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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Was Packer a force for good?
Kerry Packer's 1970s revolution helped bring one-day cricket to the world - and threatened to split the game in two.
Does cricket owe him a debt of thanks?
Twenty-five years ago this week, Packer, an Australian media mogul, announced he had signed over 50 of the world's best players and created his own televised tournament called World Series Cricket.
As well as bringing a host of new innovations to the one-day game, including brightly-coloured kits instead of traditional whites, Packer also introduced "Super Tests" - floodlit matches played with white balls.
His ideas were ridiculed, the players who signed up received lengthy international bans and the series eventually fizzled out; but the World Series "circus" changed cricket forever.
Did Packer's revolution help save cricket from extinction? Or should he have left the game alone?
This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.
Personally, I think his 'circus' saved cricket from a slow and painful death. Spare a thought for the first dozen or so players to sign up with him. They took an enormous risk because they would have known that if WSC went belly up, so did their careers.
Men like Ian and Greg Chappell, Sir Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Imran Khan and some of the other biggest names in the game at the time put everything on the line. If it did fail, Packer could move on and make his money elsewhere.
Not so the players, they would have become pariahs, despised and hated as traitors to the game. They are the real heroes in my view because they are the ones who took the biggest risks.
Happy anniversary to all involved, and thank you for saving our great game.
As a young kid growing up in Australia when it all started, I hated Packer at the start. However, after the first season, it was infinitely better than traditional cricket that was on show. In the long run it has benefitted the game: allowing players to earn the money they long deserved, improving the overall standard and fitness of the players, and getting rid of the outdated and incompetent officals at the ACB.
Unfortunately, while most of the cricket world embraced the positives, the game in England is largely mired in the same attitudes prevalent at the time, which won't change until there are massive changes at the top
Typically, the reactionary English establishment resisted him and retarded their own game severely. At one point in the 1980s, even though adding additional cameras wasn't a big deal, the BBC insisted on showing the action from one end only, since it was the "best view from the stands."
How dumb and how backward is this attitude, the resistance to night cricket, and the like now look. Belatedly, the English establishment have given up their sniping. But in trying to modernize county cricket, they're looking ridiculous.
Cricket needed marketing and good marketing has proved that even in multi-sport nations like South Africa, Australia and NZ, the game hasn't lost ground. Contrast this with England, the most resistant to Packer, the most deliberately stodgy, and you have a vivid illustration of where cricket is (from Australia etc) versus where it would otherwise have been (from England).
He should have left the game alone. The players may of done well out of it but I feel cricket's the loser. Let's face it, a real game of top class cricket is a five or six day contest for supremacy over your opponent.
One-dayers you can liken to American Baseball, and are we getting a true result? Or are games orchestrated to get bums on seats?
The Packer World Series was probably one of the best things that happened to cricket. It changed the game from a fuddy-duddy sport to one that the young kids could relate to.
Twenty five years later the impact is so evident. The lights, coloured uniforms and power cricket make the game very viewer friendly. The impact that it has on making the sport a marketable product is evident. It has also developed the quality of cricket that is played now.
Kerry Packer belted the cricket establishment for six and forced them to make cricket an entertaining sport. It not only made him money but it made the 'amateurs' who played the game into true professionals.
Today cricketers are fitter, faster and (despite what we might say) more skilful. Kerry Packer gave them job security for their short cricketing careers and in doing so kept the very good players in the game longer.
What Packer did was transform the game into a new, more exciting form. Although he did it for commercial reasons, the eventual outcome from the turmoil was not damaging at all to cricket.
Changes are neccessary sometimes, to bring in new ideas, meanings and life to the game. I just hope some more innovative changes can be brought into the game by the ICC. Only constant improvement can make sure the game stays in touch with this fast revolving world.
Despite all the fuss caused by Kerry Packer's breakaway circuit, English cricket still suffers from the same serious structural flaw that it did 25 years ago. The county championship, which is essential for the production of players for the Test squad, is not financially self supporting, and relies on income derived from the Tests for its survival. In that respect, English cricket has gained nothing from the Packer revolution. In fact, its current state is arguably weaker than 25 years ago.
The Packer series has changed the face of the game and exploited the entertainment value of the game. For a refreshing change the Gavaskars and Boycotts have taken a backseat. The quality of the players was so high and the competition was that much better. We wouldn't have had an opportunity to see the likes of Barry Richards but for Packer. I wish we could get the Laras, Tendulkars and Donalds together for a high voltage competition.
At the time I hated Packer for throwing the game of cricket into turmoil. But I must say I grew to enjoy the one day games, the coloured kit, the white ball etc, and I think all in all, the changes brought a breath of life to the game that at that time was slowly decaying.
I am only thankful that the changes did not bring about cheerleaders, offensive public commentary, garish music and so much other trash that spoils American sport.
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