'Lillee true founding father of one-day cricket'
Melbourne: The true founding father of one-day cricket was not Kerry Packer but Dennis Lillee and Australians should thank the legendary pacer for creating ODIs, according to one of the original World Series Cricket directors.
World Series Cricket director Austin Robertson credits Lillee for creating the ODIs, but is surprised that Channel documentary Howzat! has removed him from history.
Howzat! producers launched a defence of their own, claiming that they had asked Lillee to contribute but the bowling superstar refused to because he wouldn`t get any money.
Robertson, who worked with the former Channel 9 star and the rebel team, also defended "the Big Fella", and said he was not the bully he was portrayed to be. Nor was the late batting star David Hookes the simpering and indecisive vacillator depicted in the show.
In a tell-all piece written exclusively for a leading daily, Robertson said Howzat! was great entertainment and brilliantly produced, but riddled with inaccuracies, News.com.au reports.
He said: "The producers made a nonsense of the way they treated the man really responsible for the whole thing - Dennis Lillee. Dennis was visible enough but he is not given the acknowledgement for having the idea in the first place, and his contribution in putting the entire thing together.
"Other people have put their hands up for having the brainchild of WSC but I am here to say that, without Lillee, it would never have happened at the time. Though Packer was determined to get the precious television rights, they would never have been delivered at that time without having the best fast bowler in the world in his corner.
"Curiously, the producers of the show, in the curtain-call of the program, in the segment ``Where are the main players today,`` Lillee was again overlooked. I had to ask myself, why did they do that? It was Lillee who delivered the players and, while it was great to be playing on the Packer team, without Lillee it would have never got off the ground."
Robertson also said he and Lillee had been approached, but declined to take part.