Masala Mates - the South Asianization of Australian Club Cricket


In November 2022, India and Zimbabwe played before 82,507 in a group game of the T20 cricket World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Though little rode on the result, the crowd was the tournament’s third highest and drawn predominantly from Melbourne’s Indian communities. It reflected the substantial support for South Asian teams during the tournament. India’s matches averaged 55,000, double crowds for Australia’s fixtures. It also reflected a deeper demographic shift in Australian cricket. South Asian migration is transforming Australian cricket’s cultural base, evident in club competitions in Melbourne and Sydney. Based on surveys of local cricket club playing lists, this study identifies the geographic areas of high South Asian participation in official Cricket Australia and unofficial South Asian competitions. The study contends that South Asian participation is transforming the traditional Anglocentric base of Australian cricket. Though Anglocentrism remains entrenched in the game’s administration, and state and national teams, club competitions on Melbourne and Sydney’s outer suburban rims are becoming South Asianized, resulting in a clash of cricketing cultures. This poses challenges for administrators at local and elite levels, and municipal authorities dealing with communities’ demands for access to limited sporting space. As this study contends, South Asianization will challenge Australian cricket’s capacity to move beyond its Anglocentric roots and meaningfully embrace multiculturalism. Outer suburban pitches are becoming culturally contested spaces.


Lucas Moreira dos Anjos Santos
Lecturer, Monash Intercultural Lab, School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

Tom F Heenan
Lecturer, Monash Intercultural Lab, Monash University, Victoria, Australia


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—The Impact of Professional Sport on Community


Interculturality, Cricketing cultures, South Asia, Migration, Super-Diversity, Multiculturalism

Digital Media


Masala Mates The South Asianization Of Australian Club Cricket (Embed)