Cricket Australia has moved to ensure any skeletons in its closet remain there after ordering all unused footage from the filming of The Test to be destroyed.
The second season of the fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Australian Test cricket team was recently released on the Amazon Prime streaming service.
The series touched on a number of major changes and issues in the Aussie cricket setup, including the sacking of coach Justin Langer, the appointment of Pat Cummins as captain, Glenn Maxwell’s battle with depression and Usman Khawaja’s faith and ongoing battles against discrimination.
The Test documentary highlighted Justin Langer’s appointment as Australian coach in 2018 – and when he stepped down last year in controversial circumstances
Australian skipper Pat Cummins candidly revealed in The Test Langer did a good job when at the helm – but after four years, it was time for a fresh outlook in his eyes
While there were plenty of meaningful and insightful moments captured during the two seasons of The Test to date, there also hundreds or hours of surplus footage filmed.
Recently, we have seen old footage emerge decades later with The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the all-conquering Chicago Bulls of the 1990s giving viewers a new insight into a golden era for the NBA.
However there is zero chance of that happening with this cricket footage, after Cricket Australia ordered any unused content be destroyed.
That means any conversations, statements or vision of moments Cricket Australia would not approve for The Test will forever remain out of public view.
All of the deleted and destroyed vision is from season one of The Test and came about from a handshake agreement between Cricket Australia and primary cinematographer Andre Mauger.
A similar arrangement has not yet been made for the leftover content from the second season, so there is some hope of it being archived and re-visited in the future.
The sandpaper cheating incident in South Africa was well covered in The Test, highlighting the rebuilding Cricket Australia had to do afterwards
The Test documented the rise of Tim Paine from obscurity to Test captain and then his consequent fall over the sexting scandal
However Cricket Australia has a track record of being very guarded about what goes on in the inner sanctum of the Test side’s changerooms.
In 1996 the documentary Year Of The Dogs was released, going behind the scenes of battling AFL club Footscray – who would become the Western Bulldogs.
The interest was high and filmmakers wanted similar access to the Australian cricket team but were denied. Similar flat bats have been raised to all requests since then, with The Test treading new ground.
Former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting gave some insights into why they didn’t want cameras in their changerooms at the Chappell Foundation dinner in Sydney in early 2020.
‘I was very guarded as the Australian captain because I didn’t particularly want – and this will probably come across in the wrong way – the public to know about our team,’ he said,
‘There was a lot of mystique about what happened in the changerooms of the Australian cricket team and I found myself a guardian of our players, almost like a father figure to the players where I wasn’t going to let anybody know anything they didn’t need to know.’
Five years ago, filming for The Test began with Australia’s reputation in tatters following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschgne attend the premiere of The Test Season Two at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter
The documentary shows how Justin Langer set about slowly rebuilding the team’s image, with their two best batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, both banned from the sport for 12 months by CA after bringing the sport into disrepute.
It follows the now infamous footage in Cape Town where Cameron Bancroft – himself later suspended for nine months – was busted on camera using sandpaper during a Test to illegally alter the shape of the ball.
It is widely understood Warner urged him to do so – and then skipper Smith was well aware of the devious tactics, but didn’t stop them.
A total of eight episodes followed in season one, where Australia salvaged its reputation under the new leadership of Langer and Tim Paine.
Season two showed more change, when Paine’s historical off-field conduct involving a female staff member of Cricket Tasmania saw him step down as Australian captain ahead of the 2021 Ashes series.
Australian allrounder Maxwell opened up about his battles with mental health and depression in The Test
Months later Langer quit as Australian coach after four years in charge, insulted by a six-month contract extension from CA.
It followed Australia winning the Ashes against England and the T20 World Cup in 2021 in Dubai.
The documentary also provides an insight into how Langer supposedly lost the support of key figures such as Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood due to his hard-nosed nature.
The trio all state after four years at the helm, the consensus among the playing group was that Langer had done an adequate job, but it was time for change.
Former all-rounder Andrew McDonald replaced Langer in the hot seat last April.