Cricketers Panel 2005 with chaplain Dr Mark Tronson
Numerous writers for well over a century has pondered the nature of cricket and why it has such a hold over the nation.
My doctoral work in 1984-86 on sports chaplaincy contained an entire section of sport and its application to the nation's welfare. Much of this was focused on cricket.
Here are a few ideas
In England, cricket was a gentleman's game. In Australia's egalitarianism, to take the mickey, we're all gentleman. Some smoked while fielding, whites were not always available, language was never polite, sledging was as natural as was falling off a log, and I could go on. Get the picture.
The Australian team were the Australian gentleman where they cleaned up their act for 5 days with their girl friends, mother's or wives were on their case! Otherwise it was the usual pub chit chat with as many bluey's as held up the bar.
The media were just the same as the cricketers – their written newspaper columns conveyed the Australian gentlemen, but with the boys it was the usual! The pitch held a sacred agreement, which put on a face!
Then there was the idea that cricket was a level playing field. Whether you were a teenager cricketer from Bowral or a farmer from Bourke or a manufacturing labourer from Broadmeadows or a banker in Glenelg, once on the pitch, a strange phenomena took place. A bowler, a batsman, fielders. And the scorer - often a wife or a daughter.
What about the after game discussion and the dinner table talk at home. Names, scores, shots, catches, run-outs were the order of the day. Everyone knew exactly what each was talking about, and this translated to the Australian team and every person in the nation became a selector, an umpire, a commentator ….
Sons would talk to their fathers endlessly about the cricket. Work situations whether in an office or on the farm inevitably discussed the cricket. It was their game. They understood. It all came down to you. The success of the farm. The budgeting of the weekly wage. Facing each and every ball on the pitch.
I could wax lyrical on this – for generation after generation – this was the staple diet of the nation's summer. One person said, summer has come when the cricket commentary begins.
The Ashes of all the Test cricket dramas is filled with additional delights as whether we like it or not, even in our many cultures within Australia today, the summer of cricket emerges as a national obsession.
I served for 17 years as the Australian cricket team chaplain to 2000 and then for many years visited the Australian Institute of Sport Cricket Academy in Brisbane at Allan Border Field. These are normal every day lads. In 2001 I established Life After Cricket and Allan Border and I chewed the cud for a name for cricket respite – 'Cricket family respite'. 30 November I release the 35th edition of the Retired Australian Cricketers Bi-Annual Newsletter focusing on Cricket Respite.
Delma Tronson at the Festival of Cricket in Bowral
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at