The South African Flag is one the more colourful of world cricket and with each Australia Cricket Tour to South Africa, game after game, more and more flags are being waved by their people, as they cheer and support their lads on the field. At the start of each game, the national anthem and 'Shosholoza' (South African theme song) are sung, and the terraces look fantastic awash with the colour of hundreds of South African flags.
A favourite photo from Chennai, India, in 2004, the first thing that comes to mind as I look at this today is a 'conversation' I had with an Englishman at Old Trafford at the Ashes Test Match, during Australia's Cricket Tour Of England in 2019. Sitting down and getting my flag out, this bloke behind leaned forward stating;
"That flag better not touch me!"
"Yeah, I will do my best not to flick your eye out" I jovially replied.
With great fondness I remember Australia's last Test Cricket Tour to Pakistan, way back in 1998, as one of a handful of Australian spectators to have ticked this box. Since then we have sadly played Pakistan away in Colombo, Sharjah, London, Leeds, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Pleasingly, with Pakistan having ticked all their security boxes, the Australia Cricket Team is tantalizingly close to returning to the now vastly unknown cricket land of Pakistan, and so shall we!
To acknowledge the support and trust people put in our tour group formerly known as 'Waving The Flag', we inaugurated 'The Flaggy Green' on the Australian Cricket Tour of South Africa in 2006, awarding a touring number with very cap presented. Over the years, we welcomed 650 Flaggers before we lowered 'The Flag' after Australia V Sri Lanka Cricket Tour in 2016.
Many would doubt there is a 'Wonderland' in Dhaka, but when on any Australian Cricket Tour we seek attractions both usual and unusual so Pete, Melinda, and I visited this tacky adventure playland. It was not for the slower than walking dodgem cars but specifically to see the aircraft that crashed at Dhaka Airport the previous year and which was now in the park and converted into a restaurant!
Besides the consistent lack of 90 overs bowled in a day's play, one of my biggest bug-bears following cricket is match timings. Play often starts 1-2 minutes late, yet the session always ends smack on-time instead of 1-2 minutes late. There was no more confusing match timing than that of Day 1 in Chittagong, during the Australian Test Cricket Tour of Bangladesh in 2006.
Always keen for a red-hot tip to help pay for the tour, after spending the first five races in the member's lounge at the Bloemfontein Race Course*, the general manager invited us into the marshalling ring prior to the 6th, where we had the pleasure to meet Kevin Shea, South Africa's leading Jockey.
Watching any Australian Cricket Tour of South Africa can be summed up as 'relaxed', and there's no better example than turning up at a venue and being reminded that weapons are not allowed. Some grounds even have 'cloakrooms' where you can leave said weapons. With all dangers outside, instead of buying lunch at the game you can bring your own Braai (BBQ)along with all the knives, fork, prongs, tongs, fire starters, and crockery you need to kill and cook. Brilliant!