Melbourne: Young actor Clayton Watson is thrilled to don the role of former Australian captain Ian Chappell - a key figure behind origin of World Series Cricket in 1976 - in Channel 9’s eagerly-awaited mini-series Howzat.
The filming of the series is set to begin next month.
The production, which details media magnate Kerry Packer’s creation of a rebel one-day series, hopes to reproduce the ratings success of last year’s acclaimed ABC mini-series Paper Giants, also the work of Southern Star, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Watson was a more than a competent junior cricketer who gave up the sport for an acting career.
He insisted that it was an honour for him to be picked for the role of “Chappelli”.
“Ian is a legend in my books. I want to do him justice,” Watson said.
“I``ve spent two weeks doing sprint training and I``m itching to get into the nets and hit a few balls.”
Lachy Hulme, who plays miner Todd Russell in the coming Beaconsfield telemovie, will portray Packer.
The mini-series aims at capturing the turbulent period in the 1970s when Packer declared war on the Australian Cricket Board, secretly signing up 50 of the world’s best cricketers for the rebel competition.
The rebel games clashed with official Test matches and the war continued. It ushered in the era of one-day cricket played under lights and the Chappell brothers, Ian and Greg, were early converts.
The cast also includes Brendan Cowell, who will play wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, Matthew Le Nevez of The Society Murders as Dennis Lillee, and Richard Davies who struck success in Offspring, as David Hookes.
“World Series Cricket was a great adventure for everybody,” the show’s producer John Edwards said.