Cricket Australia Preparing For Glut Of Games Aiming To Boost Sport's Popularity
A series of one-day matches in Zimbabwe against "the hosts and South Africa marks the start of the busiest season ever for Australian cricket, in all its various forms, genders and levels," according to Ron Reed of the HERALD SUN. Cricketer Michael Clarke and Australian coach Darren Lehmann and company "assembled in Brisbane over the weekend for a training camp and for some of them, there will be minimum breathing space until the final of the one-day World Cup" at the MCG on March 29. This "many-faceted fixture is so complicated Cricket Australia's strategy experts worked through 72 drafts before they could accommodate every match without unworkable clashes." It adds up to 332 days of cricket -- 84 int'l and 248 domestic -- at "no fewer than 15 Australian venues." Cricket Australia is "pulling out all stops to make sure this translates to a big win for the game." CA last week published research that suggests "participation numbers in clubs, schools and women's and kids' cricket are booming," which follows earlier reports that last season saw "record TV ratings and new benchmarks in digital and radio coverage and attendance." CA CEO James Sutherland said, "This year promises to be even bigger." All this "is in line with the oft-stated ambition to make cricket Australia's favourite sport" (HERALD SUN, 8/17).