JOHN MENADUE. Reforming the governance of Cricket Australia.

Yesterday, I wrote about giving Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft a second chance. The focus has rightly been on them, but deliberately hidden from sight until forced out into the open has been Cricket Australia and its Board .

The performance of the well-rewarded Board of Cricket Australia has been lack-lustre, to put very politely. 

In their governance, there have been some major shortcomings for which they must be held responsible.

Until a crisis arose, the board did very little to address the aggression and rudeness of the Australian cricket team over many years. Even late in the day, the Australian coach described sledging as ‘banter’.

The culture of win-at-all-costs has been driven by high salaries funded by rivers of fools’ gold from gambling, booze and junk food advertising. The future of cricket surely deserves better than the promotion of very addictive and very unhealthy products. One in four Australian children (aged 2-17) are overweight or obese. Poor food and nutrition are major contributors.

The commercialization of cricket has been exemplified in the way that lip service is given to the Australian logo and the ‘baggy green’, but they are all discarded as quickly as possible so that players and the coach can dress up in the blue garb of BUPA and other sponsors. Do we really want to see our senior cricketers promoting junk insurance products?. Shouldn’t they be taking pride in our national colours?

Other sporting codes, like the AFL and NRL, have been very successful in promoting indigenous participation in their sports. But Cricket Australia has very little to show. Does it even care? How ironic and sad it is that the first Australian sporting team to travel overseas was a team of Aboriginal cricketers to England in 1868. There is very little to show since then except a PR gesture or two.

The banality of TV commentators on Channel 9, wanting to keep sweet with their employer and Cricket Australia, is painfully obvious.

Cricket Australia has just announced a players’ cultural review together with an enquiry into the governance and culture of Cricket Australia and its management. It is to be hoped that these reviews are more successful than the governance review in 2011 by Don Argus of banking and mining fame. That review six years ago found evidence of a poor team culture. Yet the behaviour of the team since that time has worsened. Hopefully, the next reviews will be more successful than the last one.

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