While World Series Cricket now had its players signed, there were still a good many issues to attend to before a single ball could be bowled. Questions began to surface regarding the legality of the WSC player contracts and even whether the rules of the game could be used as they were the copyrighted property of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Was a restraint of trade being placed on the players by their cricketing Boards?
Meanwhile the International Cricket Conference (ICC) fired off its own volley, ruling that any WSC fixtures would be denied ‘First Class’ status and any players involved would be banned from Test and all forms of first class cricket.
The gauntlet had been thrown down by both sides and in search of a binding resolution the argument reached the hallowed halls of the High Court in London. Ultimately, the Court recognised that the cricketers were professionals and that they should be allowed to pursue opportunities that would allow them best to make a living. The contracts were legal and the battle lines had been defined.
Battle lines that included an elite group who were now free to come in from the cold….
Tony Greig and Kerry Packer relaxing at the Dorchester Hotel in London ahead of the court case. (Image courtesy News Ltd)