenda: Better binoculars for the ice spotters on the Titanic,” wrote James Neesham, (the New Zealand all rounder who faced the super over)  a wry comment  on Twitter after the World cup fiasco.

ENGLAND WINS THE WORLD CUP 2019

The 48 day Mega event of the One-day International World Cup ended in an anti-climax as the 100 overs bowled in the final between England & New zeland couldn’t decide which was the best team of the tournament.  And neither the one SUPER OVER as both the team’s scores were TIED in Super Over also..  And  a  ludicrous law ( of course now it was changed by the ICC  after this fiasco) of “ which teams scored more boundaries in the course of the 50 over match was the winner “applied to England team and England was declared as the winner, much to the chagrin of the shell shocked New Zealand team.

LORD’S GROUND  DESCRIPTION

The main entrance to the ground is from St. John’s Wood Road through the Grace Gates and is used by members and their guests.  The public gain entrance through the North entrance and North gate and through the East Gate and adjoining turnstiles in St. John’s Wood Road.

All the buildings in the ground  are permanent.  The pavilion is the centre-piece and includes the famous ’Long Room’.  

The playing area is 152 x 133 meters .

The Lord’s Tavern is situated next to Grace Gates and adjoining the Banqueting Suite.  There are two souvenir shops on the ground. 

There are facilities for disabled persons.

FIRST  AT  LORD’S

  • MCC issues its First Code of Cricket Laws in 1788 and is still in use
  • Lord’s hosts its First ever Test in 1884 Versus Australia
  • Its First Ever ODI in 1972 with Australia
  • West Indies wins FIRST EVER World cup (ODI) in 1975
  • Its First ever  women’s ODI against Australia in 1976
  • Its first ever Day night match a T20 match Middlesex Vs Surrey  

BEST MOMENTS

Lord’s hosted 139 tests , including neutral tests till date out of which England won 55 tests and lost 32 tests and drew 50 tests. It also hosted first three World cups (Prudential World cup)

  • England’s left arm spinner Hedley Verity takes 14 wickets in a day on 25th June, 1934 against Australia as Aussies suffer a humiliating defeat of an Innings & 38 runs
  • In June 1974, England scored its largest victory in Tests here against India by an Innings & 285 runs when India was dismissed then the lowest score of 42 runs in the second innings at Lord’s
  • In 1979 World Cup Final Viv Richards hit a magnificent 139 runs
  • Lord’s hosts the Centenary Test between England and Australia in 1980 summer as a one-off Test to mark the occasion of 100 years of Test cricket in England .  But it was marred by ugly behavior of MCC members including manhandling of one of the Umpires David Constant.  The test resulted in a draw due to bad weather
  • in 1983 in a league stage match in the World cup, India’s Kapil Dev hit a whirlwind 175 his career best against Zimbabwe to take the team out of woods when it was tottering at 5 for 17 runs
  • In 1993 England Eve’s team beat New Zealand by 67 runs to win the Women’s World cup Final
  • 1999 Australia beat Pakistan by 8 wickets to win the World cup final 
  • 2000 England beat West Indies in its 100th Test at Lord’s
  • 2003 Greame Smith of South Africa scored 259 runs the highest Test innings by a visiting batsman at Lord’s beating Don Bradman’s favorite knock 254 in 1930
  • 2009 – Pakistan beat Srilanka in the ICC World T20 Final
  • 2012- Lord’s hosts the OLYMPIC  ARCHERY event
  • 2015 – Ben Stokes of England scored FASTEST TEST CENTURY at Lord’s on day 4 of the first test between Eng & New zealand.  He scored century in 85 balls.
  • 2017  – England Eve’s team defeat India by 9 runs to win the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup final
  • 2019  – England wins the ICC Men’s World cup beating New zealand
  • 2019 – Ireland play their first Test after getting Test status at Lord’s and created a dubious record of Lowest Test innings score of 38 runs in their 2nd innings 

LORD’S GROUND

LORD’S  GROUND

I have been writing articles on my website ( Stumpchat.com) and on my FB page on  Indian traditional test cricket grounds viz., Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru & Mohali and they were appreciated by and commented upon by my friends and relatives.  It has inspired me to write on Cricket grounds of other countries here. 

Hence, I am going to write about the traditional cricket grounds of the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the game.  To start with, Lord’s , the game’s headquarters till 2005, has been chosen for my writing.

LORD’s

The Lord's Pavilion|©Ben Marsh/Wikicommons

 Sachin Tendulkar: “As a kid you have big dreams and one of them was playing at Lord’s. It is extremely special to play here. So there are a lot of fond memories, and one would definitely want to make the most of the outing here . 

RETRO  LIVE :  It was a D-day for Indian cricket.  It was the World cup Finals on 25th June, 1983 between the “invincibles” West Indies and the “Dark Horse” India.  India was defending a paltry 183 runs in the 60 overs match.  Everyone has written off India as “ Pushovers” as their world cup woes in the previous editions were indicators.

And Kapil Dev’s men were not distraught.  In fact they believed in themselves they could upset the apple cart of West Indies juggernaut .  Kapil led from the front by marshalling his forces to the best of their abilities.

Kapil ran backwards in midwicket position quite long to catch a mishit of the West Indies marauder Viv Richards and the rest is history.

A beaming Kapil Dev holding aloft the coveted Prudential WORLD CUP at LORD’S  for the First time for India , a dream for the millions of Indian cricket fans. 

History

Lord’s ground is owned by Marylebone  Cricket Club (MCC) and home to Middlesex county. 

Lord’s today is not on its original site; it is the third of three grounds that Lord established between 1787 and 1814.me.  His first ground, now referred to as Lord’s Old Ground, was where Dorset Square now stands. His second ground, Lord’s Middle Ground, was used from 1811 to 1813 before being abandoned to make way for the construction through its outfield of the Regent’s Canal. The present Lord’s ground is about 250 yards (230 m) north-west of the site of the Middle Ground. 

Lord’s with its rich history of 200 years is considered the “Mecca of Cricket” as Thomas Lord founded the world’s most celebrated cricket ground in 1814. A tile with Thomas Lord’s profile in relief at St. John’s Wood Tube railway station in London  is seen there

The stands at Lord’s are 

  • Pavilion
  • Warner Stand
  • Grand Stand
  • Compton Stand
  • Edrich Stand 
  • Mound Stand
  • Tavern Stand
  • Allen Stand (formerly the “Q Stand”)

Many of the stands were rebuilt in the late 20th century.

Pavilion

The main survivor from the Victorian era is the Pavilion, with its famous Long Room; this was built in 1889–90 to the designs of architect Thomas Verity. This historic landmark— a Grade II*-listed building— underwent an £8 million refurbishment programme in 2004–05. The pavilion is primarily for members of MCC, who may use its amenities, which include seats for viewing the cricket, the Long Room and its Bar, the Bowlers Bar, and a members’ shop .The Pavilion also contains the dressing rooms where players change, each of which has a small balcony for players to watch the play. In each of the two main dressing rooms are honours boards which commemorate all the centuries scored in Test matches or One Day Internationals (ODI) at Lord’s, all instances of a bowler taking five wickets in a Test or ODI innings and all occurrences of a bowler taking ten wickets in a Test match.( Source : Wikipedia).

BI CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

 The ground has celebrated its Bi-centenary in 2014.  And on that occasion a book titled “A portrait of Lord’s – 200 years pf cricket history” by  Adam Chadwick, Lord’s ground Curator.  I read this book.

Excerpts from the above Book :-

  • This book “ A portrait  .. “ marks the opening of a 2 year Bi-centenary  Exhibition highlighting not only the “Crown of the Jewels “ of the collection, but also some of the wonderful range of research projects that have benefitted from re-cataloguing and digitisation of the last 3 years.
  • Diana Rait Kerr, died aged 94 years in 2012 devised the classification scheme for the Library which is still in use today and her clear and detailed notes, ledgers and registers have formed an invaluable chronology without which it is no exaggeration to say, the heritage of Lord’s would be inexplicable. Her professional contribution, combined with gifts , involvement and interest of so many MCC members and cricket lovers along with that of her amateur predeceased  Captain T.H. Carlton Levick is responsible for the survival of the rich history of Lord’s.
  • There was a Fire at Lord’s ground on 29.7.1825 at Pavilion Building erected in the cricket ground near the school on St. John’s Wood Road.  Lord’s suffered a financial crisis. It was the introduction of a tennis court, shower rooms & billiards tables that prompted much needed membership numbers and consequent capital
  • Sir Spencer Cecil Brabazon Ponsby-Fane first played for MCC when he was just 15 years later held the posts of Treasurer and Trustee of MCC till he died at the age of 91, who laid the foundation stone of the PAVILION at Lord’s
  • In the Lord’s southwest corner is Liberal Jewish Synagogue.  Sabbath ( a day intended for rest) and religious worship kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening and by most christians on Sunday.

The current ground celebrated its two hundredth anniversary in 2014. To mark the occasion, on 5 July an MCC XI captained by Sachin Tendulkar played a Rest of the World XI led by Shane Warne in a 50 overs match.

BOWLER’S BAR BELL 

The Big Ben ( 1.6 ton) bell was commissioned by M/s. John Warner & Sons .  This bell is rung by a visiting dignitary  every day at the start of a Test match.

VAUXHALL PLEASURE GARDENS

       This garden also known as Spring Gardens were opened by the Tyers family in 1661 and reached the height of their popularity in the early 1800s with 20,000 people visiting on one night in 1826.  Their winning formula combined with music, illuminated fountains, fireworks and light refreshments in an Eden-like atmosphere.  The gardens originally combined genteel areas where orchestras played and visitors promenaded in their finery and “dark walks” where couples could enjoy each other’s company in some privacy, if not in comfort.

LORD’s MUSEUM

The Lord’s grounds are home to the Marylebone Cricket Club’s museum; the collection housed here was begun in 1864, while the museum itself was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1953. The museum boasts one of the world’s most celebrated collections of cricket memorabilia, and spans the entire history of the game from its emergence in the 18th century right through to the present.

  1. The original Ashes urn, a tiny (it’s only six inches long) 
  2.  various uniforms, bats and pieces of kit belonging to history’s greatest players,  in particular W.G. Grace, widely accredited as the best cricketer of all time.  Grace’s  belts, boots, caps, travelling bags, the manuscript of his book “Cricket”. 
  3.  India’s Suni Gavaskar also donated his “skull cap” (helmet) and Brian Lara also donated his helmet.
  4. Victor Trumper (Australia)’s cap, blazer & pads were donated to MCC by his wife.
  5. R.E. Foster, nicknamed “Tip Foster” Captained England both in Cricket and Football also donated his bat.
  6. An Aboriginal war club ( like a bat) Dici-a-Dick on the Australian ( first tour) tour to England in 1868 is also available in Lord’s museum. 
  7. Baggy green caps used by Don Bradman & Keith Miller  
  8. “Warsop” bat used by Denis Compton 
  9. Wartime bats

CRICKET FANS NEW VIEWING EXPERIENCE

Cricket Fan’s New Viewing Experience

And so what if you can’t visit the stadium now – you could choose a camera angle, freeze a view, or perhaps even take a 3D fly through of a stadium in the future!

The just-concluded 13th Indian Premier League saw a record-breaking 28 per cent increase in viewership compared to the last edition, the tournament in the UAE providing welcome relief to a world scarred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic and the bio-bubbles that players had to endure for weeks made organising this edition of the tournament a challenging feat.

NEW VIEWING IN OTT

Could this be the future of viewing sport? Seeing how many viewers now watch a live stream of their match on their handheld devices, this could very well be the truth! Starting with a basic live stream, increasingly there have been tech additions to make this experience more interactive and immersive.

With the pandemic situation, this is the option available as we have witnessed the IPL 2020 tournament as spectators were not allowed inside the stadiums of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.  

Viewers now choose their preferred commentary language. Live comments are enabled throughout the match and fans can often interact with each other via these comments. Sometimes studio experts too join in the fun! Other aspects of such personalised content through the OTT platform include on-the-spot contests/challenges asking viewers to predict the next shot/final score/which player will end up with the most wickets/runs.

We have seen the Fans Wall created in the IPL 2020 and shown on the big screens of the IPL tournament stadiums.

Broadcasters have cameras now specifically focused on the spectators to capture their reactions and share them on the big screen. DJs, RJs, cheerleaders drum up the excitement and add to the colour. And the crowds have found new ways to entertain themselves as well when the action wanes – with Mexican waves to beer snakes! From waving flags of your teams to wearing their jerseys, team merchandise has added to the immersive experience for in-stadia fans. 

And even if you haven’t got a place in the stadium or there isn’t a match in your city, you can still enjoy the experience in Fan Parks. The IPL Fan Parks recreated the atmosphere of in-stadia viewing with large screens, a vibrant atmosphere filled with lights and music and excited fans cheering on their teams. When used along with VR (Virtual Reality) glasses, the experience can become even more immersive than that of a fan watching the match in a stadium. 

Last, but not the least, is the use of VR (Virtual Reality) glasses to enhance the home viewing experience. By putting on these glasses, a fan can be transported directly to the field of the play / stadium, and get a completely immersive viewing experience. These glasses are not very common yet due to limitations like price and pervasiveness of high speed wireless networks, but with the advent of 5G, even this technology is not far from being ubiquitously deployed.

Some IPLFranchisees had their own way to stay connected with their fan base across the globe putting across some new initiatives to catch up with the world sports competitiveness keeping in mind the growing digital viewing.  Mumbai Indians, the high profile Franchisee and KXIP have announced their plans. 

MUMBAI INDIANS INITIATIVES

MI Live is a concept where fans are welcomed to Mumbai Indians’ live studio show from their home. The Mumbai Indians-specific live show invited fans to be a part of a pre, mid and post-match show which is interactive and light-hearted.

The 14-match day shows produced by Mumbai Indians and live streamed simultaneously on MI’s official YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter account and on a dedicated channel on Jio TV.

MI Live connected MI’s One Family spread across the country to join the virtual studio with the host presenter to discuss fans’ predictions, analysis and other fun filled activities.

Paltan Play in association with Samsung is a second screen experience game, which allowed participants to play & compete against each other on Mumbai Indians match days. Fans are encouraged to analyse an ongoing MI match and predict the number of runs to be scored and wickets to be taken per over.

The “ Mumbai Indians “ mobile App, the game has its own unique points system and a special chip. Live leaderboard within the game will indicate participants’ ranks on a match by match basis.

Virtual Wankhede is an innovative concept by Mumbai Indians, in association with Myntra, is to provide the MI Paltan with an opportunity to cheer their team alongside fellow supporters connected virtually.

Virtual Wankhede will encourage the Paltan from across India to come together as ‘One Family’ and connect via video conference while they watch MI matches from home.

MI Buddy is an interactive AI powered WhatsApp bot which will deliver Mumbai Indians-related information on demand for fans on their mobile devices.

KXIP INITIATIVE

On the eve of IPL 2020, the Franchise KXI Punjab entered  into a partnership with Spektacom’s Power Bat technology.  The company’s Power Sticker will provide real-time batting analytics to Kings XI Players for use in their individual and team practice sessions.  It helps the coaches to fine tune the batting skills of their players.  The KXIP franchise entered into an organic partnership with Anil Kumble’s Spektacom to use patent-pending PowerBatTM technology. The technology will provide real-time batting analytics to the KXIP team. The players can use the same during their net training sessions.

Spektacom’s Chief Product Officer Abhishek Binaykia said that the PowerBatTM technology “enables players to bring in a completely new dimension to their match preparation and performance”. He added that with the technology, a player can “objectively measure” their shots. Binaykia further stated that they are excited to be associated with the KXIP team and they are looking to further enhance their “power hitting capabilities” for the IPL 2020 season.

While technologies like ball tracking, pitch map, etc. provide great data driven insights into matches, technologies related to smart cricket bats like Spektacom PowerBat focus on the efficacies of shot making.

MARK BOUCHER

MARK BOUCHER

Mark Verdon Boucher, the former gloveman  and present Head Coach of South Africa celebrates his 44th Birthday today 3rd December, 2020.  A perfect definition of a hard worker, relentless fighter and at times an aggressive player.

Relive this :  “ Jou ma Se 434. We’ll just score even more “ Carried the headline of a Bi-lingual tabloid in South Africa on 13th March, 2006 the day after the match. 

And the Event is :  The Proteas chasing a record total of 434 against the visiting Australians in 2006 at the Wanderers, Johannesburg.

“ In the years to come everyone will know where they were as Boucher slammed the winning runs” was the general refrain of the crowd. 

And Herschelle Herman Gibbs set the tone for the record chase blasting his way to a 175 runs and suddenly there was a rush of blood and the Proteas were in a spot of bother. And here, Mark Boucher stepped into the act of finishing with just one ball to spare with the last man Ntini at the other end. He hit the winning run with his half century.  The Proteas with this win could also won the series by 3-2. 

People in the crowd wept, unable to cope with the frenzied atmosphere and couldn’t believe they were there at the greatest one-day ever.  Tony Greig, back in his homeland, who was commentating, choked back with emotion.  He loves seeing Australians beaten by any team. 

 A taxi driver stopped picking up passengers, and a newspaper reporter working day and night sending reports, texting as the adrenaline was soaring in the stadium. There was a national celebration in the Rainbow Nation.

EARLY DAYS 

Boucher made his first class debut in 1995-96 for the Proteas and by a freak accident he made his debut in international cricket in playing a Test at Sheikhpura, Pakistan on Oct.17, 1997 when the regular wicket keeper Dave Richardson was injured at the last minute.  And then had to wait for a brief period before he had to earn national colours.  He had to force himself into reckoning into the national team with a record breaking 9th wicket partnership of 185 runs with Pat Symcox in the very next test at Johannesburg in 1998  to stake a permanent berth in the South African team. 

And 75 tests at a trot , he was the main fulcrum of the Proteas team before he was dropped for Indian tour in 2004 for a brief 4 tests and after that he never looked back till his retirement again a freak accident forced him to retire.  When he was playing in a tour game against Somerset in the 2012 England  series of the Proteas, their ace spinner Imran Tahir bowled a Somerset’s batsman and the bail hit him on his eyes as he was not wearing a helmet or glasses.  He was rushed to the hospital for surgery and he called it quits from International cricket. 

WICKET KEEPING

IN TESTS

His exploits behind the wickets for the South Africans was unparalleled as he went on to create more records for himself and for the country.  In his fourth test at Port of Elizabeth in 1998 against Pakistan , he made a mark  behind the wickets by snatching 6 catches and helped his team to win over Pakistan and  his next stop in England in 1998 he had 26 dismissals including one stumping was a fantastic achievement.   In the very first year of selection in 1998, a record of 65 catches and 2 stumpings behind the wickets  in TESTS was a testament of his wicket keeping ability.  

IN ODIs

In One day games he has a record of 403 catches and 22 stumpings.  Some of his best keeping exploits are :

  • 5 catches in Feb.2000 at Johannesburg Vs England in a low key match
  • 5 catches in April , 2000 Vs Australia
  • 5 catches On 6 November, 2005

He was involved in 3 World cups and did a decent job.

HEAD COACH JOB

During last year, there was turmoil in Cricket South Africa (CSA) board.CSA Board to step down in the wake of a full blown crisis  involving management , player and media relations and of course financial affairs.   And as an antidote, there was a revamp in the helm of CSA. As a first step Greame Smith , former captain was appointed as Director and he was given the task of appointing new coaches.  And Smith chose Mark Boucher as Head coach, who with his vast experience as wicket keeper and having played 147 Tests . Greame Smith and Boucher  both legends who played together for over 75 matches, were given the task of rebuilding and gaining the confidence of the public.  

And the results are encouraging as there was a change of guard in the Captainship.  Faf was retained as Captain in the Test and for the shorter formats the present wicket keeper batsman Quinton de Kock was chosen to head.

“England are a  step ahead of not only us, but quite a few different teams in world cricket,” Boucher said, after the team’s defeat in the third T20 at Newlands”. A candid statement indeed conceding the general refrain among the Coaching staff.

BOUCHER’s UNENVIABLE RECORDS

Format  Matches  Runs  Average   100s   HS     Catches    Stumpings 

 Tests       147       5515     30.30        5       125      532            23

  ODIs       295      4686     28.57         1       147      403           22

T20Is          25        268                       –          36        18              1

He also played in IPL for 4 seasons from 2008.

  • Quickest 100 dismissals in International cricket
  • Most innings without conceding bye
  • 75 tests continuous appearance
  • Second top score as a Night watchman with 125 runs in Tests
  • 2nd fastest century in ODIs( off 44 balls)

His  532 catches is a world record in Tests and still holds good.

USA LEAGUE CRICKET

USA LEAGUE CRICKET

HIGHLIGHTS

  • KKR CEO Venky Mysore opens up about Knight Riders’ association with Major League Cricket in the US
  • Mysore said Major League Cricket will be launched in 2022 with 6 city-based teams
  • Knight Riders likely to be associated with Los Angeles-based team

Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore said the Knight Riders group will play an active role in helping build USA’s Major Cricket League, expected to launch in 2022. Mysore said that the proposed league will aim to make the sports lovers in the United States follow cricket rather than depending only on the strong South Asian diaspora in the country.

The Knight Riders group, co-owned by Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, announced their foray into Major League Cricket as they joined hands with American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) for a stake in the league. Venky Mysore, speaking to Sports Today on Tuesday, said the association is long term and the Knight Riders will play the role of a consultant in developing the 6-team league.

Venky Mysore pointed out that the United States is second only to India when it comes to digital consumption of the IPL and they are keen on tapping the potential with 6 city-based teams in the United States.

“When you look at the sports market in the US, it’s the No. 1 media market in the world. Cricket is the 2nd most consumed sport in the whole world. So when you put those 2 together, you say ‘I have got the ingredients to make it work’,” Mysore said.

“Will the so-called diaspora support it sufficiently? The answer is yes. It’s a very affluent diaspora, somewhere estimated to be 7 to 10 million. If the digital content consumption of IPL is studied, next to India, the No. 2 consumers of IPL’s digital content is the US.

“From a distance, they are consuming IPL content, then if it’s happening in their backyard, can we get them excited enough to come to the stadium and watch it?

“I think if the league is going to be built only on the basis of the diaspora, I don’t think it can grow and sustain in the long run. My thought process is we need to build a league to make an American sports lover start taking to cricket. And for that to happen, you need the American sports investor to get involved with this. That is what is exciting about this venture.”

Venky Mysore said work has already begun to get the league underway, at least with three world-class facilities, in 2022. The KKR CEO said that they are already in talks with city councils in the United States to establish high-quality infrastructure and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Los Angeles Knight Riders at Major League Cricket?

“The difference between this model and any other models that we are familiar with is that we become part owners of the league. The role that they are expecting us to play is a consulting role as well. In addition to being stakeholders, they want us to help them build USA cricket, they want us to build academies and help them at the grassroots level,” Mysore said.

“On the major league side, the launch of the league is crucial but the infrastructure is going to be crucial. When you are talking about 6 franchises, and 6 full-fledged, world-class stadiums, the conversations have already started with the city councils.

“And there is already talk about us potentially putting our franchise in Los Angeles. There could be LA Knight Riders, there is a LA Lakers who are also Purple and Gold so it all comes together.

“There is a very strong sports culture there. In terms of sequence, what is going to happen is that there is going to be a substantial fund-raising which will take place in the next 6-8 months where somewhere between $75 million to $100 million is going to be raised. Very confidently, we are feeling that the investor group will be able to raise that.

“And that money is going to be used to put the six stadiums together. The city councils are already excited, they are asking us how much land we want. They are talking about low-cost financing.

“The Major League launch will likely happen in 2022. Potentially, it will happen in 3 stadiums (Fort Lauderdale, one in Morristown and a stadium in Dallas), parallelly, the other three will be getting ready. So in 2023, you will see 6 city-based proper world-class infrastructure is ready.”

Knight Riders group already are associated with 2 franchises — KKR in the IPL and the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League.

OPTUS STADIUM, PERTH

OPTUS STADIUM, PERTH- THE BEST STADIUM

Photo courtesy :  Optus Stadium

 Stadium History

 The “Optus “ a Telecom company secured the naming rights of the stadium and hence called “Optus” stadium.  For cricket purposes, it is still called Perth stadium, Australia.

The multi-purpose stadium  opened in Jan.2018 also hosts events like Concerts And live shows, and games like Cricket, Rugby league besides Soccer (AFL) and private events also.

AFL (Australian Football League) was the most highly attended event in2018 with 1.3 million watching the game.

Around 120000 were at Ed Sheeran’s 2 shows, Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour concert  attracted 48,405 fans.  Cricket also attracted 81,000 for the Test match between India & Australia in Dec. 2018.

2 Million people attended major sport and entertainment events at the Stadium in 2018 with a gate receipt of  $129 million.

The stadium also hosted Manchester United Australia Tour playing its  two matches 

In July 2019 with Perth Glory and Leeds United attracting 1,00,000 fans and 

The Stadium was decorated with Red lights.

The most stunning beautiful Optus  stadium bagged the prestigious 2019 Prix Versailles International Architecture Award for the Most beautiful stadium in the world and also won Australia’s Best stadium In 2019 stadium Awards, winning by public vote on the Austadiums website.

The stadium hosted its first  international cricket Test match on 14th Dec.2018 when India Played its 2nd Test here and Australia won this test by 146 runs.

FACILITIES 

  • 5 drop-in wickets
  • 16 Outdoor practice wickets
  • Playing surface 177 m x 141 cm
  • 60000 seats capacity
  • Sight screens positioned to reduce impact on fan views 
  • 2 dedicated player viewing rooms with direct access to changing rooms and playing surface
  • More than 50 food and beverage outlets
  • The Locker room offers fans the opportunity to watch the players warm up and view the post-match media conference
  • The Skyview lounge is located underneath a super screen.  Patrons can stand and watch an event 
  • The Riverview Rooms on the western end provide spectacular views across Swan River and can operate independently or combined accommodating a total of 1200 people in one connected space.
  • 50 hectares of ground level parking and 12.5 hectares additional land for a multi-storey car park
  • Optus stadium caters for everyone regardless of age, experience or ability
  • Individuals requiring Universal Access (IRUA) features of the stadium :-

                * 360 degree view across all general admission levels

                *    IRUA seating throughout the stadium

                *     Over 60 Universal accessible toilets

  • 12 Lifts throughout the system
  • First aid services are available for all patrons
  • The stadium has been built with integrated train, bus and pedestrian solutions to provide spectators with multiple transport options.   Perth stadium train station gives fans easy access to the venue
  • 450 wheelchair positions and 327 Enhanced Amenity seating for people that have mobility requirements that are not available in wheel chairs.
  • State-of-art team facilities include an indoor cricket warm-up and practice wicket for each team
  • Secure access from changing rooms to indoor & outdoor practice wickets
  • Ice baths & Spas to maximise player recovery
  • Media facilities that have the ability to accommodate an increased international contingent for major tests or ODIs.
  • Opportunity to use drop-in seats on East and West boundaries to bring fans closer to the action

DROP-IN WICKETS

Drop-in wickets have been used in Australia since 1996 and are currently in use at MCG, Spotless stadium, Sydney, Ethiad stadium, Melbourne & Adelaide Oval and now in Perth.  A proto type drop-in tray and wicket has been developed with the same soil profile and grass as the current WACA ground cricket.  Following successful completion of the testing phase, an additional 4 drop-in cricket wickets were produced and the footings installed in the stadium playing surface.

There is no roof in the arena.  A big video screen is installed.

Area dimension : 165 m x 130 m

There is no public parking on event days.

2 million people attended major sport and entertainment events at Optus stadium in 2018 in the inaugural year with the revenue $ 129 million economic benefit.  AFL was most highly attended event in 2018 with 1.3 m watching the game.  A total of 1,20,979 at Ed Sheeran’s 2 shows and Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour attracted 48,405 fans.

India Versus Australia Test cricket in Dec.2018 also attracted  a crowd of 81,104 for the test.  And Aus & England ODI a record attendance of 53,781 spectators for a single day cricket.