Johannesburg – The marketing folks – be they the broadcasters or Cricket South Africa, or the provincial unions that will be hosting the three Tests – should be bloody grateful to the Australian players for already hyping up the series between the world’s No1 Test team and the side currently ranked No3.
Test cricket needs hype in this country judging by the awful attendance figures for the matches against India last month.
So Michael Clarke (“we have the world’s best attack”), Peter Siddle (similar sentiments to his captain, though somewhat more hungover when he provided them) and Dave Warner (“We know a couple of their blokes are probably on the back foot”), thank you.
All that chatter from the Aussies should get bums on seats at SuperSport Park, St Georges Park and Newlands, right? It’s what will get people to the stadiums to support the world’s No1 team, right?
I don’t get it as far as these poor crowd attendances are concerned for Tests.
Tickets are ridiculously well priced (R20 at the Wanderers for the India match). And, yes, there were some logistical problems on the first day of the India Test, but those were sorted out the next day and still people didn’t come.
Oh, then there’s the fact that Joburg was empty at that time of year, people were all at the coast, excuse me.
I saw pictures of Durban’s beaches over the Christmas period, they were packed.
But none of those people came to Kingsmead to watch the final Test of one of this country’s greatest sportsmen and another intriguing match on the back of an exciting finish a week earlier.
People do enjoy talking about Test cricket; I hear it in the pubs, at braais, see it on websites and social media forums.
However, unlike Australia and England, South Africans don’t get to the stadiums.
If I could change one thing it would be to show more replays on big screens – yes, even as the third umpire is making a decision (DRS will be used for the Australia series) – the officials, like when a player drops a catch, can cop some booing if the spectators think they’ve cocked something up.
There’s sufficient security at grounds nowadays, to ensure nothing stupid happens.
What there shouldn’t be are spectators having less at their disposal than those watching at home – which is currently the case in South Africa.
But what else? This is a big series coming up against a side pretty cocksure of themselves after they “pounded the Poms”.
Will you be going? If (as a cricket fan), you won’t be, why not?