Cricket Culture in the West


Western Warriors vs Queensland Bulls
Photo Credit: Flickr/Rae Allen

In summer, cricket is a favourite pastime of many people in Australia. Be it cheering on a favourite team or player, competing for a local club, or just playing a casual game in the backyard or on the beach, it has become a part of Australia’s culture and national identity.

There are different types of cricket with slightly different rules, but most competitive matches are played between two teams of eleven players each. One team bats, aiming to score as many runs as possible in their innings. The other team bowls and fields, trying to get all the batsmen “out” in order to reduce the number of runs scored against them.

A batsman scores runs when he/she hits the ball and runs to the opposite end of the pitch without getting out. If the ball makes the boundary, it is worth four runs if it touches the ground on the way, or six if it clears the boundary rope on the full. At the conclusion of an innings, the teams reverse roles. The new batting team tries to reach the target score to win, while the new fielding team tries to defend their total.

The Western Australian Cricket Association was founded in 1885, while the WACA Ground in East Perth – the home of cricket in WA – officially opened in 1893. The WACA has traditionally been a favourite ground for fast bowlers around the world due to the pace and bounce of the pitch. The WACA hosts both international and domestic cricket matches, and is the home ground of the Western Warriors (WA’s domestic men’s cricket team) and Western Fury (women’s team).


Watching a Twenty20 Big Bash game at the WACA
Photo Credit: Flickr/Michael Spencer

The Warriors (currently known as the Retravision Warriors) represent Western Australia in three domestic cricket competitions that run concurrently: the Sheffield Shield (four-day matches), One-Day Series, and the Twenty20 Big Bash.

The Fury compete in the Women’s National Cricket League. There are also many cricketers play in district and junior competitions. Grade Cricket is a semi-professional club cricket competition a step below the first-class level (i.e. the Warriors).

Western Australia has produced many great cricketers that have represented both their state and their country. The Lillee Marsh Stand at the WACA Ground is named after legendary fast bowler Dennis Lillee and wicketkeeper Rod Marsh.

Other notable West Australian cricketers include former Australian captain Kim Hughes, Justin Langer (now the batting coach for the national team), Tom Moody, Graeme Wood, Geoff Marsh, Damien Martyn, and current Australian batsman Mike Hussey.

Adam Gilchrist, regarded as one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in history, began his first-class career in New South Wales, before moving to Western Australia where he has been based for the majority of his illustrious career.

Many Aussies take great pride in following the fortunes of the Australian cricket team. While the media focus is on the Australian summer, national players compete all year round in various cricketing nations.

Australia’s national team enjoyed a period of dominance during the 1990s and 2000s, and led the International Cricket Council’s official Test rankings for a record 73 months from 2003 to 2008. They are currently ranked fifth.

However, Australia still leads the ICC ODI (One Day International) rankings. It has won the Cricket World Cup, which is held every four years, a record four times (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007) and heads into the 2011 tournament (February 19 to April 2) undefeated from its past 29 World Cup matches.

Australia shares a particularly strong rivalry with England culminating in The Ashes series, which is played every two years. The Ashes is a series of five Test matches (which each run for five days unless a result is determined sooner). They are named after a satirical obituary proclaiming the death of English cricket after Australia beat England in England for the first time in 1882. Australia relinquished The Ashes for the first time in 18 years in 2005.

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