With the Ryobi Cup now being played in a month long, single city, World Cup style format, here are some of the innovations that have been part of Australian domestic one day cricket.
8. [Insert name here] Cup
Since it’s inception this competition has been defined by it’s sponsored name. Over the years it’s had many names including the McDonald’s Cup, FAI Cup and the Ford Ranger Cup. In 2010 there was even some consternation when a sponsor wasn’t forthcoming and the competition was to be called the National One-Day Cup.Thankfully Ryobi stepped up at the last minute and the Ryobi Cup was born.
This was in complete contrast to the outrage and furore created when the naming rights to the 100 year old Sheffield Shield were sold in 1999 and the Pura Cup was born.
The best part about having a sponsor though is having a good sponsor song like this.
7. A team from New Zealand
Question: Who won the first domestic one day cricket competition in Australia? The answer: New Zealand.
In 1969/70 the Vehicle & General Australasian Knock-Out Competition was held for the first time and as the title suggests it was knock out format and contained teams from Australasia – ie the six Australian state plus New Zealand. New Zealand played in the first 6 seasons of the competition winning three titles: the first title, the Coca Cola Australasian Knock Out Competition in 1971/72 and, in their final season in 1974/75, the Gillette Cup.
Cricket was way ahead of sports like rugby league, basketball and soccer in getting a team from New Zealand into a domestic competition.
6. Taking the game to the people
Whilst Sheffield Shield matches have remained largely at the Test venues in Australia domestic one dayers have been taken to suburban and regional venues over the years. New South Wales have played games at many suburban venues in Sydney particularly the picturesque North Sydney Oval as well as regional centres including Canberra, Bowral, Wollongong and Newcastle. Victoria have played at Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Taralgon; Tasmania have taken the field in Davenport, Launceston and Burnie, Western Australia have travelled to Bunbury and Queensland have hosted games in Cairns, Townsville and Alice Springs but I can’t recall South Australia venturing away from the Adelaide Oval. Some of the pitches were obviously better than others.
5. Not One Day International rules
Domestic variations from the international limited overs rule set have ranged from the seemingly pointless – allowing bowlers to bowl 13 overs instead of 10, alternate fielding restrictions, wides and no balls worth 2 runs – to those that have pre-empted international rule changes: the front foot no ball free hit rule and the 12th man can play rule. In a precursor to the short lived “Super Sub” rule in One Day Internationals, domestic teams had squads of 12 on match day of which any 11 could bat and any 11 could bowl/field. Most teams just chucked another batsmen in their XI and had a bowler as their non-batting 12th man.
The rule was expertly exploited by NSW in 1998/99 allowing Michael Bevan, carrying a hand injury, to bat but not field in the semi final and final of the competition. It nearly paid dividends but Victoria were too strong in the end.
Bonus points for winning in a certain number of overs, or restriciting a team to a certain score were also a feature of the competition in recent years.
4. Mercantile Mutual Signs
When Mercantile Mutual started sponsoring the competition in 1992 they introduced large advertising signs positioned around the ground with substantial prize money on offer for any batsmen who could hit them. Steve Waugh was the first pocketing $140,00 and Shane Lee ( yep Brett’s brother) managed the same at Manuka Oval in Canberra earning himself $90,000. According to Greg Matthews (so take this with a large helping of salt) Mercantile Mutual wanted to put a hole in the sign where the white circle was located and offer $1million for hitting a ball through the hole but the Australian Cricket Board said no.
When Mercantile Mutual changed to ING the tradition continued with $50,000 offered for a sign hit. In 2003, Graham Manou and Andy Flower, during his stint at South Australia, both saluted. In a crowd friendly innovation during these years $100 was also on offer to any spectator who caught a six.
3. Canberra Comets
In 1997 The Canberra Comets were added to the Mercantile Mutual Cup but not the Sheffield Shield. Their playing list consisted of ex-Test players Merv Hughes and Mike Velletta brought out of retirement, journeyman domestic cricketers Rod Tucker (now a test umpire), local legend Peter Solway and a host of youngsters: Stuart Karpinen (Australian strength and conditioning coach), Mark Higgs (ODI spinner) and some 20 year old wicketkeeper called Brad Haddin.
The Comets best effort was beating Victoria in Bendigo with the Victorian team featuring Dean Jones, Brad Hodge, Ian Harvey and Damien Flemming amongst others. After three highly unsuccessful seasons, winning only 2 of 18 games, the Comets were jettisoned from the one day competition but they continue to have a team in the Futures League – the state 2nd XI competition .
2. Victoria in shorts
In one of the more unusual decisions, Victoria decided to add shorts to their official playing attire for one day games in the 1994/95 season. Not all players took up the offer and the idea was put to bed at the end of the season. Photographic evidence was incredibly hard to come by but just imagine sliding around in the field in a pair of shorts.
1. Split innings
There are rule changes and then there are rule changes. Perhaps tryng to pre-empt calls for two innngs t20 to replace 50 over games at international level Cricket Australia went for a split innings format with each team facing 45 overs in two blocks – first each team faced 20 overs then they both faced 25 overs but it was only one innings “suspended” while the other team batted. Make sense? There was 1 point on offer to the team with the most runs after 20 overs and 4 points for the overall winner. It only lasted one season with Victoria beating Tasmania in the final.