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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

"Rich are getting richer": Langer on gap in World Cricket

Australian Cricket great Justin Langer says test cricket is dying - not because of a lack of passion for the game, but for a lack of funding in poorer cricketing nations. 

This comes off the back of the Perth Women’s test played at the WACA between Australia and South Africa, where the Aussies thumped the visitors by an inning and 284 runs. 

For Australia, this is its eighth women's test match in a decade, and for South Africa - only its second, highlighting the disparity in funding between powerhouses and other nations within world cricket.

Recently, Australia has dominated with the Ashes, World Test Championship, World Cup - both men’s and women’s, the Under 19s World Cup, and Women’s T20 World Cup currently in their trophy cabinet. 

While nations like England and India are bridging that gap in men’s and women’s cricket, Langer believes this dilemma is still something to be wary of regarding other nations. 

“It's not just in the women's game. Certainly, Australia dominate, but we've got to be wary of that in cricket across the world,” he told SportFM. 

“We don't want that gap. It's almost the richer are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer, and not just in the talent pools, but certainly in the finances to keep being able to run Test Cricket.

“So everyone says, the country's Test Cricket is dying, but the reason it is is not because they don't love Test Cricket. It's because they can't afford to put it on. It's really expensive to put it on. So I think the distribution of wealth is important. 

“That said, when you see guys like Shamar Joseph come over during the summer and West Indies beat Australia in Queensland, then you saw the competitiveness of Pakistan during the summer, Test Cricket's great to watch. It's just that depth of talent to keep challenging Australia, India and England.”

Langer recently attended the MCC World Creative Committee meeting earlier this year where strategies and funding to close that gap and grow the game were discussed. 

He noted the differences in financial management could be contributing to the gap, labelling it a “capitalist setup.”

“It's really interesting because in the AFL it's the complete opposite model than it is in cricket,” he said.

“The poorer clubs get the greater distribution whereas, in cricket it's the complete opposite. It's more of a capitalist setup where the richer teams and the richer countries get most of the money. 

“I see both sides of it so everyone's aware of it and it's like the old turkey and Christmas scenario or the GSP scenario that people are making the wealth believe they should get a greater distribution of it. 

“People are aware but people are arguing it, finding a solution and you've got to remember member style system that the ICC is is very difficult.”

Langer commentated on the Women’s test and admits he was “ashamed” to not have watched women’s cricket live before this match, but “loved the way they went about it”. 

In particular, he noted Annabel Sutherland’s double century, Darcie Brown’s five-wicket haul and Alyssa Healy’s overall captaincy. 

“The skill was awesome to watch, but I just love their spirit. It was absolutely brilliant and it was not just the pure skill,” he said. 

“On the first morning of the game, you could just tell how excited they were to play Test Cricket and it was tangible out there on the ground. They were really appreciative of the broadcast, they were appreciative and respectful of what was going into it.

“It was a really good experience and I'm glad I've done it and I'll definitely do more of it in the future.”



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