The world's top cricketers have been defending their decision to take part in a sponsored cricket matches in Australia next year.
SV: England cricket captain, Tony Greig, leading Sussex team on to field - Brighton, U.K.
SV: crowd watching and Australian captain, Greg Chappell leading on team. (2 shots)
SVs: Australians batting against Sussex (2 shots)
SV: Australian tour manager, Len Maddocks, speaking to reporter.
GV: game in progress
CUs: Greig speaking to newsmen. (3 shots)
SV: John Arlott signing autographs, Southampton, U.K.
GV: cricketers walking off field
GV: cricketers walking off field.
SV: South African and Hampshire cricketers Barry Richards speaking to reporter.
REPORTER:"Reports coming back to us here in England from Australia that authorities are suggesting that players will be putting their careers in jeopardy. I take it that means in the longer term?"
MADDOCKS: "Well, right at the moment, no player has taken part in any unauthorised match, so until that happens there's no need for any decision to be made."
REPORTER:"Can I ask you one thought as a former test player yourself and not as manager of the Australian side -- what's it likely to do to test cricket as we know it?"
MADDOCKS: "I personally think that test cricket as we know it will continue. I think this so-called 'circus' will have a short term life and I think quite frankly that some of the younger players involved in this will get their fingers burnt and will be very sorry young men in the years ahead."
Greig sees it differently, and says he hopes it will lead to an improvement in pay for cricketers.
GREIG: "It would have been the easiest thing in the world for me to say 'I'm all right Jack, I'm the captain of England, I'm on a pretty good number, I'll sit tight 'cos I might get a job in a few years. That would be easy. I think that would have been selfish. I personally believe that when I went into this I knew full well that there was a chance that I would lose the job as captain of England -- as much as I don't like that. I've enjoyed being captain of England and I hope that I will carry on doing that, but if I don't, then obviously I will be disappointed. But that is one of the sacrifices that I have laid on the table. If as a result of this action, I'm not captain of England anymore then I'm just living with the decision I have made and I think that is what life is all about."
REPORTER: "You do appear to have taken on the authorities head on as it were."
GREIG: "I don't believe you can do anything like this without taking on the authorities, and also it seems to me that it has to be the top players that take them on. The ordinary bread and butter cricketer would be thrown out of gates of the country grounds of this country is he tried to do it."
REPORTER:"What effect do you think it's going to have on cricket followers throughout the world?"
ARLOTT:"I don't know. Nobody knows, I'm sure even people who put it in train don't know. The consequences have such a vast range of possibilities all the way from creating a new and vulnerable sector in cricket -- though I think that improbable -- right through to the destruction of first class cricket as we know it. The problems likely to arise - racial, political, financial - seem to me almost insoluble, and if as I take it the cricket authorities of the various countries say that, they and only they can control international or major matches, showing cricket on television and the freedom of tying or contracting players -- if they take that stand then we are in for the most terrific battle the first class game has ever known."
REPORTER:"As you know, cricketers around the world are accusing you of being greedy for taking the money for this match. What is your reaction to this, and why are you going to play with this cricket circus?"
RICHARDS:"Well, I think this is a little different for me than for everybody else because South Africa is not involved in test cricket so there's no decision situation for me. I've got no board of control really involved in the test cricket, so it was situation where as a professional cricketer, I was offered a contract and I accepted it. It has nothing to do with the money -- it's just giving me a chance after seven years of being out in the wilderness of playing at top level again. Obviously for the other fellows it's an individual decision for each individual player, and now chaps like Tony Greig, and Derek Underwood and Alan Knott would have had a bigger decision to make than I would have, but from my own personal point of view it would be an easy decision to make.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The world's top cricketers have been defending their decision to take part in a sponsored cricket matches in Australia next year. England's captain, Tony Greig, and South African Barry Richards are among 35 cricketers who have signed up for the matches, sponsored by Australian businessman Kerry Packer. Cricketing control boards and other officials have condemned the plans, calling the matches 'a circus'.
SYNOPSIS: The Australian cricket team is currently touring England, and Greig led the Sussex team against them on Monday (9 May).
Australian captain Greg Chappell is another who has signed up for the sponsored matches. Full details of the scheme haven't yet been announced, but a fee of GBP20,000 is being mentioned for the series.
Top cricketing officials say such a series would disrupt the whole structure of international test cricket. But one who has come out strongly against the idea is Len Maddocks, the manager of the Australian touring team.
Top English commentator John Arlott says he doesn't thing the organisers have fully considered the consequences.
For Barry Richards, playing for Hampshire, the decision wasn't difficult.