I’m crackers about Christmas cricket. Last week reports surfaced that Cricket Australia are looking at the prospect of Christmas Eve Big Bash cricket being played in Melbourne – and possibly even Christmas Day Big Bash cricket.
Regular listeners to the Australian Cricket Podcast will be aware that I have been banging on about wanting Christmas day cricket for years. All throughout my childhood the traditional Christmas Day fare of ham and turkey was just an entrée before the feast that is the Boxing Day Test began.
Recently in adulthood my desire for Christmas cricket has intensified, particularly with the advent of the Big Bash.
Why can’t I wash my turkey down with a fun T20 game and perhaps a few family giggles? Currently almost every summer night is livened up by Big Bash games except on two crucial evenings: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Without the razzle dazzle of the Big Bash, those nights seem laborious, empty and downright depressing.
I am very surprised that there has been so much resistance to the idea. This is a golden chance for cricket to make an even more dramatic imprint on the Australian summer.
Cricket Australia only needs to look at the success the NBA has had in the USA playing on Christmas Day.
The NBA played five games last Christmas day and it is seen as the unofficial ‘real’ start to the season.
Ratings for adults aged between 18 and 49 on the NBA Christmas Day games ranked first, second and third in viewership.
The NFL played two games last year on Christmas Day and only twelves games on Christmas Eve. On Thanksgiving Day, which in America is comparable to Christmas Day here, NFL games have been a tradition since 1920.
I am convinced the target market of the Big Bash, young families, would love to kick back and wind down with a Big Bash game on the TV and the familiar tones of Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting.
Financially it could be a massive windfall for Cricket Australia. Heck, with our divisive multitude of football codes a Christmas day cricket match could turn into our version of the ‘Superbowl’. Advertisers would be queuing up with celebrity ads, we could have a half time show and it could be a bonanza for cricket.
Crowds would flock through the gates to have a great night out with their loved ones or in some cases go with mates to get away from their families.
The only real thing seeming to stand in the way is this antiquated notion that cricket shouldn’t be played on a religious day of significance and a public holiday. Yet Australia has no official state religion and many other sectors work on Christmas day including hospitality and healthcare.
I love cricket and I love watching cricket. I want the game to do well and one thing cricket proved with the success of the Women’s Big Bash is that great things can be achieved with swift action.
It is time now for the Big Bash Headquarters to act swiftly and give me, and cricket fans all around the country, the Christmas present we want most of all.
If you want to hear me put this, and other great ideas, to the Chief of the Big Bash Anthony Everard have a listen to this episode of the Australian cricket podcast.