Cricket Australia’s vision is for cricket to be a sport for all Australians. But, if Australia has fallen out of love with Australia’s men’s team, I wonder if the lack of diversity in the side is one of the reasons.
In the 20 years between the 2001 and 2021 censuses, the number of Australians born overseas increased from 21.8 to 27.7 per cent of the population, including a five-fold increase for those born in India.
But, with the notable exception of Usman Khawaja, the demographic composition of Pat Cummins’ side looks very much like that of Steve Waugh’s team two decades ago. And when you look a little closer, the composition of the state sides playing Sheffield Shield around the country is similar.
But, an even bigger issue might be that the Australian team is even more unrepresentative of the people actually playing cricket at the community level, where participation from players of south-Asian heritage and other newer Australians has been growing for many years.
The biggest and most enthusiastic cricket crowd we have seen in Perth for some time, was for India’s world cup T20 clash with South Africa.
I can’t help but wonder if this type of support and commercial success might be available for the Australian team too, if it was more representative of all the people who love and play cricket in Australia.
This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.