14 October 2013
Do the men in cricket whites representing Australia actually represent Australia?
University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student David Utting has doubts about the correlation between our national sport and our national identity, as he reaches the halfway mark of his research into Test Cricket as an Australian cultural institution.
Titled, ‘Migrant Tests: Cultural Diversity and Australian Test Cricket’, his study examines the predominantly Anglo nature of the Australian Men’s Test Cricket team since World War Two, despite the rapid growth of our cultural diversity.
“As an institution, the team has been promoted as representing the nation beyond the cricket field, but the last Australian Census showed that almost half of our population is now born overseas or has at least one parent born overseas,” Mr Utting said.
“My research of historical and cricket records has shown only six per cent of Test cricketers since World War Two have been in that category – either first or second generation migrants.
“I have studied Cricket Australia’s Annual Reports since the 1980s and have found that cricket’s advertising pitch has been predominantly aimed at an Anglo-Australian audience.”
Mr Utting is a Kawana Island retiree who started an Arts PhD at the Sippy Downs campus 18 months ago to combine his lifelong passion for the traditional form of cricket with his interest in Australia’s national identity.
It follows the completion of his Master of Arts (Australian Studies) at the University of Queensland, after a 40-year break from tertiary study while he worked in Victoria’s electricity industry.
His next step in the PhD is to interview migrants who have played cricket in Australia, to gain insights into their experiences with cricket as a significant Australian cultural icon.
“I love historical debate and I’m interested in how sport in general, and cricket specifically, have been used as a forum for discourse about aspects of Australian culture and identity,” he said.
Mr Utting said he was thoroughly enjoying his studies at USC because of its friendly, personal and supportive environment.
“I have found that I am not simply a number but a valued contributor to university life,” he said.
His wife Susie has also enrolled at USC to study a Doctor of Creative Arts in cross genre writing of poetry and prose.
— Julie Schomberg