The Sydney test between Australia and South Africa kicks off tomorrow and there is an important cause that it will support. Breast cancer awareness is critical to early detection and ultimately a cure for the individual. I am not heartless (I think) but I believe that this isnt quite the right place to promote this cause.
So – the facts: the wicket will have pink stumps, players will have pink grips and stickers on their bats, Glenn McGrath can be seen sporting a pink bandanna ahead of the test and if effect the SCG will “turn pink” according to an Australian newspaper. This will be very effective in raising awareness since the test will have a huge following despite being a dead rubber.
I loathe having to characterise this as politics but this tag seems the most appropriate one. My primary fear (and this might seem really trivial considering the people suffering due to breast cancer) is that this is the start of an uneasy, permanent association between cricket and politics. Test cricket watchers tend to be purists and the purpose of a test match should not be a cause of any kind. If the cause is secondary then it becomes a side show and if it is the primary purpose then it hurts test cricket.
Worse, I’m scared that the tenuous relationship between sport and politics will be manipulated by politicians, administrators and presumably “evil” forces. Cricket isolated South Africa during apartheid but Zimbabwe is still merrily playing on. The Munich Olympics is a doomsday scenario we obviously don’t want a repeat of.
More than anything, I want to watch cricket for cricket’s sake.