Tag: MCG

Records broken as millions tune into cricket (LONG READ)

Indian Skipper Virat Kohli gestures after winning the 2nd test match against England
Indian Skipper Virat Kohli gestures after winning the 2nd test match against England at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on 16 Feb. 2021. (ANI Photo/BCCI Twitter)

By SAT Sports Desk

MELBOURNE, 19 February 2021: The COVID-19 pandemic came very hard on cricket. In Australia and globally it suffered. Despite this big challenge, the good news is Cricket today has come back with a vengeance with millions of fans across Australia and around the world ensuring that the men’s and women’s international and Big Bash seasons were among the most-watched on record.

With the Women’s National Cricket League, Marsh One-Day Cup, and Marsh Sheffield Shield in full swing, and the Qantas Australian men’s T20I tour of New Zealand about to commence, Cricket Australia has revealed substantial growth from across its international and T20 domestic competitions this summer.

In the 2020-21 session, all three formats of men’s international cricket increased year-on-year linear television audiences, while streaming numbers smashed all-time records;

The KFC BBL was the most-watched on record, with a total audience of 44.82 million across the tournament and increased year-on-year linear television and streaming audiences, confirming the league’s standing as Australia’s most popular domestic sporting competition on TV on a per-match basis;

The remarkable growth of women’s cricket continued with the WBBL establishing itself as Australia’s fourth most-watched sporting league – and No. 1 among female sports – while the Australian women’s national team built on the extraordinary success of its T20 World Cup campaign with recognition as Australia’s most loved sporting team.

Dettol ODIs and T20s

The men’s Dettol ODI series between Australia and India was watched by an average of 357,656 on Foxtel, up 214% on the corresponding series last year;

The inclusion of Kayo, Foxtel Now and Foxtel GO streaming numbers increased the average audience to 492,000, an increase of 77% from the most recent Australia-India series in 2018/19;

The Dettol T20I series also attracted huge levels of interest from Australian cricket lovers, with an average audience of 403,411 on STV, up 75% on last year and almost 10% up the last time India toured Australia;

The inclusion of Kayo, Foxtel Now and Foxtel Go streaming numbers increased the average audience for the Dettol T20I series to 558,000, up 77% from 2018/19.

Vodafone Test Series

The highly-anticipated Vodafone Test Series between Australia and India was the highest rating non-Ashes Test season since 2014/15, with an average linear TV audience of 1.14 million, up 4.1% on last year;

The epic four-match Border-Gavaskar series was the highest rating Test series ever on subscription television, with linear STV growing by 25%;

The average audience figures increased to 1.23 million per match with the inclusion of Kayo, Foxtel Now and Foxtel Go streaming numbers, while an incredible 28 sessions of the 31 sessions played of Test cricket had an average audience over 1 million, the most of any sport in Australia in 2020 when compared to other codes.

Commonwealth Bank Women’s International Series

The all-conquering Australian women’s team continued their extraordinary momentum from the ICC T20 World Cup, with an average linear television audience of 235,563 for the T20I series against New Zealand. The figure ensured the matches against the White Ferns represented the most-watched September series in four years, despite competing with the late-finishing winter sporting codes;

The trajectory of women’s international cricket remains incredibly strong, with television audiences increasing 400% from the 2013-2016 period to 2017-2020;
For the second year in a row, True North Research revealed the Australian Women’s Team was again Australia’s favourite team, scoring the highest Benchmark Emotional Connection Score of any national team.

Rebel WBBL

The rebel WBBL confirmed its standing as the fourth most-watched domestic competition in Australia (behind only the BBL, AFL and NRL). The 202,139 average audience was the sixth consecutive year of more than 200,000 people watching simulcast Rebel WBBL matches on Seven and Foxtel;

The total viewing hours for the competition has doubled since the tournament’s inception, with audiences growing as the schedule has expanded;
A total of 23 international players made it to Australia for the rebel WBBL, highlighting its position as one of the elite female sporting leagues in the world.

KFC BBL

The KFC BBL final between the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers attracted an average audience of over 1.4 million – the fourth most watched BBL game in the tournament’s history. That represented a 15% increase on the final of BBL|09 across Seven, Foxtel and streaming services including Kayo, Foxtel Now and Foxtel Go;

The total audience of 44.82 million across the 61-game tournament was the highest in league history – an increase of 5.9% across all platforms YoY, including linear TV growth of 1.4%;
The total audience of 5.64m across the five-game Finals series was the highest in league history – an increase of 15% on last season;

The average audience per match in KFC BBL|10 was 735,000 per game across all platforms, ensuring the Big Bash League remains the most-watched sporting league in Australia on a per-game basis. The linear TV audience of 675,000 was 9,000 higher than KFC BBL|09, while the streaming platform average of 60,000 per game represented 109% growth YoY.
Crowds

In a season where crowd numbers were severely limited by the pandemic, 858,465 people attended the cricket in 2020/21 summer;

A total of 321,962 attended men’s international matches, and 14% of Test cricket attendees did so for the first time;
More than 520,000 fans attended KFC BBL|10, while the Adelaide Oval, Gabba and Optus stadium all welcomed more than 100,000 fans this season.

Digital

A total of 3.5 million Australian users accessed the cricket.com.au site and app each month during December and January, a 6% increase on the same period last year;
In January alone, Australian users of the CA app engaged in almost 22 million sessions on CA Live, a 30% increase year-on-year;

India's Mayank Agarwal during the practice session
India’s Mayank Agarwal during the practice session ahead of the first test match against England at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.(ANI Photo)

Views on the cricket.com.au YouTube channel have increased 101% worldwide and 20% in Australia year-on-year, with subscriber numbers soaring 57% to 7.85m;
More than 18,000 pieces of content have been produced this year for 4.6 billion impressions, 1.87 billion video views and 110 million interactions on cricket’s social media channels;
A single piece of WBBL content, (Tahlia McGrath’s incredible catch), has been viewed almost 20 million times across all platforms;

CA’s integrated content drove more than 218m off-platform video views.
International broadcast

The Australian and Indian series captivated our Indian audience via the Sony Sports Network, with the cumulative reach for the Test series at a massive 75.8 million viewers.
The total cumulative reach across the Vodafone Test Series, the Dettol ODI Series and the Dettol T20I Series reached more than 110 million viewers in India.

Cricket Australian launched an OTT partnership with LIVENow into Mainland Europe and SE Asia, taking the Summer of Cricket coverage into over 50 countries in an innovative new way, with encouraging interest across a number of markets, with Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore and Hong Kong amongst the standouts.

Commercial partnerships

Despite the adverse commercial climate brought on by the pandemic, CA is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of our commercial partners, which included 13 sponsorship renewals and new partners over the past 12 months;
Rexona joined Vodafone, Dettol, and Cadbury as new partners to cricket.

Cricket Cares

Cricket Cares, Cricket Australia’s community action program, raised much needed awareness and funds for charities all across Australia, headlined by the McGrath Foundation, Movember and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation;

More than 130 community clubs signed up the Movember Cricket Association to raise awareness around men’s mental health, raising more than $270,000 for Movember;

The Vodafone Pink Test experienced a record-breaking year with more than $3 million raised for the McGrath Foundation off the back of the Virtual Seat Campaign, an increase of almost $1 million from the previous record set in. More than 150,000 seats were bought around the world.

Community Cricket

Despite the pandemic’s impact on the season starting, Australian Cricket has worked with thousands of volunteers around the country to get cricket underway in a COVIDsafe environment;
Cricket Australia launched its game changing partnership with PlayHQ for the development of a digital platform which will revolutionise the way volunteers run cricket clubs, with the potential to save hundreds of hours a year per volunteer.

While indoor cricket and school competitions have been impacted by the pandemic, the Woolworths Cricket Blast program already has a higher participation rate than last year and more girls playing Blast than ever before.

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO, says, “For nearly 150 years, cricket has brought Australians together through periods of adversity,” Hockley said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been no different. Despite the many challenges, cricket fans in Australia and around the world watched, listened, streamed, clicked, read and attended cricket matches in astonishing numbers – and we are grateful to every one of them.

“We hope everyone is continuing to enjoy the Marsh One-Day Cup, Marsh Sheffield Shield and WNCL and look forward to welcoming everyone back for a huge men’s and women’s Ashes summer next season which, we all hope, will be played in front of full crowds.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for pulling together to make cricket happen this season. From players, staff and match officials, to our friends at New Zealand Cricket and the BCCI, each of the State and Territory Cricket Associations, the Australian Cricketers’ Association, our supportive governments and world class venues, our valued broadcast and commercial partners, fans of all ages, and the thousands of players and volunteers who kept cricket going at community level.

“The 2020-21 season will forever be remembered for the spirit of cooperation, challenges overcome and thrilling cricket across all formats.”

Source- Cricket Australia media release, February 19, 2021.

Merv Hughes inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

Merv

MELBOURNE, 2 February 2021: Former Australian fast-bowler and one of the most recognizable characters in world cricket, Merv Hughes, has been inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

An integral part of Australian cricket’s return to the top of the Test Cricket rankings, Hughes’ career spanned 53 Tests and 33 ODIs for Australia from 1985-94, taking 212 Test wickets at an average of 28.38.

His career-best figures of 8-87 against the West Indies at the WACA in 1988 included the final wicket of a hat-trick spread across three separate overs, two innings and two different days. It was the first ball of what would be a big-hearted effort to hold up the frontline pace attack single-handedly after losing his opening partner Geoff Lawson to a broken jaw. It is a performance that illustrates a man who gave everything for his country when called upon.

A Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1994, Hughes also represented Victoria, Essex, and the ACT over a First-Class career spanning 14 seasons. He first came to the notice of State selectors in the late 1970s through his performances playing premier cricket for Footscray at a ground that would one day bear his name. In 2005, Hughes became a selector for the Australian cricket team, a role he would hold through until 2010.

While Hughes’ statistics alone speak to a great career, it is difficult to view his impact and influence on the game on statistics alone. Standing at 6’4” in the old-scale, Hughes was an Australian cricket cultural icon.

His bristling handlebar moustache, menacing run-up and displays of affection for his teammates made him a favourite for a generation of cricket fans. The affection for Hughes was most fondly manifested when fielding at fine-leg in front of the fans in the then Bay 13 at the MCG, who would imitate his warm-up stretches en-masse.

Hughes’ influence on the game goes beyond showmanship – he was a cricketer and a character that drew people to cricket and made them love the sport. And underneath it all, he is a deep-thinker of the game who continues to be a mentor to future generations.

Peter King, Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Chairman, said:

“Merv Hughes was an icon of the Australian summer for so many of us, a larger-than-life personality, a wonderful international cricketer, an ambassador for the sport and a deserved inductee into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame,” he said.

“A lion-hearted competitor, Merv boasts a proud career for Victoria and Australia in the Test and One Day International arenas, paving the way for an incredible era of Australian cricketing dominance.

“Even as synonymous as his on-field record, Merv will be forever remembered as a fan-favourite and his iconic warm-ups close to the boundary, especially at the MCG, that prompted bays of spectators to join in with him at stadiums all over the country.

“He has left his legacy on the sport in post-career mentorship with modern-day teams, administrations roles as a National Selector and the heartbeat of Australian cricket. The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is delighted to recognise Merv Hughes.”

Greg Dyer, former teammate and Australian Cricketers’ Association Chair, said:”

“A thoroughly deserved accolade for one of the most wholehearted cricketers of the 1980′s and 90′s. A fine fast bowler – quick and nasty in the best traditions of the breed,” he said.

“Merv gave it everything he had on the field, from the first ball to the last. You certainly knew you were in a contest if you were playing against him and you had a teammate prepared to deliver an absolute 100 per cent effort if you had him on your side.

“In the changeroom, he had a well-deserved reputation as a complete pest – but notwithstanding – he was someone who made that place a significantly better place to be. Congratulations Merv, on this wonderful honour.”

Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia Chair, said:

“Merv Hughes is an Australian sporting legend who was one of the greatest bowlers to have played our national game,” he said.

“He gave everything he had to try and help his team to win, coupled with his enthusiastic theatrics on the pitch and his love for the game he will always be warmly remembered as the big-hearted fast-bowler and larrikin who demolished batting line-ups all over the world.

“I couldn’t think of a more well-deserved inductee into the Australian Cricket Hall of fame, who now joins an elite group of individuals who have given so much to the game we all love.”

About the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame

The Australian Cricket Hall of Fame was first proposed by the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1995.
With the support of Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria, the Hall of Fame was officially opened by the then Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable John Howard MP in 1996.

The selection philosophy for the hall of fame focuses on the players’ status as sporting legends in addition to their outstanding statistical records.

The selection panel is made up of representatives from all levels of cricket. Chaired by the current MCC Cricket Chairman, three former players are joined by the respective CEOs of Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, along with two representatives from the media.

All inductees must have been retired from international cricket for a minimum of five years to be eligible for selection.

An inaugural group of ten players were inducted in 1996, and a further 44 players have been welcomed since:

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Inducted 1996 – Fred Spofforth, John Blackham, Victor Trumper, Clarrie Grimmett, Bill Ponsford, Sir Donald Bradman, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall and Dennis Lillee
Inducted 2000 – Warwick Armstrong, Neil Harvey and Allan Border
Inducted 2001 – Bill Woodfull and Arthur Morris
Inducted 2002 – Stan McCabe and Greg Chappell
Inducted 2003 – Lindsay Hassett and Ian Chappell
Inducted 2004 – Hugh Trumble and Alan Davidson
Inducted 2005 – Clem Hill and Rod Marsh
Inducted 2006 – Monty Noble and Bob Simpson
Inducted 2007 – Charles Macartney and Richie Benaud
Inducted 2008 – George Giffen and Ian Healy
Inducted 2009 – Steve Waugh
Inducted 2010 – Bill Lawry and Graham McKenzie
Inducted 2011 – Mark Taylor and Doug Walters
Inducted 2012 – Shane Warne
Inducted 2013 – Charlie Turner and Glenn McGrath
Inducted 2014 – Mark Waugh and Belinda Clark
Inducted 2015 – Adam Gilchrist and Jack Ryder
Inducted 2016 – Jeff Thomson and Wally Grout
Inducted 2017 – David Boon, Matthew Hayden and Betty Wilson
Inducted 2018 – Norm O’Neill, Ricky Ponting and Karen Rolton
Inducted 2019 – Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Dean Jones and Billy Murdoch
Inducted 2020 – Sharon Tredrea and Craig McDermott

SELECTION PANEL
ACHOF chairman and current MCC committee member Peter King
Former Test captain Belinda Clark
Former Test captain Mark Taylor
Former Test batsman and former MCC President Paul Sheahan
Australian Cricketers’ Association Interim CEO Joe Connellan
Cricket Australia Interim CEO Nick Hockley
Media representatives Ben Horne and Greg Baum

Source- @CricketAustralia

Blockbuster Australia-India men’s series to enthrall Cricket lovers

Australia-vs-India

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 29 October 2020: Diwali, Australia-India men’s series, Xmas, New Year eve and much more will enthrall in the post-COVID-19 scenario. India- Australia exciting Cricket, no doubt, has always been a blockbuster. The eagerly anticipated Vodafone Test series, Dettol ODI Series, and Dettol Twenty20 International Series between the Australian and Indian men’s teams schedule has been confirmed.

The battle for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will begin with a day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval on December 17, followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7), and the Gabba (January 15).

The Adelaide fixture will be the first day-night Test played between the Australian and Indian men’s teams, adding historic significance to a series between two of cricket’s greatest rivals.

Neither side has lost a day-night Test previously, with the Australian men’s team winning all four twilight Tests in Adelaide against New Zealand, South Africa, England, and Pakistan, and India winning its only encounter at Eden Gardens versus Bangladesh in 2019.

The Australian men’s team is currently ranked No. 1 on the International Cricket Council’s Test standings, however, India will be buoyed by the knowledge it has won three of the previous four series against Australia, including a first-ever series win on Australian soil in 2018-19.

The men’s international summer will commence with the three-match Dettol ODI Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground (November 27, 29) and Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 2). That will be followed by the three-match Dettol T20 International Series at Manuka Oval, Canberra (December 4) and the Sydney Cricket Ground (December 6, 8).

mcg16Jan2016
Photo- SAT

Both white ball series will be keenly contested. The Australian men’s team is fresh from an away ODI series win over world champions England, while India holds a slight edge over its rival in the 50-over format with a 12-10 win-loss record against Australia over the past five years.

The Australian men’s team is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in the ICC’s T20I rankings and posted a thrilling 2-0 away series win over India last year. India, however, holds a 5-4 win-loss advantage over Australia in its past ten T20I matches.

Nick Hockley, CA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, thanked the Board of Control for Cricket in India for working constructively with Cricket Australia despite the challenging coronavirus pandemic.

“Across all three formats, Australia and India represents one of the great rivalries in world sport and we are delighted to welcome Virat Kohli’s outstanding squad to Australian shores this summer,” Hockley said.

“We have worked closely with the BCCI for many months to bring this tour to life, and I cannot speak more highly of the professional, thorough and collaborative manner with which they have approached this tour in these extraordinary and complex times.

“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone at the BCCI for the faith and support they have shown in the plan we have developed, which we believe will result in a safe and successful summer for all involved.

“We would also like to especially thank the NSW Government for allowing players from both teams to safely prepare during quarantine, as well as other governments and health authorities who have worked with us to host a series which, I have no doubt, will live long in the memories of all who experience it.

“I would also like to thank everyone across Australian cricket and our valued partners for working tirelessly to navigate through the challenges to deliver a schedule that will bring joy and excitement to hundreds of millions of fans at home and abroad.

“The safety of the Australian community and all participants is our highest priority and we will continue to work with governments across Australia to ensure the schedule proceeds in line with relevant directions and biosecurity protocols. In relation to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, we are working with the Victorian Government and the Melbourne Cricket Club on plans to safely host spectators at the iconic event with details to be confirmed in due course.”

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism, and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said: “The NSW Government is pleased to support Cricket Australia and ensure that Australians get to see a Summer of cricket.”

NSW Acting Minister for Sport, Geoff Lee said: “We can’t wait to host one of the world’s best teams for a terrific summer of cricket with the SCG ready to host the third test in January. NSW loves its cricket and we are so pleased we could work hand in hand with Cricket Australia to make this series happen.”

In addition to the international fixtures, CA can also confirm dates for tour matches ahead of the Vodafone Test series. India A will take on Australia A at Drummoyne Oval (December 6-8), and India will play Australia A in a day-night match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (December 11-13).

India’s squad will arrive in Sydney on November 12 subject to Australian Border Force travel authorization and the appropriate departure-approvals. The team will quarantine in Sydney prior to the first match of the series on November 27.

Dettol ODI Series v India                                                                                                          

First ODI: Friday, November 27 – Sydney Cricket Ground (Day-Night)

Second ODI: Sunday, November 29 – Sydney Cricket Ground (Day-Night)

Third ODI: Wednesday, December 2 – Manuka Oval, Canberra (Day-Night)

Dettol T20 INTL Series v India

First T20: Friday, December 4 – Manuka Oval, Canberra (Night)

Second T20: Sunday, December 6 – Sydney Cricket Ground (Night)

Third T20: Tuesday, December 8 – Sydney Cricket Ground (Night)

Vodafone Test Series v India

First Test: December 17-21 – Adelaide Oval (Day-Night)

Second Test: December 26-30 – Melbourne Cricket Ground

Third Test: January 7-11 – Sydney Cricket Ground

Fourth Test: January 15-19 – The Gabba, Brisbane

Team India’s T20I, ODI and Test squads for Tour of Australia

The All-India Senior Selection Committee met via video-conference on 26 October 2020 to select the Indian Cricket Team for the upcoming Tour of Australia. Team India will take part in three T20Is, three ODIs, and four Test matches against Australia.

Team India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy

Team India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur

Team India Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj

Four additional bowlers – Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T. Natarajan – will travel with the Indian contingent.

The BCCI Medical Team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma, says the BCCI at its site.

*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements.

MCG to host Boxing Day Test 2020 with capped 25,000 spectators

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MCG. Photo: SAT/NN

By SAT Sports Desk

MELBOURNE, 28 October 2020: The traditional Boxing Day Test (BDT) will be held this year (2020) with a quarter of its spectator capacity. The 31
st, consecutive Boxing Day Test will be played at the MCG in December, underscoring Melbourne’s unique standing in world cricket and backed by a new contract between the ground’s manager and Cricket Australia.

The three-year contract was confirmed as Cricket Australia today unveiled its summer schedule – Melbourne’s iconic December 26-30 fixture will be the second of four Test matches to be played between Tim Paine’s Australians and Virat Kohli’s Indian team.

The Victorian Government, MCC, and Cricket Australia will develop a rigorous COVIDSafe plan based on the most up-to-date public health advice to enable a limited number of fans to safely attend the Test this year. Crowd numbers will be confirmed closer to the match but will be capped at around 25,000 spectators.

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the most fiercely contested in cricket and world number-one Australia will be seeking to take it back from the visitors this summer. India won the last Boxing Day Test played between the two sides, in 2018 when victory confirmed it would retain the trophy.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula “Melbourne is Australia’s unchallenged sporting and events capital and the Boxing Day Test is one of the cornerstones of our renowned annual calendar.”

This has been a tough year and it will be just a reward for many to have the opportunity to watch the Aussies take on India at our cathedral of sport. And to have the fixture locked in until 2022 is fantastic.”

Australia is scheduled to play home series against England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022, ensuring a mouth-watering menu of international cricket for Melbourne and Victoria.

Melbourne Cricket Club chief executive Stuart Fox says, “The MCG hosted the first-ever Test match in 1877 and holds a special place in the heart of cricket fans – we’re excited to be welcoming the Indian team this year and England and South Africa in the summers to follow.”

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950, against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year – 1989 – which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the ground.

Cricket Australian chairman Earl Eddings says, “Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG hosted Australia’s win in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final – we can’t wait to host another iconic match at the MCG.”

The Boxing Day Test joins a long list of marquee sporting events under contract to Victoria. The AFL Grand Final will be played at the MCG until at least 2058 while the Australian Open is locked in at Melbourne Park for another 16 years – until 2036.

Long-term contracts for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park (2025) and Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island (2026) is also in place.

The Indian Hockey Team’s Gold Medal winning feat at the 16th Olympics in Melbourne 1956 can be felt at the MCG Library

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(Left) The Indian winning team after getting their medal. (Right) The result of the Melbourne Olympics 1956 in ‘The Official Report of the Organizing Committee for the games of the 16 Olympiad Melbourne 1956” in the MCG Library. PHOTOS: SAT/NN.

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 1 August 2020: Last year (18 January 2019) while covering the 3rd ODI between Australia and India at the MCG, I decided to visit a place in the MCG which most Cricket fans don’t go or are not aware of. And, this was the MCG Library. After a long walk with my ex-HT colleague Ashok Kumar (from Sydney), we reached this neat and defining intellectual hub full of thousands of books, magazines, publications, and friendly staff.

An exhibition of sorts of memorabilia from different Australia-India Cricket encounters were taking place with few people around. But I was interested in something else – some material on India’s Gold Medal winning team in the Melbourne Olympics, 1956. Yes, those were the days and Indian Hockey was in its glory. The MCG Library is a library of all sporting stuff, not just cricket.

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MCG Library. Photo-MCG LIbrary Facebook page.

The rather nostalgic and historic details of India’s Hockey Gold and the tournament in this volume are as follows:

There were three groups of teams – Group A – India, Singapore, Afghanistan and USA, Group B- Gt. Britain & N. Ireland, Australia, Malaya and Kenya and the last Group C had Pakistan, Germany, New Zealand and Belgium. The winner of Groups A & B, and the 1st & 2nd team in Group C qualified for the Semi-finals.

In the Semi-finals India defeated Germany 1-0 and Pakistan defeated Great Britain & N. Ireland 3-2.

And, in the final India defeated Pakistan 1-0 (Half-time – 0-0).

The Indian team consisted of – S. Laxman, Baksish Singh, R. S. Gentle (Captain), L. W. Claudius, Amir Kumar, G. Perumal, Raghbir Lal, Gaurdev Singh, Balbir Singh and R. S. Bhola.

The Pakistan team consisted of – H. Zakir, A. Munir, M. H. Atif, Gulam Rasul, A Anwar, H. Mussarat, Noor Alam, A Hamid, R. Habib, A Nasir and Ullah Muti.

The Refrees were: M. G. Cowlishaw (Gt. Britain & N. Ireland) and J. McDowell (Australia).

FINAL PLACINGS: 1. India, 2. Pakistan, 3. Germany, 4. GT Britain and N. Ireland, 5. Australia and 6. New Zealand.

Lastly, India scored 36 goals in the tournament and no goal was scored against it. Pakistan scored 7 goals and 1 goal was scored against it. Germany scored 5 goals and 4 were scored against it.

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PHOTO-MCG Library

Well, there is much more in this library which needs to be told. One can research endless topics here. This vintage stuff, I feel, needs to be digitalized for posterity. Hope the MCC/MCG management looks into this need or has it started?

The Library founded in 1873, has been described as one of the best sport-related collections in the world. The collection consists of some 100,000 monographs, periodicals, newspapers, programs and ephemera, and microfilms, videotapes/DVDs, and CD-ROMs. We are also told there are around 30,000 books and all are not on display.

Meanwhile, we could hear the noise from the MCG stands as India was moving towards victory. Reluctantly, me and my friend moved back to the media room. I am sure next time you go to see a match at the MCG, a visit to the MCG Library will also be a priority.