Universal’s Summer Cricket Guide 2017-18

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
wishing for another ‘2005’

‘THE GAME OF CRICKET WAS HELD IN CONTEMPT LIKE RARELY BEFORE…’ Preparation and focus is everything in the first weeks of an Ashes series. Can the ‘Gabba be Australia’s saviour after its winter from hell when cricket was a headlining embarrassment? Steve Smith, David Warner and co may say that the Great Pay Dispute is long behind them, but the bitter memories and anger remains. Our lads (and ladies) are now among the most handsomely remunerated team sportsmen and women of all, but it’s going to take time to re-win the trust of an Australian public totally disillusioned with the farcical wintertime standoff. Both sides were at fault, the administrators and the players. The game of cricket was held in contempt like rarely before, other codes laughing at the ineptitude of it all. So…

5 min
mr ‘must watch’

There was a day early in Usman Khawaja’s career in which Australia’s most sublimely artistic batsman might have met an untimely end. As Khawaja sat in the cockpit piloting a small Piper Warrior through shuddering turbulence somewhere above the Great Dividing Range, the plane’s throttle broke clear of its socket and couldn’t be screwed back in. Calculated and improvisational, Khawaja reached for a small prong where the lever once sat and, in time, calmly landed the plane. Crisis averted. Trouble negotiated. Such is the unflappability of Australia’s No.3. Khawaja, the death-defying pilot, is now more commonly known now as Khawaja, the life-affirming left-handed batsman. For sheer virtuosity he rivals Lara, Gower and Sangakkara at their most supple and effervescent. With a circular swish of the arms and an insouciant shake of the hips,…

5 min
seasons of strike

Surely there had never been a more acrimonious winter. The bitter financial standoff between Cricket Australia and its players embarrassed the game and its stakeholders like never before. Everyday we’d awake to more rhetoric — and no resolution. Everyone’s summer was on hold. Even that happiest of supporter groups the Barmy Army wondered if they’d ever again see the Southern Cross. The conflict and distrust set back relations irretrievably; the kissing and making up was totally unsatisfactory and history shows that each time money matters interrupt player focus and preparation at or around Ashes time, the keen contests we so love have tended to disappoint. All the bullying back-and-forth forebodes badly on Australia’s 2017-18 Ashes quest. Three summers, in particular, were really heated — and became a no-contest: 1884-85 Never before or since has there…

3 min
pacemen unite

THE ‘GABBA & THE ASHES Ground capacity: 37,500 Ends: Stanley Street (south), Vulture Street (north) Australia’s record v England:Played 13: Won 9, Lost 1, Drawn 3 Last 5 Ashes Tests:Australia 3-0 (2 draws) Highest team scores:Australia: 645, 1946-47; England: 1-517 dec., 2010-11 Highest solo scores:Australia: Keith Stackpole 207, 1970-71; England: Alastair Cook 235 not out, 2010-11 Best bowling:Australia: Shane Warne 8-71, 1994-95; England: Bill Voce 6-41, 1936-37 Last time: Unwanted for the 2013 Ashes contests in England, Mitchell Johnson takes nine wickets, beginning a cascading burst of intimidating fast bowling not seen for generations since the days of Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson Local hero: Matty Renshaw Stats fact: Australia is unbeaten at the ‘Gabba since 1988-89. England last won here in ‘86 Steve Smith’s ‘Gabba average: 54 The players say: The ‘Gabba is still the premier cricket wicket in the country, a haven…

4 min
still the fairest of all

ADELAIDE & THE ASHES Ground capacity: 50,000 Ends: River End (south), Scoreboard or Cathedral End (north) Australia’s record v England:Played 31: Won 17, Lost 9, Drawn 5 First Ashes Test: 1884-85 Last 5 Ashes Tests: Australia 3-2 Highest team scores: Australia: 582, 1920-21; England: 5-620 dec., 2010-11 Highest solo scores: Australia: Bob Simpson 225, 1965-66; England: Kevin Pietersen 227, 2010-11 Best bowling: Australia: Albert Trott 8-43, 1894-95; England: Jack White 8-126, 1928-29 Last time: Bowling at hurricane speed, Mitchell Johnson takes seven for 40 in a pace blitz head coach Darren Lehmann rates as the most lethal he has witnessed; the stunned English tumble from 1-57 to 172 all out — game over Local hero: Still ‘Boof’ Lehmann, in a photo from up-and-coming white-ball specialist Trav Head Stats fact: This is the first Ashes Test in Adelaide to be played under lights; the expected…

3 min
farewell to an old friend

THE WACA & THE ASHES Ground capacity: 23,500 Ends: Lillee-Marsh (south), Prindiville Stand (north) First Ashes Test: 1970-71 Australia’s record v England: Played 13: Won 9, Lost 1, Drawn 3 Last 5 Ashes Tests: Australia 5-0 Highest team scores: Australia: 5-527 dec., 2006-07; England: 8-592 dec., 1986-87 Highest solo scores: Australia: Ian Redpath 171, 1970-71; England: Chris Broad 162, 1986-87 Best bowling: Australia: Craig McDermott 8-97, 1990- 91; England: Ian Botham 6-78, 1979-80 Last time: Ben Stokes announces himself as a young player on the rise with a buccaneering 120, but England goes down big-time Local hero: Gilly Stats fact: England last won here in 1978-79 against a third-strength Australian XI Steve Smith’s average here: 46 Expect: The fastest wicket of the summer and capacity crowds on the first four days swelled by the thousands of overseas visitors escaping the English winter. The Barmy Army should…