Universal’s Summer Cricket Guide 2016 - 2017

Universal’s Summer Cricket Guide, edited by Australian sports journalist and commentator Ken Piesse, is a yearly edition that contains your complete tour guide for the international and domestic cricket season ahead. Including insightful editorial coverage on each team and player with commentaries by leading industry insiders on topical issues. Each magazine also contains a market place section with a review of the latest products available.

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3 min
a day-night renaissance

Thirty years ago at the Australian Cricket Society’s annual dinner in Melbourne, the respected Tony Cozier implored administrators worldwide to consider playing Test cricket under lights for its very survival. The “voice” of West Indian cricket believed the game had to be “paraded to the people” so more could attend after normal working hours. Otherwise he believed the five-day game would wither and eventually die. A generation later, with Test crowds dwindling everywhere bar England and Australia, administrators are finally acting with day-night first-class and Test matches being fixtured worldwide. This summer in Australia, two Tests are being played at night, in Brisbane and again in Adelaide where the resounding success of the inaugural day-night Test attracted the biggest crowds in the city of churches since Bodyline. While the Test lasted just three days,…

5 min
chasing the don

While his Australians registered yet another series failure on the sub-continent in August, their imposing home record is a fillup for captain Steve Smith entering the new Australian summer. In less than 20 months, Smith has won seven, drawn four and lost only three of his first 14 Tests as Australia’s new Test captain. And he is unbeaten at home. In time he may rank with some of the best and most successful Australian captains of all in Lindsay Hassett, Ricky Ponting and Bill Woodfull. Even Australia’s most celebrated captains — Don Bradman, Mark Taylor and Richie Benaud — all had won just 50 per cent of their Tests at a similar period of their leadership reigns. While Smith may not be as outwardly demonstrative or as tactically innovative as his predecessor Michael…

2 min
the 2016–17 summer 5 to watch

1 MITCHELL STARC Few are faster or hoop the ball as menacingly as Mitchell Starc, who mounted an extraordinarily successful return to Test cricket in Sri Lanka in July and August, averaging eight wickets a Test. Tall, slim and feisty, Starc’s first 100 Test wickets came at almost four a game, and with more durability and some subtle “nursing”, he in time could join an elite group of expressmen to take 300 or more Test wickets. With Mitchell Johnson’s retirement, he is now Australia’s fastest bowler and is used by Steve Smith in short three- and four-over spells like Johnson at his peak. 2 JOSH HAZLEWOOD Tall, able and pacy, Josh Hazlewood’s advancement has been so rapid that his strike-rate after 20 Tests compares favourably with some of the true greats including Glenn…

4 min
a potent pairing

November is a mouth-watering ‘Protea’ month in Australia thanks to the appearance of two of the greatest ever South African batsmen, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers. Supreme and contrasting entertainers, at 33 and 32 respectively, they are probably making their Australian Test farewells — good reason to attend the games and savour their magic. Few batsmen of the generation compare or have enjoyed more illustrious careers. Throughout the last decade they have led South Africa to the top of the Test ranks and thrilled crowds worldwide with their consistent brilliance. Amla is all class and polish. Last summer he handed over the captaincy immediately having scored a double century in the middle of a difficult series against England. He has amassed 25 centuries in Tests and averages 50-plus. His timing of back-foot shots…

4 min
just 21 and already express

As the iconic Dale Steyn prepares himself for one last Test tilt at the Australians down under, an unheralded junior is threatening to be equally destructive. The Dale Steyn-Morne Morkel combo has been frightening opposing batsmen for a decade. Now the unsung Kagiso Rabada, who is just as fast at around 150 km/h, has arrived as a fast bowler of genuine menace. The tall 21-year-old from Johannesburg could well be the finest young fast bowling prospect in the world. While 2015–16 was far from South Africa’s finest summer with defeats against India and England, Kagiso’s seamless transition into his country’s world-rated Test XI was a fabulous bonus, especially with 33-year-old Steyn becoming increasingly susceptible to injury. In Rabada’s first six Tests he collected 24 wickets, including a record-breaking haul of 13 for 144 at…

6 min
leggies, leggies everywhere

Pakistan continues to keep Test cricket’s leg-spin flag flying… ahead even of Australia, the notable longtime home of an arsenal of wrist-spin greats, from Grimmett and O’Reilly through to Warne and MacGill. While the Australians sift through the likes of Cameron Boyce, Adam Zampa and young buck Mitch Swepson hoping for one to become true international quality, Pakistan has dipped into their talent pool and discovered another champion in the late-blooming Yasir Shah, whose two “fivefors” at Leeds and The Oval were pivotal in matchwinning Pakistani performances. For decades it seems the Pakistanis have had an unbroken line of men capable of delivering leg-breaks, wrong-uns, toppies and flippers with fizz, energy and passion. Pakistan has produced so many that it is able to spread the joy around the world. In Australia, Yasir’s cousin,…