Australia ethnic cricket.
Their has been a cry out for greater ethnicity in Australian Cricket which is generally anglo celtic,and most of its adherents being British. Enter Usman Khawajah walking down the hallowed steps of the SCG and playing a confident off drive,a hook and a cut. But is he the first and will he be the last. Nonetheless he has arrived and has a strong fan base in Australia,especially New South Wales,and overseas particularly in Pakistan. His test debut was historic not only was he the first Muslim to play for Australia,but the second sub continental player to play for Australia.
That first player was Dav Whatmore playing 7 tests at the height of World Series Cricket.He scored 293 runs at 22.57 with a highest score of 77,and 6 one day internationals with 170 runs at 33 and a highest score of 116.After World Series Cricket Whatmores’international career was over,but continued to bully inter-state attacks for his beloved Victoria. Whatmore played for Victoria from 1975 and 1989 and collected over 3000 runs at an average in the low 30’s.That was not the end of Whatmore he coached for the Victorian Cricket Academy,Srilanka twice,Lancashire, Bangladesh,india Academy and the IPL side Kolkarta Knight Riders.His coaching presence has been great(winning the World Cup) and reach far but he is not the only Sub continent player to play domestic cricket in Australia.
Another name is Malcolm Francke,playing cricket in what was Ceylon,he emigrated to Australia notably Queensland in the 1960s.Where he dominated grade to a point he made his state debut in the 1960’s and made a name for himself in the mid 1970’s.Making a return to Queensland at the sprightly age of 42 in 1986.Francke went on to take 178 wickets at the average of 31.02.
Apart from the many European,some Northern,some Central European ethnic cricketers making their mark in first class cricket in the 90’s and the Zeroes,there have been other ethnic cricketers to rise in domestic cricket.Consider Aboriginal cricketers,pace bowler Ian King in 1969/70,Michael Mainhardt 1982-87,or Robert Brown 1984 to 1987(taking 87 wickets at 39.68),then another Jason Gillespie better known for his 201* vs Bangladesh,he took 259 test wickets,142 one day wickets and overall 613 first class wickets.But their is a new Aboriginal star Daniel Christian,he has played 20/20 cricket for Australia,Captained the Australian Aboriginal tour to England in 2008,and has become IPL’s $800,000 man for Deccan Charges.In first class cirkcet he has scored 1000 runs and taken 79 wickets,in one day cricket scored 1000 runs and taken 37 wickets. After playing for the Prime Ministers’xl twice and for Hamshire this genius allrounder remains the name on every fans lips for the Australian one day side which will be now preparing for the World Cup in 2015.Not only have their been Aboriginal stars,but there have been other ethnic players involved in Australia domestic cricket.
One such domestic and Jewish star was Julian Wiener and he went onto playing for Australia ,scoring 281 runs with a highest score of 93 verses Pakistan. But with a plethora of openers he did not continue on, but did map out a good domestic record career scoring 3 and a half thousand runs in Sheffield shield and over a thousand runs at an average of 45 in one dayers .He is not the only Jewish player to raise heads, Michael Kilmger has long threatened to play test cricket and has played for Australia A without little success. In first class cricket he has scored 4000 runs at a healthy average of 37,and almost 3000 one day runs at a average of 39.Klinger has been charicatured as a flat track bully(Adelaide Oval),but he will be keen to change that perception next season,and it is hoped he can Captain the Redbacks to greater success. Another jewish player was Johnathon Moss who stamped his foot on domestic cricket socring 4000 runs at 35,taking 131 wickets,he was also a powerful force at one day cricket scoring 500 runs and taking 88 wickets ,he also played County cricket for Derbyshire .As we continue we will look at other such ethnic domestic cricketers.
One such player was Richard Cheequee ,the first Chinese player to play state circket, he scored over 1000 runs in Sheffield Shield cricket scoring a 100 against the then great West Indies ,but was more known for his one day cricket where he pressured national selectors for a spot with a thousand runs at an average of 40.Cheequee is also known as a singer and sings for Brett Lees’ all Blue (NSW) band 6 and out .He and his brother Michael terrorised grade cricket for way over a decade. Their are also less prominent ethnic players in state cricket: Nathan Adcock(South African),Evan Gordon (South African),_ Clton Herron (Zimbabwe),Phil Marks (Zimbabwe)Scott Brant (Zimbabwe),Keith Dejong (srilankan),Justin Coetzee (south African) Simon Gillies (Jamaica),Dave Payne (west Indian and Indonesian),and again another noted two.
They are again Usman Khawajah scoring 2000 runs at 48,and 277 one day runs (including a 100) of 30,he has also played for Australia A and the Prime Ministers xl and he also will play for Derbyshire in the off season .The other high profiled player now playing in IPl is Andrew Symmonds who scored a thousand and a half test runs at an average of 40,5000 runs at 39 in one dayers taking 133 wickets at 39.75.His state record was more impressive scoring 14,000 runs and taking 242 wickets, scoring 11 thousand one day runs and 282 wickets, Symmonds was also a stand out in County cricket even tho his heritage was West Indian. Some feel Andrew Symmonds retired too early from International cricket.But with that said,we move onto the future and look at the many ethnic youngsters knocking down the door of Domestic cricket.
With the expansion of the KFC cup and many retirements the future presents many young players with a great opportunity in first class cricket, especially New South Wales cricket and Victoria where most of the ethnic talent is located.(both NSW and Victoria will have 2 sides each in the expanded KFC cup).In New South Wales future cup stars are John Phathanak,Ailen Beadle(played World Youth CUP), B Sandhu and M singh from the Wests Sydney club will benefit,in Victoria former Youth World cup internationals Kumar Sarnia and Clive Rose will benefit from the competition, both having played for the Futures cup team. Other emerging players are Michael Nesar from South Africa(who took 4/53 on debut),Cam Francis and Eric Opie from South Australia ,Indigenous stars Peter O’çallaghan from Canberra,Preston White from Queensland and Darcy Short from West Australia, all have played Futures Cup (the National 2nd xl competition),and their futures looks bright.
But there is a cautionary tale ,that is Kumar Sarnia(aged 22) who after representing Youth Australia ,and being comared to Sanath Jayasyria, Kumar moved into the Futures cup team scoring a 100 and then proceeding onto the Australian cricket Academy. Undoubtedly a big talent Sarnia chose not to hang around and tried to break into the Dehli side in an effort to unseat Virander Sewhag and Gautum Gambier in that side ,hoping it would spring forth into the IPL leagues on an Indian passport. The process failed and he did not crack the strong Dehli side and then lierally disaapeared off the face of the earth, ending up in a literally uncompetitive world of park cricket in Melbourne.It would be hoped that these talents played their way into the Australian Domestic Scene,which is so obviously lacking, even if it means moving interstate.
We will end this article by looking at the face of Usman Khawajah again, he not only stands as the future ambassador of ethnic cricket in Australia, but maybe the future face of Australian cricket which is now rebuilding. But know this he is not the only ethnic star on the horizon as their will be more in time, and Cricket Australia which has a multi cultural officer, has done a lot to bring about change in Australian cricket and this has to be appreciated.