WSC stats officially recognised by CA
Cricket Australia announce an official statistical record of player numbers from World Series Cricket will be kept
Adam Burnett at Adelaide Oval
25 November 2015, 06:54 PM AEST
Cricket Australia today announced that the statistical records of players from World Series Cricket will be recognised in an official category of their own.
The World Series Cricket (WSC) revolution – engineered by the late Kerry Packer and kick-started in January 1978 with the first day-night match – divided the cricket world at the time but has long been remembered for its fierce battles between some of the finest players the game has seen.
They include former Australia Test captains Ian and Greg Chappell, firebrand quick Len Pascoe and South African legend Barry Richards, all of whom were at a luncheon in Adelaide today ahead of Friday's inaugural day-night Test match between Australia and New Zealand.
— Andrew Ramsey (@ARamseyCricket) November 25, 2015
"World Series Cricket was clearly some of the most competitive, high-performing international cricket ever played," said Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland.
"Given the quality of the competition, players from that era regarded strong performances in WSC as career highlights.
"Such was the impact that WSC had on the game, it's been unjust that records from that competition haven’t been formally recognised.
"So leading into this first day-night Test where we are thinking about the players who pioneered cricket under lights, we proposed adjusting our own statistical records to include performances from WSC.
The West Indies famously wore pink during World Series Cricket // Getty Images
"Going forward, players from that era will have a standalone line-item in their career statistics recognising their efforts in WSC.
"Our Board has now supported this proposal and we will have discussions with other cricket nations and the ICC in an effort to have them adopt the same position."
Ian Chappell, who scored 911 runs at 33.74 in the WSC 'Super Tests', was effusive in his praise for the decision.
"I think it’s a terrific recognition," he told cricket.com.au. "I’ve always felt that the stats should be recorded, I’ve never felt they should be on our Test records – I don’t think that’s right.
"But I’ve always felt there should be a separate category for them, and I’m glad that’s what they’ve done.
"Also I’d like to see the Rest of the World Series (played in Australia in 1971-72) again not go on the Test record but into a separate category because certainly in the case of the Rest of the World Series it was good, hard cricket of first-class level.
"And in the case of World Series Cricket it was the toughest cricket that I’ve ever played."
On Tuesday night at Adelaide Oval, Cricket Australia re-enacted the first ball bowled under lights in WSC, with Pascoe bowling to Richards, and the latter recalled afterwards just how high the standard was throughout the series.
Len Pascoe and Barry Richards re-enact the first ball under lights // Getty Images
"It's the hardest cricket I've played, and I mean I sometimes now watch Bangladesh playing Zimbabwe and it looks like club cricket (in comparison)," he told 'Stumps' on cricket.com.au.
"Those Super Tests – 'Chappelli' (Ian Chappell) wouldn't give you an inch, didn't ask for one either I might add, and that was one of his traits. He played it hard, had a beer with you afterwards and he didn't ask for anything and didn't want you to give him anything.
"He played hard cricket, so did Clive Lloyd. So it was very tough cricket."
Richards played five WSC Super Tests, scoring 565 runs at 62.78, and paralleled this generation's experience with the first day-night Test match with his and his contemporaries' trailblazing ways of yesteryear.
"It's exactly the same thing – except that they've had a couple of practices; Kerry just told us to get on and play," he laughed.
"Times were a little bit different then, but it was a challenge, as this will be and as it should be, but let's hope it works, because if it does it will give a nice boost to Test cricket."
Chappell said the recognition was especially fitting for such unsung heroes as former Redbacks paceman Wayne Prior, and ex-West Australian batsman Bruce Laird.
Dennis Lillee showing his support for World Series Cricket // Getty Images
"It was very important (to recognise this cricket) for guys like Wayne Prior in particular, who was a damn fine bowler and had a terrific record for South Australia," he added.
"The other guy that I thought of immediately when I heard that the figures were being recognised was Bruce Laird.
"Bruce Laird never made a Test century but he made one of the best and a very important century for Australia at Trinidad (in 1979), and he made at least one other century during World Series Cricket.
"The fact that is going to be recognised is very important.
"It was such a good innings that when he played it – and we were 5-32 at one point when he went on to make 122 – that night we went into the West Indies dressing room for a beer after he’d made the hundred, and Roy Fredericks (former West Indies opener) called me aside, and as an opener Roy obviously appreciated the innings.
"And he said to me: 'Ian, just tell Bruce I wish I’d played that innings' – that’s how significant that innings was.
"So for that to now get recognition is very important, and I know Bruce is a very popular player for all those who played with him and all the guys who played after who met him, they all think the world of Bruce Laird and we’ll all be delighted that it’s now going to be recognised."