The concept of Mr. Packer’s network running exhibition matches had been rumoured since late in 1976, but even as the Australian XI arrived in England on tour in 1977 there were solid moves afoot to make the series a reality.
In what was a ‘perfect storm’, the traditions of the ACB collided with the no-nonsense leadership of the past Australian captain, Ian Chappell. A true leader both on and off the field, Chappell had endeavoured to secure a better deal for his players for some time. Now the Board’s refusal to address the players’ concerns raised by Chappell for years had bred frustration at the very time when Mr. Packer was in need of players to make his concept a reality.
When the news of World Series Cricket finally broke on May 9th, 35 players had already signed, including 18 Australians of whom 13 were on tour in England at that very time. There were also 17 players who constituted the ‘Rest of the World’ and now gave Mr. Packer the players he needed.
However, a jewel in the crown would undoubtedly be world cricket’s entertainers, the West Indies…