Brendan McArdle puts perspective to Howzat:
IT'S ALMOST 35 years since cricket's biggest revolution, and tonight's launch of Channel Nine mini-series Howzat is sure to intrigue and evoke nostalgia in cricket fans. But we might just need to brace ourselves for a solid dose of World Series Cricket propaganda.
According to Lachy Hulme, who plays Kerry Packer, the big fella didn't just change cricket, he ''saved it''. Well, as an avid follower of the game - and at that stage three matches into a brief stint playing Sheffield Shield cricket - some of us might feel well placed to challenge such sweeping statements.
Jesse Hogan does the background:
AT A TIME where the trickle of players eschewing international cricket for more lucrative Twenty20 competitions is considered the major spectre on the horizon for cricket administrators, the period where the game’s elite defected en masse is about to surge back into prominence.
Jennie Curtain does Greg Chappell, so to speak:
He had the moustache, the bad shirts and the flares: Greg Chappell encapsulated the Australian cricket team circa 1976. As the reigning captain, he was also a key target of World Series Cricket, the rival competition plotted by media mogul Kerry Packer in revenge for being denied exclusive television rights to the game.
With such an insider's perspective, the Herald asked Chappell this week to watch the two-part Howzat series, which starts on Channel Nine tomorrow night. It took him back to difficult times.
David Lord does the inside oil:
“As for that agent, that David Lord bastard … I’m going after him too”. The words from Kerry Packer during the superb first episode of “Howzat!” that aired on Channel 9 last night tracing how World Series Cricket was born and why.
PS: I have not seen it, but to celebrate the Seventies - if you can remember the Seventies, you were there - we had a fondue night. Update!
Victory in the ratings war is still some way off. But few wins are as sweet as Nine's last night, with more than two million viewers tuning into the first part of its blockbuster miniseries Howzat! Kerry Packer's War.
Gideon Haigh at The Almanac:
On 2 December 1977 Australian cricket lovers turning on their television sets had for the first time a choice in their bill of fare. Live from the Gabba on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation came the soothing sights and sounds of a traditional Test, the first of a series against India. Live from Melbourne’s VFL Park on Channel Nine, meanwhile, came the unfamiliar images of what purported to be a revolutionary new variant on the game: a Supertest, brought to you by World Series Cricket.