THE EDITOR, Sir:
Kerry Packer, who died in December 2005, changed the game of cricket forever. He transformed the game from being an event for spectators to a media event. All this started over a conflict for television rights.
Packer's aim was to secure broadcasting rights for Australian Cricket and entered into a long battle with the global cricket establishment, and eventually in 1977 started the Packer World Series Cricket, with all the leading teams in the world, and then commenced to broadcast these games on his television station.
As a result, the game of Tennyson, Wordsworth, and Shelly, Grace, Bradman, and Headley gave way to a contemporisation that is still evolving.
Cricket is moving away from the five-day game, which characterises orthodoxy and which encourages sonnets to the square cut, the glance, and the cover drive. A game that brings back fond memories of Everton Weekes delighting in the rising ball, cutting it square and clean, or Frank Worrell, by the account of John Arlott, playing an innings of purple-hued splendour.
Now, we go to a game of innovation which is more in keeping with the times we live in.
A new game with strokes made for the occasion and tailored to accelerate the score as quickly as is possible under the circumstances. This is surely the game for the masses, who no longer have the patience to tolerate the nuances of a game lasting over five days. The Test match is an anachronism in a world dominated by things computerised. The trajectory for Tests is downwards, so let us sing an ode to the five-day game and record for posterity the days when there was beauty in the flighted ball, the bowling of a maiden, and five men at stoop in a slip cordon with two more at leg slip for good measure.