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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Australian Women's Cricket team does not exist.

Yes, shock horror - there is no such thing as the "Australian Women's Cricket Team".

This is despite the fact that the Southern Highland News correctly told us on Friday that there was to be the first-ever Ashes match played at the Bradman Oval.

The Opposition is clearly "the old enemy - England" That much is understood, OK?

Incidentally, the photos are of England's star player, and Player of the Match, Isa Guha. She was clearly the stand-out player, and deserves her place in these photographs.
But back to the main topic of this blog posting: who is "our team"?
Are you confused?

Well so am I , and hundreds of other spectators were too. Especially the many former Australian Women's Cricket team players who assembled under the trees at the picturesque Bradman Oval, over the last four days. There is no longer any such entity as the "Australian Women's Cricket Team". What we have is the "Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars".
Who or what are they?
If you asked the average member of the public what the "Southern Stars" were you would not get a sensible answer, well nothing to do with Cricket, anyway, let alone Women's Cricket, I am sure. Some kind of Jazz Band would be a more likely guess. This corporate branding, to the detriment of the Australian representative aspect of the team is disgusting (in my opinion).
Isa Guha in mid-air, about to deliver a ball.
If these women like to think of themselves as representing their country, sorry, they do not! As one of the former members of the Australian Women's Cricket Team (circa 1955) told me today: "They do not have the word "Australia" on their uniforms, no Aussie flag on their shirts or jackets".

These former players, for whom having represented their country is clearly important, (even after some 50 years), are particularly caustic about this failure of recognition of Australian representation.

When I asked about this, I was told in words of few syllables, that it is to do with "Cricket Australia" being a "boy's club"; and "money". The universal symbolism of thumb rubbing over the ends of the first and second fingers, and knowing looks was about all these senior Ladies would allow themselves.
Isa Guha on her follow-through.
If you Google "Australian Women's Cricket Team" you get historical references. Go to the Cricket Australia website, and you will find photos of male cricketers. You can click the last link on the top bar - the one that says "women". That will take you to the "Women's Cricket Homepage" (a single page, please note). If you link to "Southern Stars vs England" you will find out about the "Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars". Not a word there about them representing Australia. Not a single word.

If you click on the link that says "History of Women's Cricket" you find a single page link. It tells you that:
  • "In 1995 the AWCC changed its name to Women's Cricket Australia and in 2001 merged with the Australian Cricket Board (Cricket Australia from 2003) to streamline the administration of the game in Australia and to help cricket to realise its potential to attract women and girls to the game."
  • "Cricket Australia provides the framework and support for all state associations to develop cricket for women and girls at levels ranging from junior to through to national interstate competitions at Under 17, Under 19 and Open levels."
If you are foolish enough to go to the link on "Females in Cricket" you will find an appalling bunch of Marketing "Gobbledygook" with the following headings:
  1. "Be customer driven in growing female involvement"
  2. "improve female perception and image of Cricket"
  3. "commit resources to growing female involvement in cricket" (and finally)
  4. "leverage elite women's cricket to drive broader female involvement".
Did you get all that?
I do hope you are still following me:

Item 4.2 says:
  • "raise public awareness of the Australian Women's Cricket Team" (see perhaps it does exist, after all".
And how do they propose to do that?
  • Item 4.2 (a) says:
  • "associate the men's and women's team together at key events".

Hmmm interesting.
I would have thought that the only Ashes match to be played this year would class as a "key event", wouldn't you? (Rhetorical question).

There were no members of the male Australian cricket team present at the match yesterday or today to offer some moral support to the "Australian Women's Cricket Team". Not one. It is obvious that the male-oriented Cricket Australia hierarchy simply ignore their own "marketing strategy" for promoting women's cricket.

You would think it not too hard for someone at Cricket Australia to have asked Brett Lee, who lives just down the road, at Carrington Falls to stroll over to Bowral (after all he was "rested" from the match the boys played against India in Adelaide the previous day, so he was not engaged in a conflicting match.)

Clearly this weekend's "Ashes test" was just the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, not a real Australian team.

Clearly the women do not count as far as Cricket Australia, or the Australian male players, or the mainstream Media is concerned. The ABC had a "stringer" present on Saturday and Sunday, doing live voice crosses to "ABC Grandstand", but no TV coverage on the weekend; but we did get 30 seconds of footage on tonight's TV news. Big deal! Compare that with the coverage of the Men's test matches, and the media hype, before all "Real Ashes" series.

Where was Channel 9? Ritchie Benaud? Tony Greig? He is a former captain of England after all. Where was he?

Hawkesbury FM 89.9 MHz (at Windsor) were there today, doing live crosses and updates. At least that little radio station broadcasting to Penrith, Windsor and the Hawkesbury area, and even to Bathurst, thinks that there is still an Australian Women's Cricket team. God Bless them.

The old-fashioned Scoreboard at the Bradman Oval cannot cope with "corporate branding", by the way. It does not have enough space to show "Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars". So the attendants settled for showing it as a match between England and "Australia". If only that were the case!

Incidentally, Isa Guha ended the match with a nine-wicket haul. A wonderful effort by an outstanding sportsperson - of any sex, of any nation.

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