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Can our veteran cricketers bring home the World Cup?

The international competition for players over 60 is a test of will, strength, and endurance.

How to join in

Veterans cricket competitions started in 2008 and there are now competitions for over-70s (an Australian team toured the UK last year) as well as over-50s and over-40s competitions.

Women are developing their own competitions and some currently play with the men’s teams.

Veterans’ competitions are run during the winter months and most clubs offer a range of divisions catering for different player levels.

New players are encouraged to have a check-up with their doctor, particularly if there are any underlying health issues.

Each state has its own association, responsible for organising local competitions, and Veterans Cricket Australia has a Facebook page.  

Sport and exercise are paths to life-long fitness – and members of the Australian over-60s cricket team provide a model for older people wondering if they can retain or regain some of the fitness of their youth.

Team members have a history of valuing fitness and wanting to maintain it throughout their lives, by playing the sports they love, backed up by good health and regular exercise.

All that will be put to the test in Chennai in India this month when the Australians and 13 other national teams compete for the trophy currently held by Pakistan.

Team trainer, Garry Zealand, says playing in India poses significant challenges for cricketers of any age, let alone those 60+.

“After each game there will be a warm-down and stretching session while still at the ground, including rehydration with electrolytes and water,” he said.

“Any injuries requiring treatment, including ice and compression stocking treatment, will be attended to before boarding the bus for the trip back to the hotel, which can take up to an hour in busy Chennai.”

Veterans cricket is increasingly popular in Australia, with a range of grades for men and women of varying skills, fitness, and enthusiasm.

Local teams

While our national team faces fitness challenges in India, club-based over-60s cricketers face their own closer to home.

“These are mainly strains and sprains and just general fatigue, mainly because many of them don’t do any specific conditioning and flexibility work, and many are overweight or carrying injuries from the years of playing sports, not just cricket,” Garry said.

“They still love to play cricket, as much for the social interaction as much as the game itself. And, as we now know, that interaction is very important in regard to mental health as much as physical health.

“The feedback from new players is always that they love the social side of returning to the game they love.”

Mark Brady, a former Australian world cup team member and current Queensland captain who is now in his mid-60s, says enjoyment is the key.

“I make sure I enjoy what I do. At this age I figure if I stop enjoying it, I’ll do something that I do enjoy.”

So, it’s not just the fitness benefits that keeps him playing.

He loves the camaraderie “both within our own clubs and with the teams we play against”.

“While it is very competitive, it is always played within the true spirit of cricket. Some of my closest friends play for other clubs and even interstate,” Mark said, while also pointing to travel as a bonus.

“Many of us are semi-retired or retired and use the many carnivals as an adjunct to holiday travel with our wives. At the nationals in Perth many of us visited Margaret River, Albany, and Esperance.

“This year’s over-65s nationals are in Mackay. If selected, I’ll be taking my caravan on an extended road trip.”

Fitness schedule

Mark has always enjoyed keeping fit, mainly through sport, and still plays touch football.

“Playing sport gives me a reason to stay fit because if I want to play to the level I enjoy and minimise injuries I need to stay fit. Sport is also good for mental fitness as well,” he said.

Mark goes to the gym four times a week, two times focusing on cardio fitness and two times doing resistance training and weights. He emphasises the importance of stretching every session.

“I walk a couple of times a week with my wife and play touch football on Wednesday nights. During cricket season I also train twice a week, while many guys train right through the year,” he said.

More information about the 2024 World Cup in Chennai is available here.


John Austin

John Austin

Policy and Communications Officer

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