RICHMOND CHAMP Dustin Martin is making millions but could he be an even greater Tiger than “Captain Blood”? KEN PIESSE reports on Dusty’s signing spree and other moves in the world of sport:
THE SPOILS for football’s new million-dollar man Dustin Martin are never-ending. Having experienced the season of his life in 2017, and re-committed to Richmond long-term, Martin’s signature is the hottest property in football.
Last week he autographed a range of memorabilia from posters and jumpers to action photographs, the signing session taking more than three hours. His fee? More than $250,000.
No one in the history of the game has enjoyed such a stellar season and even Richmond old-timers are saying Martin is the best Tiger of all, ahead even of the celebrated “Captain Blood” Jack Dyer.
HOBART is the loser as Cricket Australia looks to showcase the Test game in the nation’s capital city.
Manuka Oval in Canberra is to become Australia’s newest Test cricket venue from next summer, much to the disappointment of Tasmanian officials wanting to host more internationals at Blundstone Arena.
Manuka Oval becomes Australia’s 10th Test venue and newest since 2003 when Darwin and Cairns hosted Top-End series against Bangladesh.
The soon to start women’s Ashes summer includes two Twenty20 matches at Manuka in mid-November, a forerunner to one of the Australia-Sri Lanka Tests also being scheduled at the nation’s capital city in 2018-19.
Crowds for international matches at Bellerive have been modest and Cricket Australia’s ambitions to showcase the game to as many new fans as possible could see Manuka regularly hosting both red ball and white ball internationals, severely reducing coming fixtures in Hobart.
Canberra first hosted an ODI during the 1992 World Cup.
India is due to tour Australia for four Tests and Sri Lanka for two during 2018-19 season.
Perth’s new multi-sport stadium will almost certainly be included for one of the four Indian Tests, in late December, 2018.
Meanwhile the push for four-day Test cricket, starting Thursday and finishing Sunday is continuing with South Africa the first to schedule its coming Boxing Day Test match over 12 sessions, rather than 15.
THE ANNUAL avalanche of new cricket books continues this year with more than a dozen new Australian titles, including a second offering from The Grade Cricketer, who this time in Tea and No Sympathy gets involved in match-fixing in another hilarious romp which is sure to hit the mark.
The hero worship for Australian captain Steve Smith rivals Dustin Martin’s following right now, ensuring that his soon-to-be-published “autobiography” The Journey will also be a Christmas bestseller.
Another which will also make an impact is Austin Robertson’s Cricket Outlaws which tells the story of World Series Cricket through the eyes of the players and the administrators.
As Dennis Lillee’s manager, Robertson was the key recruiter with so much bravado that during the Centenary Test he walked calmly through the rooms passing on World Series Cricket contract agreements to the players, with a casual: “Here are your theatre tickets for tonight mate.”
Within weeks, journalists Peter McFarline and Alan Shiell broke the scoop of the century: Australian cricket and Kerry Packer were really at war.
ONE OF the off-field highlights of the forthcoming Ashes series will be the appearance of the always-controversial Geoff Boycott in the ABC commentary boxes around the country.
Geoff has never been backward with an opinion or three, my personal favorite being, “My grandmother could play this bloke with a stick of celery.”
Even at 76, he remains is demand as a public speaker and has already agreed to a Christmas in Melbourne gig with the Australian Cricket Society at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club on the night of December 27.
Non-Society members are welcome. Tickets at $135 can be pre-purchased from the Australian Cricket Society’s long-time secretary Wayne Ross on 0416 983 888.
Tiana Martel, the rising Australian rhythm and blues singer, is the entertainer.
DAVE TOMLINSON is a cricket nut. He just can’t help himself. He has just begun his 52nd year of cricket with Hampton United and continues to play Sundays as well with the Bayside Over 60 lads.
Tommo opens the bowling in the lower grades with his still-zippy mediums.
He loves telling the story how he coached a teenage Shane Warne as a kid — “at footy not cricket”.
One of his bayside mates Ivan Eames, himself an off-field legend, once hit a 16-year-old Shane for four 6s in an over and still tells Tommo about it.
- England’s disgraced Test vice-captain Ben Stokes? Ban him. For 12 months.
- Hawthorn great Luke Hodge? Retire now, with your reputation intact.
- Trade Week? Make it Trade 72 Hours and stop wasting everyone’s time.
- Test fast bowling saviour Pat Cummins? Save him, purely for Test cricket, so he lasts. The same could be said for Mitchell Starc, no matter how keen they are to play all three formats
KEN PIESSE’s latest cricket book Heroes of the Hour is soon to be published. He is a three-time winner of the Cricket Victoria major media award and will be part of the Sportshounds.com.au team covering the big internationals this summer.
Author: Ken Piesse
KEN PIESSE has covered cricket and football for more than 30 years in Melbourne. He has written, edited and published more than 70 sports books. Signed copies of his latest cricket book Heroes of the Hour, cricket’s quintessential moments from Bradman and Lillee to Warne and Steve Smith, is available from www.cricketbooks.com.au