It takes a brave sports team to throw open not just the dressing room door to the cameras but every aspect of competing from confidential briefings to training sessions. But that’s exactly what Cricket Australia decided to do when it commissioned a documentary about it, called The Test: A New Era For Australia’s Team.
The eight-part series that is available on Amazon Prime covers the 16-month period following the now notorious ball-tampering incident in Cape Town up until the end of the 2019 Ashes tour of England. Given the fallout following the suspension of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, as well as the subsequent resignation of Darren Lehmann, the decision to open up to the world must have been made with trepidation.
The action doesn’t start well for the Baggy Greens when, in the first episode, it covers the 5-0 drubbing by England in the 2018 one-day series before moving on to the 2-1 test series defeat at home to India, the first time the tourists had won on Australian soil for 71 years. The fact that Cricket Australia didn’t decide to abandon the whole project there and then, to resume it at some point in the future when the team was again leading the world, says a great deal for their commitment. Perhaps it also underlines just what a major PR recovery job was needed after the debacle in South Africa.
What adds real spice to the series, along with the seemingly unrestricted access to coach Justin Langer and his team, is the fact that the cameras were there to record not just the World Cup held in England and Wales in the summer of 2019, but the thrilling Ashes series as well.
Following the disappointment of not making it to the final of the former, the latter contest more than lived up to expectations. With drama, reversals of fortune and possibly one of the greatest test match comebacks of all time, the series could simply not have been a better subject for a drama even if it had been scripted in advance.
At the centre of this was the now legendary Headingley test. For anyone who needs reminding, England seemed as good as dead and buried after their first innings score of just 67. So low, in fact, that any English fans fancying a successful wager would have done far better by taking a Bonus casino overview to see the best incentives available for joining up on an online casino and distracting themselves from the disaster unfolding on the pitch.
But that was not to allow for the miracle produced by another player who’s no stranger to controversy, Ben Stokes. By capturing the sheer disbelief of the Australian camp that they had managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as well as the many post mortems, it’s some of the most engrossing TV any cricket fan could hope for.
So tune in as soon as you can for a series that’s certain to change the way the world sees Cricket Australia – and gives a whole new meaning to a “warts and all” depiction.
(Photo credit: Mertie).