Wisden Cricketer / Features

The Wisden Cricketer - February

A Packer timeline

A timeline of how World Series Cricket developed during 1977 and 1978

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Kerry Packer and Tony Greig outside the High Court in London, October 1977 © The Cricketer
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1977 April 24
News leaks that South Africans Barry Richards, Eddie Barlow, Mike Procter and Graeme Pollock have "signed lucrative contracts to play an eight-week series of matches throughout the world".

May 11
Thirty-five top players sign a "huge sporting deal" to play round-robin tournaments in Australia later in the year. "We want a better deal for players the world over," says Tony Greig.

June 1
Packer says cricket is "the easiest sport in the world to take over. Nobody bothered to pay the players what they were worth."

June 23
Talks between Packer and ICC break down after Packer's demand for exclusive TV rights in Australia are rejected. "It is every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost," says Packer.

July 23
Packer threatens legal action against ICC and TCCB if they ban any of his contracted players from playing international cricket.

July 26
ICC gives Packer players until October 1 to withdraw, threatening them with bans from Test cricket.

August 7
West Indies board says it will ban its Packer players from Test and first-class matches. Test and County Cricket Board follows suit, subject to a High Court hearing.

August 11
Booklet released with dates for six major matches involving Packer players; some will be played under floodlights.

September 5
Ray Illingworth says English Packer players should be banned by TCCB; any other course would "make English cricket a breeding ground and creaming-off centre for future circuses".

September 26
High Court hearing opens in London. Bob Alexander QC (later Lord Alexander and chairman of MCC), for the defence, accuses TCCB and ICC of a "naked restraint of trade".



Kerry Packer watches a WSC trial match © The Cricketer
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October 3
Giving evidence, Packer accuses the Australian board as "self-centred and only interested in perpetuating their power" for their refusal to accept his TV rights bid.

November 16
First trial match at St Kilda, Melbourne.

November 25
Mr Justice Slade rules that any ban on Packer players by ICC or TCCB would be a restraint of trade: "A professional cricketer needs to make his living as much as any other professional man."

November 30
WSC Australia beat WSC West Indies in first International Country Cup match.

December 1
West Indies board says it will select WSC players in its Test squad.

December 2
First Super Test (WSC Australia v WSC West Indies) starts in Melbourne. Fewer than 3,000 watch.

December 8
Pakistan board lifts ban on Packer players.



The reaction to the news of WSC © The Cricketer
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December 14
First floodlit match (WSC World XI v WSC Australia) draws 6,300 to VFL Park, Melbourne.

1978 Jan 15
England captain Mike Brearley says "The English touring team are unanimously opposed in principle to players contracted to World Series Cricket being considered for selection for Test matches."

January 20
No WSC players included in Australia squad for tour of West Indies, despite making themselves available.

February 2
ICC and TCCB announce they will not be appealing against High Court ruling. Will leave it up to countries and counties to decide whether or not to select a WSC player.

February 5
WSC West Indies beat WSC Australia in final of one-day International Cup.

February 13
Australia win final Super Test but lose series 2-1. It is estimated that WSC has lost £2,100,000 in its first year.

This article was first published in the February issue of The Wisden Cricketer.
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© The Wisden Cricketer

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