There's been a lot of inaccurate twaddle written in the overseas media about the late Kerry Packer over the past week. I could get nasty and single out some exceedingly bad pieces of near-fiction that I have seen in some of the Indian newspapers, but I would have expected better of CricInfo than to describe him as "one-day cricket's inventor".
I think in wrapping up my trilogy of postings about KFBP I'll point to some recommended further reading on Packer and the whole WSC shebangh. There's a stack of good reading to be had in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian since Packer's death. If you take this link to Google News (updated 29.8.12 to isolate period 27-31.12.05) you'll find a lot of worthwhile reportage. The latest edition of The Bulletin, the flagship news magazine of the Packer publishing empire, understandably goes to great length about its boss - just don't look too hard for objectivity. (No longer available online since The Bulletin closed in 2008. - RE, 29.8.12)
To CricInfo's credit, they did hire Gideon Haigh to write an obituary, and he has done an excellent job. It helps that he has written probably the best account to date on the WSC episode, his 1993 book "The Cricket War".
Other books in my collection that I would recommend include:
- "The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer" by Paul Barry, a comprehensive and unflattering unauthorised biography
- "The Rise and Fall of Alan Bond", also by Paul Barry, devotes a chapter or so to the debacle of Bond's purchase of Channel Nine from Packer
- "Compulsive Viewing" is written by Gerald Stone, who for many years was executive producer of Sixty Minutes on the Nine Network. A lively memoir of, as his subtitle says, "The Inside Story of Packer's Nine Network", the chapter on WSC bears the title "Lights! Condoms! Action!" (and no, that refers to the condoms used to keep the ground microphones dry when the pitch was watered)
- "The Cricket Revolution: The Inside Story of the Great Cricket Crisis of 1977-78" is a contemporary account by Eric Beecher, then the editor of Cricketer magazine (not related to its English namesake) and published in time for the 1978-79 season
- "With A Straight Bat" is another contemporary account, written in 1979 by former WSC executive Andrew Caro.
(One notable book about WSC that I haven't read is "The Great Cricket Hijack" by Christopher Forsyth.)