The Packer timeline

World Series Cricket - December 1977

David Frith
A timeline of events in World Series Cricket during December 1977

Ian Chappell is caught behind off Andy Roberts during the first Super Test in Adelaide © The Cricketer
December 1 The West Indies Board state they will not contribute to the costs of any appeal against the High Court judgment. They will select WSC players in the Tests against Australia in the New Year, and will shift match dates if required to allow Australia to include their WSC players.

On the eve of the first Australia-India Test match, Australia's captain, Bob Simpson, says, "Australian cricketers are tired of being branded as slobs. From now on there are certain bounds on dress, language, and slinging off at opponents while they are batting." Ian Chappell, captain of the WSC Australia side, responds by saying, "It's the policy of the Australian Cricket Board to knock this series and Simpson is just carrying through that policy." He adds: "Winning is the thing in cricket and it makes no difference whether you wear jeans and T-shirts off the field to be comfortable."

It is disclosed that the Trade Practices Commission in Adelaide persuaded Mullins Clarke and Ralph, advertising agents for World Series Cricket, to issue corrected advertisements after the appearance of promotional matter featuring Dennis Lillee when he was not due to play in the match in question.

December 2 While the first Test match starts in Brisbane in front of a crowd of almost 9000, fewer than 3000 watch the first `Super Test' at VFL Park, Melbourne, where Roberts dismisses McCosker for nought with the second ball. WSC Australia make 256, Ray Bright top-scoring with 69, Roberts taking 3 for 52, Holding 4 for 60.

In Rockhampton, Queensland, A Rest of the World XI make 186 (Barry Richards 93), Graeme Watson, who came into the WSC troupe after Redpath's injury, taking 7 for 26. An Australian XI are 184 for 7 in reply. Only 1000 people watch.

John Curtain, 37, a WSC administrator concerned with the organisation of the Country Cup matches in 13 towns, resigns, alleging inefficiency and lack of assistance, and also blaming personality clashes.

In London the TCCB set up a special account for donations received from the public to help pay the High Court costs.

The Full Bench of the Federal Court makes new interim orders restricting World Series Cricket Pty Ltd in its advertising of matches. WSC matches may not be referred to as `Tests' or `Super Tests' without clear distinction from matches controlled wholly or in part by the ACB or the ICC, and a similar condition prevails over the use of `Australian team', `Australia' etc.

Television Corporation Ltd's latest annual accounts show guaranteed payments, at balance date, to cricketers under contract to WSC amounting to $2,916,500.

December 3 WSC West Indies score 214 in the first `Super Test', a first-innings deficit of 42. Viv Richards makes 79. WSC Australia are 138 for 4 at the close. The Saturday crowd is 5088; the Test match in Brisbane draws 9104. After their dismissals in the WSC match Gordon Greenidge and Andy Roberts both criticise the umpire's decisions during TV interviews.

December 4 WSC West Indies beat WSC Australia by three wickets in three days, with two to spare. David Hookes makes 63, Roberts takes 4 for 52, Holding 3 for 72. In WSC West Indies' second innings Richards makes 56, Lloyd 44, Fredericks 42, and Deryck Murray a vital 36 not out. Lillee follows his first-innings 2 for 77 with 2 for 100. The aggregate attendance over three days was 13,886. The WSC organisation issues a statement claiming their match was "far superior" to the concurrent Brisbane Test match because only 17 boundaries were hit yesterday at Brisbane, whereas 46 were hit in the WSC match.

The WSC Australia v Rest of the World match in Rockhampton is won by the overseas side by 86 runs, Underwood (6 for 34) finishing the game off with a hat-trick. Only 3000 spectators attended during the three days.

Phil Tresidder, in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, writes that the Australian board "continue to be more conscious of backsides on seats rather than the wider-embracing medium of television", while pointing out that "on the other hand they (WSC) are budgeting for $2.2 million from the turnstiles, calculated at the rate of 10,000 spectators daily over the 88 days of play". Qantas become the fourth major sponsor, taking World Series revenue past $1 million.

December 5 A second World Series executive, Chris Forsyth, who issued the statement concerning boundaries hit in the respective matches on December 3, resigns as public relations director.

Tony Cozier joins the Channel 9 commentary team.

December 6 Clive Lloyd says he will ask Kerry Packer to release West Indies players for the 1978-79 Test tour of India.

Graeme Pollock is released from his WSC obligations as he wants to be back in South Africa in January. Though having played in none of the matches, he is paid the full £15,000 first-year fee. The injured Redpath, out for the season, is also paid in full.

December 8 Pakistan's Control Board lift their ban on their five Packer players and invite four of them (Asif Iqbal having retired from Test cricket) to return to play in the Tests against England. At Bendigo, Asif makes 56 and Barry Richards 61 in WSC World XI's match against WSC West Indies. Tony Greig, reappointed as Sussex captain, calls for a compromise between world cricket authorities and players in the breakaway group. He says he, Asif, Eddie Barlow and Mike Procter "can view the battle from both sides".

December 9 WSC West Indies (225 for 4; Fredericks 106 not out, Lloyd 75) win their two-day match against WSC World XI.

December 10 WSC World XI (204 for 9; Greig 59, Knott 46) beat WSC Australia (155; Underwood 4 for 31) in a 40-overs match in Adelaide.

December 11 WSC Australia (203 for 8; Greg Chappell 45) lose to WSC West Indies (204 for 4; Fredericks 64, Greenidge 48) in a 40-overs match in Adelaide.

December 12 Trevor Chappell and Martin Kent score centuries, and Bruce Laird 81, in a two-day match against WSC West Indies at Albury, NSW.

December 13 WSC West Indies (368; Fredericks 93, Holford 72, Julien 58) lose by 17 runs at Albury.

December 14 The first WSC floodlit evening match draws 6300 (1500 at the 2.30 pm start) to VFL Park, Melbourne. The lighting cost over $1 million to install, with 200 3.5kw lamps in use. As daylight faded, the ball was replaced with a white one, and the sight-screens changed to black. WSC World XI's 207 (Zaheer 52) was overtaken by WSC Australia (210 for 4; Ian Chappell 69, Greg Chappell 59 not out, McCosker 45) at 10.30 pm, when Greg Chappell hit a six. Underwood took 4 for 32.

David Hookes has his jaw shattered in the second Super Test in Melbourne © The Cricketer
December 16 A crowd of 7250 watch WSC Australia make 251 in the second `Super Test', at Sydney Showground. Top-scorer David Hookes is forced to retire with 81 after being struck by a bouncer from Andy Roberts. His broken jaw has to be wired in hospital, and his damaged cheekbone set. Marsh makes 59, Roberts and Garner take three wickets each, and WSC West Indies are 33 for 0 at the close.

In Canberra, WSC World XI (203; Amiss 51, Mallett 6 for 55) go on to take a two-run first-innings lead over WSC Australian XI.

December 17 A Saturday crowd of only 6700 at Sydney Showground see WSC West Indies make 336 (Viv Richards 88, Lloyd 58) and WSC Australia 12 for 0 in their second innings. In Canberra, where five spectators interrupt play by carrying placards protesting against South Africa's racial policy, WSC World XI amass 357 for 9 dec (Majid 152, Mushtaq 65 not out, Amiss 52).

December 18 WSC West Indies, watched by 9500 spectators, beat WSC Australia by nine wickets to go 2-0 up in the series and win $16,606. McCosker (56) tops WSC Australia's second innings of 182 (Garner 4 for 58) and Fredericks (49) and Greenidge (46 not out) ensure victory for WSC West Indies in three days, with two to spare.

In Canberra, WSC World XI dismiss WSC Australian XI for 147 (Langer 50) to go to the top of the Country Cup league table. Bob Woolmer fields at short leg wearing Dennis Amiss's crash-helmet.

December 20 It is announced that the special meeting of the TCCB planned for January 6 to discuss whether to appeal against the November 25 High Court decision will now be postponed until January 17.

December 21 At Mildura, WSC World XI make 356 (Imran 97, Knott 67) against WSC Australia.

December 22 WSC Australia make 357 for 8 to beat WSC World XI. Ian Chappell scores 97, Rob Langer 90, Ian Davis 64, and Ashley Mallett is knocked unconscious by a bouncer from Imran Khan. He is detained in hospital overnight. In London, Sarfraz Nawaz says that he has received an offer to play WSC cricket after the current season, and will give it consideration.

December 26 WSC Australia v WSC World XI one-day match is washed out in Melbourne.

December 27 WSC Australia v WSC West Indies one-day match is washed out in Melbourne after 25 balls (Australia 12 for 1).

December 28 WSC World XI (184) lose to WSC West Indies (187 for 5; King 62 not out, Viv Richards 52) at Adelaide Football Park, watched by 7166 people. In the World XI innings Barry Richards, Alan Knott and Tony Greig wear crash-helmets.

December 31 Third and final WSC Australia v WSC West Indies `Super Test' starts in Adelaide, with 4092 in attendance. Ian Chappell is 126 not out and brother Greg 55 in Australia's 261 for 3. In Geelong, Amiss scores 76, Asif Iqbal 58, and Walters takes 4 for 52 in WSC World XI's 255; in reply WSC Australian XI are 247 for 7 (Ross Edwards 64, Walters 62).