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CRICKET HIGHJACKING

Posted on 26 September, 2017 at 1:40 Comments comments (2)

Over recent times I've found myself asking this question... is Mens Cricket being highjacked by safe space snow flakes who are unable to face the hard truth or the reality cricket can dish out to all who play it?

 

It seems to me that one sector of the Cricket Community is trying to close down any conversation or debate the game might throw up from time to time and if anyone outside their domain has an opinion that they do not agree with... they attack and ridicule them for expressing it.

 

I was astounded to read comments directed at Patrick Smith a Journalist for the Australian newspaper last week following the opinion he offered on Women's Cricket, see below:


Australian Women’s Cricketer "Alyssa Healy" was so disgruntled she then followed up with an article that was immediately published on the "cricket.com" website. see the link below:


http://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/alyssa-healy-womens-sport-opinion-cricket-australia-pace-speed-bowling-men-pathways-girls/2017-09-22


Wow!!! Did you happen to notice that she is being ranked, The Number One Wicket Keeper in Australia?


Who wrote this Malcolm Conn???!!!


PATRICK SMITH was a terrific fast bowler for the Prahran Cricket Club and a member of the Victorian State Squad. During his playing days he worked hard on his career as a journalist and today, he is very respected in both the print and radio mediums. And I’ll let you all into a secret... I concur with his thoughts, as do many other experienced cricketers, coaches and cricket experts.

 

The hash but real truth is that, if you are going to play the game of cricket, you have to learn to deal with opinions, ideas, criticism and analysis from all sections of the game, whether it is from the opposition team on the field, their supporters on the boundary, past players or commentators like me. It is part and parcel of cricket and it is from this, that we learn so much about ourselves and others.

 

Having read Alyssa's article, I firstly tried to think back over my time to remember if I'd ever seen "sporting identities" of any kind consciously sitting around in their underwear on TV drinking beer. I do however remember as a young man growing up, the very inspirational women of Australian sport... household names in fact: Betty Cuthbert, Dawn Fraser, Margaret Smith (Court), Evvone Goolagong (Cawley), Heather McKay, Shane Gould, Raylene Boyle, era's of triumphant Australian Netball teams and Womens Hockey teams the list goes on... To say there was no avenue to Elite Levels seems disrespectful to all those Australian Sporting Women, either as individuals or as representatives of team sport.


Alyssa, I can tell you that there have been many Australian Women who have successfully competed at the "ELITE LEVELS" of their sport on the world stage and they didn't need TV to inspire them. And for goodness sake... Women’s Cricket has been played throughout Australia for more than 100 years and you might like to ask yourself this question. If Women's Cricket is so successful, as everyone associated with it is trying to force down our throats... how come it is relying on the Men’s game to fund it? 


All Cricket Teams in Australia have "Wicket Keepers" and many of these "Glovemen" are playing at a levels far more testing and competitive in standard than Australia's No 1 Women's "Wicket Keeper" and none of them go around throwing the term "Elite" all over the place...  one would need to be the best of the best and Womens Cricket has a long way to go before anyone playing it can be measured by that standard.


It seems some are attempting to "jump the cue" to highjack the sporting "Spot Light".


How about we show some respect not only to other sporting codes, successful in their own right, but to all the other "Woman in Sport" competing on the world stage with little recognition. It might also be worth considering the many Junior pathway cricketers who are far better at cricket than any Woman in the game and these young sports people receive little or no recognition or the profile in the game, whilst some with less talent are being called champions of the sport... how does that work?


Women’s Cricket needs to be a success story and until then it's players need to be humble. They must accept constructive critisim and deal with it like everyone else has too. The public don't want to be told they like it when there seems to be issues holding the Women's section of the game back. I have given it great thought, searching for ways to solve the problems I can see. Such as, will the Women's style of game appeal to the traditional cricket fan or will they come in the numbers needed to make the game sustainable and pay to watch it? If not why not? 


The most pressing issue for Women's Cricket in my mind, is to find ways to equalize the competition between Bat and Ball.These are questions being asking in the Mens Game where the bats sizes have been reduced. These issues need to be addressed because the game may never stand on its own or attract the support it really needs and it cannot be carried by the Men forever.

 

In my opinion the first thing we must do is shorten the pitch. Bowlers must be brought into the game. At present the game is totally one sided and unfair for any young women lacking in bowling strength whichs means they're severely disadvantaged. A shorter pitch will make up for the lack of strength and pace, evening the contest between bat and ball, adding greater intrigue to the style of play... it is certainly worth considering.

 

I'd also like to see a genuine profit and loss statement... detailing the ICC Women's World Cup so that we can be more informed. Being able to make a more reasoned judgement would help all in the game and without all the creative accounting measures used to make Cricket Australia promotors look good... for example sell out crowds at Alan Border Field which holds a massive 6300 people. Let us see where Women's Cricket is truly at... where the money has been spent, where it came from and how much of it came in from TV rights, numbers through the gates by paying customers and in particular... how much did it cost to put the game on at Lords and whether the gate takings covered costs???


So before everyone takes "a fence and a picket" to the commentators... take some time to think about it, I think you'll find that they are are all on the same side.


A VOTE TO PROTECT THE GAME

Posted on 23 August, 2017 at 23:45 Comments comments (0)

The future of Victorian Cricket will be decided to tonight at "Cricket House' Jolimont and to the Delegates I remind you of your obligation to the game.

 

I trust all Delegates have searched their conscience... spending all the necessary time discussing your pending vote with your playing lists and members... those you represent. Have you outlined just how critical this decision will be to the aspirations they have, their playing future or for those who'll follow them. You should have done... and well before now.

 

I hope so, for I am sure you'd want what is best for all Victorians Cricketers with aspirations to higher levels and that would surely "not be" for you to side with the incumbient Board, even though they seem to have seen some light of late... all too little too late, in the opinion of many!

 

For when Tony Dodemaide was appointed CEO of Cricket Victoria (CV) I like many in the game were excited... we believed we might have found the our crickets saviour, someone to  lead it back to the glory days. A time when home grown talent was plentiful and Test Match centuries were being rattled off by our home grown players all over the world.

 

At the time, I was the bowling coaching of Tony's former District Club "Footscray Edgewater", a club that has contributed greatly to Australian cricket over the years and hopefully will continue to do so if our cricketing system can be restored.

 

Ironically his club is now leading the charge for change and the reason comes from this... at his clubs season launch at the RACV Club, more than a decade ago, Tony made the following statement; "One third of all cricket being played in Australia is being played Victoria".

 

All these years later and under Tony's leadership and that of his Board lead by Russell Thomas, cricket in our state has gone backward... proof if you ever needed it, can be found in Cricket Australia's (CA) Cricket Participation Numbers. (or my diagram below) It shows playing levels in Victoria have fallen to less than 1/4 of the games total participants.... from 66% of all cricket played in our country to less than 25%.

 

Well that is disgraceful... "how can you congratulate" yourselves on that Tony Dodemaide and Russell Thomas? Perhaps you might like to explain how this happened instead of boasting how well the game is doing in our state! Oh that's right, you don't believe you have to answer to anyone!

 

I will concede Victoria has won a "Hat Trick" of Sheffield Shields and it paints a very nice picture. However if you look under the carpet, where the truth is swept, only 50% of the Victoria Bushrangers victorious teams were Victorian home grown cricketers... which means, either our cricketers are not up to standard or our cricket has worsened or both!

 

Another job poorly done... I'd say!

 

So how is it that any responsible cricket representative or administrator can stand up and support the incumbient who've blindly followed CA stategies, overseeing the decline in our cricket, rather than listen to those at the coal face of the game... the true cricket people.

 

Is it because they're dazzled by CA's "creative accounting" methods? A perfect example of this has been on display recently... so the following is also well worth considering:

 

CA claim cricket has 1.43m total participants.

 

800k they say involved in some form of cricket activity to do with the game in schools.

 

The most interesting statistic however, and again, swept under the carpet, has created a huge lump in the middle of the floor that CA were hoping we'd not notice... that is the 600k so called cricketers who've fail to migrate from school activity to club competition.

 

The breakdown of CA stats are as follows: NSW/ACT 395k, Vic 375k, Qld 280k, WA 185k WA, SA 125, Tas 45k, NT 25k, 185k indoor cricket

 

Lets us look at these figures again... 800k schools cricket+ 445k actually playing at club level + 185 indoor = 1.43mil of which 395k are females participating and described as cricketers.

 

This leaves 1.04mil Male cricketers meaning that out of every 100, about 25 are female cricket participants.

 

Ok lets say those figures are genuine and are reflected in those 445k actually playing club cricket... it means 18k are females, making 1.6k cricket teams compared to 39k male teams.

 

We can further assume that of the 18k females playing the game, half are from NSW & Victoria (9k) meaning 4.5k females are playing in Victoria compared to 108k males.

 

Also found under the carpet are the drop out numbers... CA or CV never mention that club cricket is down 32% from approximately 660k 25 years ago to 445k at club level today and in that number, only 135k are under 12 junior level.

 

For cricket administrators these hidden figures are tragic and nothing to celebrate... so how the hell, can 1/2 the District clubs in Victoria who claim they are fostering the game, sit on their hands rather than stand up for the game, when the majority of cricket people in Victoria are up in arm's seeking change!


What is going on!

 

Let us consider the 1.4 mil participants in Australia, of which 770k are from NSW & Victoria which is 1/2 of all participants. From this it is fair to assume 1/2 of all club participants are playing club cricket in NSW & Victoria.

 

This equates to 225,000 cricketers representing NSW and Victoria.

 

So what is so significant about this, I will tell you... it entiles NSW and Victoria to a huge share of funding from its investment in CA... set up by the owners of the games, but were are the returns and who's spending it and on what?


Just think about what could have been done with regular income to develop the game within each region of the State?

 

These are questions being asked by the "New 6" because these funds belong to the traditional owners of the game "The Grass Roots of Cricket". Made up of District Clubs in all states and their affiliates. In Victoria they are the 18 District Clubs, VCCL, VSDCA, CUOV and Womens Cricket.

 

Just for the record... Womens cricket holds 3 votes and currently hold the balance of power over the "NEW 6" who are seeking answers and change!

 

Lets put this in perspective... the Victoria Country Cricket League the producer of 49% of Victoria's State Cricketers and our Test players who generate the games income, have one losy 1 vote.

 

Ladies you need to reconsider your vote and get on the "right side" of Victorian Cricket... for you rely so much of the mens game for funding and each year CA increase its use of shareholder funds for their expenditure which ultimately reduces the effectiveness of each State in its endeavour to develop the game, your game or the mens... whether anyone likes this or not.

 

Something must be done about this and Victoria's "New 6" are doing "all the fighting" for Victorian Cricket and for the game in "All States" for that matter.

 

Meanwhile it's all too much for half the District clubs in Victoria including the Women... all bending over backward trying to do favours for themselves without the others knowledge, when they should be fighting for their share of the returns on their investment into the game... where is the transparency?

 

Consider this:

 

CA Forecasted revenue over next 5 years is $1.667 bill = 333.4 mil per year

 

Players to share 27.5% + 2.5% incentive bonus (30%)

 

$100 mil per year to players less 25 mil to grass roots leaving a gross profit of 233 mil of which 116mil per year should be shared between NSW & Victoria after cost. $58mil per year for Victorian cricket reducing at an never-ending rate thanks to CA's ever rising costs and never-ending effort to take away your share of the games ownership in Australian Cricket

 

In Victoria your ownship is supposed to be represented by CV who have failed you badly... can you not see this?


It is why District Clubs are up in arms for the game and its future... how can you allow failing administrators power to sell off your entitlements and negate your clubs ability to develop the game within your regions.

 

When was CA given the right to set about the task of taking ownership of all that has been put in place by your clubs cricketers since the 1860's and why are you not demanding an audit immediately.

 

As I see it... It is right of the ownsers to spend their share of their investment into CA earnings as they think best.


I feel I have done all I can for the game I believe in and hope the correct decision is made on Monday night the 28th of August 2017... as theoldsaying goes... you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, let's us hope the "New 6" can make history.

THE REAL CUSTODIANS OF CRICKET

Posted on 18 August, 2017 at 21:10 Comments comments (0)

For all of us worried about "grass roots cricket" here's something you might like to think about... is the game of "Cricket" headed to a "FIFA" type orgnisation?


James Sutherland recently called Cricket Australia (CA) the custodians of the game... "What an absolute load of Bull!"

 

It is those who have played... are playing or make up the membership of the cricket clubs around the Country who are the true "Custodians" of the game... and those at CA have lost sight of this!

 

The Truth is "Sutherland" is merely an employee of CA representing.. "the Custodianship" of the game. He was engaged by CA to make sure processes set up by the "Custodians" are being administer in Accordance with Memorandum of Articles (MoA).

 

The truth is, he and his Board are no longer representing the games Custodians... they now taken over, set the agenda, have become a law un-to-themselves and answerable to no one. The real Custodians no longer have a say and no mechanism to replace the Board when or if they are out of order as they have been during this pay dispute debacle... something that should never taken place in the first instance and certainly the media should never have been allowed to make such an issue of it.


It was handled disgracefully... because the State Bodies are now irrelevant and Wally Edwards and Co the architects.

 

Did Wally and cohorts ever take a good look at what you was being putting in place? Did they or any of the other Board members look at or consider the "Dominos Effect"... to see whether the system they were putting in place, protected the game, down to the fall of the last domino?

 

Obviously not!

 

No longer is the game represented by quality cricket people (I am talking about those with worldly cricket experience). You might argue that some have playing experience but they are restricted in so many other other areas.

 

Even the two Test playing Board members cannot be placed in that category.... The game needs a well balanced blend/mix?

 

How many have ever coached a premiership team or structured develop programs to teach proper skill  for clubs at park cricket from which youngsters can advance?


How many have been engaged at club level overseeing all the problems being faced by the game? How many have cricket ideas or are visionary with real experience? How many have started up and ran a successful business in the real world? How many have had to find solution for everday problems facing a club or a cricket association? 


How many with that type of experience are being elected or employed by those we elect to office? I say that figure is closer to "zero" and certainly no where near what's required.


And this will not change unless States unite and elect quality cricket people to represent the game. People who will listen to Volunteers not remove them from the game. And most importntly we need leaders prepared to take on CA to restructure its Board replacing it with a representative mix of quality cricket people.


Perhaps it is time to involve the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA)... Collectively the game has a wealth of untapped experience and cricket knowledge (Men and Women all with a common bond Cricket). I am sure under quality leadership, we (because I am one of them) as a group could be encouraged to become involved to correct poor judgement decisions of the past and point the game it in the right direction.


Take Victoria... can any in that State be satisfied the programs are working with so many players recruited from outside the system?


I have said it many times... "winning shield with imports is only window dressing", it fails to address any of the real issues facing the game. 


I am so pleased the first step are being taken to address the need for change and it is being lead not by me but rightfully the founding members of Victorian cricket and they as I type... they're out every night talking to Cricket People recruiting support in an attempt to remove a very poor CEO and Board.

 

They have until Monday the 28th of August and if succesfully the game will have a CA member State prepared stand up the Governing Body and gain the necessary support of other State members to entice Directors to cross the floor to restructure the current voting system so that it reflects "proper custodianship".

 

We hear this word "transparency" a lot... If this can be achieved then I see no reason why the ACA could not be encouraged to be more representative of past players and in turn take up a three seats at CA's Boardroom table... There should never be any reason now for relating to player salaries now that we have settled the component value of the product that CA must sell to generate income for the game.


This would create a situation from where the game is truly representative... Reflective of ALL in the game and it's issues. 

IN RESPONSE TO MY CRITICS

Posted on 15 August, 2017 at 22:40 Comments comments (0)

I have been sledged on facebook and twitter over recent days and it has come from two Subbie cricketers. One a former Premiership team mate of mine... now a self appointed spokesperson for "Womens Cricket" who's goes to great length to "high jack" meetings or conversation in search of notoriety.

 

The other a former Subbie President burdened with a chip on both shoulders.

 

I've had to laugh about it all really... here are these two, a pair of confused "Roosters" performing like "clucky Hens" protecting their chicks... excuse the pun!

 

Anyway I can't leave their nonsense unanswered... so I will use this forum to respond as follows:


Yes! It is true... I support the rolling of the Cricket Victoria (CV) Board in order to keep Victorian Cricket for "VICTORIANS".

 

And yes!

 

I am a product of the pathways I was once a young aspiring cricketer who worked hard on his game all the way to the highest levels.

 

And yes!

 

I do speak out on issues that I believe are important to cricket, but I deny the accusation that I use "vitriolic" language against women. In fact I have championed women in cricket... particularly the training of women bat makers around Australia.

 

Anyway, you can judge for yourselves... my publications are available for all to read in this format and at www.sportshounds.com.au.

 

And Yes!

 

I make observations and comment hoping to provoke thought or even action. Just recently I attempted to help Women endeavouring to execute bowling disciplines on pitches that were designed for men. My harshest criticism of them has been not to get ahead of yourselves. And not for one moment​,​ have I ever suggested funding for Women's Cricket be stopped... rather it be done without biting the hand that finances it.

 

And No!

  

I make will not apologise for defending young Victorians with cricketing aspirations... for it takes courage to fully commit to the game and having been enticed to do so (And that is what we do), it is their right to continue down that path without the fear of players from interstate being flown in over their heads shirt fronting their ambitions. And it is our responsibility to make sure this does not happen!

 

And no!

 

It doesn't impress me how many games someone has played... it is the quality time spent developing those who show an interest in the game of cricket and mentoring them to higher honours.


And No!


I take no notice of guessimates or touted statistics or creative accounting used to calculate participation numbers nor subsidised attendance levels for that matter.

 

And yes!

 

I have captained and coached Premiership teams... all over the world in fact.

 

And Yes, I have been paid for it.

 

And Yes!

 

I have de listed players who've been found wanting "one fielding era" away from being a negative impact on others... replacing them young willing athletic cricketers with aspirations.

 

And Yes!

 

I did move on in life... to other more challenging ventures and have never regretted it and have not looked back.

 

And Yes!

  

I always speak out to protect the life blood of cricket... the "Volunteers" of the game who we so rely and especially those who don't blow their own trumpet.

 

And yes!

 

I have been very critical of the Corporate types demonstrating "unconscionable conduct" and in particular those who ignore or defend such behaviour... for they become equally "complicit".

 

And Yes!

 

It will be 5.30 pm Monday 28th of August 2017 at "Cricket House were CV will hold its AGM.

 

It is the most important day in our States Cricket history. It is all about the future of "Victorian Cricket" and it depends on a successful challenge, otherwise our States Cricketing traditions will be swallowed up and controled by "Cricket Australia" and their Corporate Executives... all with their noses in trough.

 

And Yes

 

I am a passionate public backer of this movement and the "OLD BRIGADE" those who gave us the game and those who put "into place" a very successful governance structure that until a decade ago... had protected the game until "Corporates" saw all the money and began dismantling it.

 

And no!

 

The game does not need the types in charge of the "MOU" debacle".


What the game needs is a balance between quality Corporate experience and Cricket People who will listen to the heartbeat of the game... those with the ability not only to read the play but who have forethought.

 

And No!

 

I have not initiated the proposed "New 6"... this has been undertaken by founding members of Cricket in Victoria (The District Clubs) and their mission is to oust a very poor Board of Directors.


And Yes!

 

I am whole heartedly encouraging them every step and I was pleased to learn that I've been joined by the Victorian Country Cricket League (VCCL) and the Victorian Sub District Cricket Association (VSDCA)... this brings together an overwhelming majority of cricket people who care about Cricket in this State and in particular "Grass Roots Cricket" and those aiming for higher honours in the game.

 

And Yes! 


This may not be enough to tip the balance. Secret loans, forgiving of loans, special funding offers and a lack of transparency have split Victorian Cricket and the incumbent are to blame for this... no one else.

 

And Yes!

 

The incumbents will do or say anything in an attempt to secure votes in the hope of thwarting the spill.


And Yes!

 

It is the fault of one person who should have walked away a long time ago... but he has a huge ego and no respect for the processes put in place by founding members. If he had he would have walked away 12 months ago.

 

So for those following this tragic and unwanted  "Russell Thomas" ego trip... it will work like this;


That is, if he doesn't see the light before the 28th.

 

For the proposed "New 6" to become the new Directors of the CV they will need support greater than 50% of 25 votes (18 belonging to Premier clubs, 3 for Women's Cricket, 1 VCCL, 1 Cricket Union of Victoria (CUOV) and 2 VSDCA).

 

So it will get down to those Club Committees who's conscience will be tested when the time comes to vote on the night... time is running out. You had better start thinking long and hard about your playing lists, Those you represent now and into the future... the young hopefuls you see out there training hard every week and into off season, in hope of reward. Advancement to First Class cricket and beyond.


And Yes!


I remember that dream... it exists in all of those who walk out onto the field of play every weekend. A Vote against the "New 6" and it will no longer exist. It will be something you as a club Delegate... will never be able to explain. 

 

And Yes!


When it all said and done... It is easy to claim you're looking after cricketers and their ambitions in the game.


But how do you did that... "Knowing full well" that for more than a decade now, as a result of this CV Board there has been less than a 50% chance for home grown Victorians aspirants able to earn State representation than it was in my day.


It is time Victorian Cricket took control of its destiny before our cricket is gone forever!


And Yes!


I will be publishing one more article on the subject before the 28th and then it is up to the game itself... my conscience will be clear having done all I can to save Victorian Cricket.

Shorten the Pitch for Women

Posted on 15 August, 2017 at 2:30 Comments comments (0)

I recently wrote a piece for www.sportshounds.com.au where I provided my thoughts on Women's Cricket (WC) prior to the semi finals of Australia's ICC World Cup Semi Finals v India.

I wrote "Unfortunately their batting capabilities far out-weigh the bowling. In fact it’s a no-contest and that is the dilemma facing women’s cricket now and into the future".

A few hours later 'Harmanpreet Kaur" proved how right I was... Kaur destroyed the Australian Bowling attack hitting 171 off 115 balls...her last 100 runs came from 40 deliveries.

Since that time I've been reading comments made by Australian WC Cricketer "Ellyse Perry" who says, "We should not compare her sport to that of men's cricket and that it is time to celebrate the female version of the sport in its own right" and that we should appreciate it as we do "Women's Tennis".

Hang on Ellyse, is women's cricket paying for itself or is it relying on funds from the men's game to develop it?

Don't get me wrong, as a Cricket Bat Willow grower... it's in my interests that WC develops and makes the grade as a sport. Obviously the more girls who take up the game and want to buy cricket bats the better it is for the industry.

But right now I am sure that WC is getting to ahead of itself especially by comparing their cricket to the successful sport of women's tennis. A sport played all over the world by women and enjoyed as a specticle all over the world by both genders.

Tennis offers great entertainment, it's non stop athleticism, skill and intrigue leaves little doubt that you are watching a disciplined sport played by women and that provideds great drawing power.

WC also has its disciplines, many in fact and batting is one of them. But do not forget bowling and fielding with interconnecting disciplines... pace, swing, off spin & leg spin, slips fielding, in field & out fielding and I don't need to tell you that cricket is played over a longer period of time.

For WC to improve to the standard they'd like... then accepting advice or criticism is the way forward. Their game needs to improve in many areas and I am not going to worry about feelings here when I say... people tell me that they dislike WC because the girls look like pint size men running about the field. If you like, compare that to tennis, hockey, softball, netball... or womens athletics and makes it an easy fix in my opinion, so why not just design a more suitable and flattering uniform?

Ultimately success will be determined by the public... Ellyse Perry and co can hope for acceptence but telling the public they must do so will not play out if the game is not paying for itself. 

The other observation on how the WC game can be improved is in the bowling department... the lack of pace means the abilities of players go untested.

Cricket’s greatest attribute is an even battle between bat and ball, otherwise the games loses its edge as a contest along with interest, worth and more importantly followers.

Obviously there is a limit to how much pace and venom WC can generate with their smaller physiques but I feel improvment can be made simply by shorten the length of the pitch by 1.82 yards bringing the bowlers into the game.

The equation for this might be as follows: (160kph ÷ 22 yards) - (120kph ÷ 22 yards) and with the use of a smaller 4 piece ball at 142 grams it will benefit the game similar to womens tennis 3 setts compared to 5 for men or women’s track and field for example, where lighter javelins or discusses are launched great distances, giving spectators an entertaining spectacle.

This in my opinion will raise WC to new levels for without pace to hurry stroke play or generate bounce and carry the game will miss the spectacle of white-hot slips catches and greater contests between bat and ball... without this the women’s game will aways fall short of what it could be... never quite qualify as a great spectator and team sport.


The proposed new Cricket Victoria "6"

Posted on 2 August, 2017 at 3:20 Comments comments (0)

I am not running for a position on the Cricket Victoia Board but I have gone out of my way over the years to speak out on issues relating to the game... especially in Victoria. I have also had long talks with those behind the proposed "New" 6 at Cricket Victoria and I have encouraged them all the way.

I am also one of those who believes the pyramid should always have District Cricket Clubs (Premier Cricket down grades the competition) at the top.

After all, they are and should always remain the foundation of cricket in this country from where everything began (The Owners if you like) and where all players should progress on the Path to the higher levels. It is therefore in District Crickets best interest that all and I say ALL CRICKET below it is developing the talent to feed the system.

That these players... in our case Victorian homegrown are provided every opportunity to the best cricketers our state can produce.

But they are not good enough are they (and they haven't been for years under the current Board and system) and we know this only too well.

So we must find ways to improve the programs and make sure investment is best spent. This means making sure it's not wasted in the bar or on players who've had their chance but that it encourages them to get involved to hand the game on to those starting out.

This also applies to clubs who spend it on paying players or coaching programs that neglect proper instruction for juniors. Focus must be the next generations and that should be the agenda of all in cricket. Yes! Country Cricket is a problem and we all recognise this.

Not once in my conversations with the those proposing the new Board... Have they not recognised any of the above. It is one of their highest priorities. Rather than the "cherry picking" the agenda of those in charge at the moment... structured by those who've never committed themselves to the game for the game or VICTORIAN CRICKET and its traditions or philosophies.

I feel the proposed new Board has identified many problems facing the game and will listen to cricket people to overcome them, they'll encourage motivate and reinforce the efforts of all Cricket volunteers within the game and work with real experience inherited from game (not try and remove them). This will involve those who've developed playing lists, who are able to recognise the areas where the game is failing and who are capable of finding real solution. 

 

The Game of "Clones"

Posted on 29 July, 2017 at 3:05 Comments comments (0)

I have no Idea how my fellow past players feel about the direction of the game at present, perhaps the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) could answer this better than any of us,​ but I myself would gladly put my faith in proven Cricket people to run the game along side quality business people. Those who have ​an ability to analyse the game, who have worldly cricket experience where they can work with the “Volunteers of the Game” who bleed cricket​... they are its hard workers​ and RIGHT NOW they are the ones Cricket Australia (CA) seem desperate to remove from the game… ​to replace them with 200 of its "cloned operatives"... at least that's the way I see it!

I came to this conclusion because when I look at those employed at CA... they seem to be of a certain type or personality... perhaps CA is running a "Cloning Program".

I hope I am wrong but when I think about a certain ​CEO representing one of our State Associations writing to his counterpart at CA to tell him that the game did not need the type of person who had played 153 first class games and who was coaching a successful State side... I thought further about Cloning?

If the game loses peronalities, individuality and creativity... it becomes one dimensional and everything will look the same and I don't think I'd be wrong when I say that this is where the game is right now. All States following CA's Strategic Plan and if you take a close look under the new Governance "Rug" or Structure, the State Association Boards are very much the same... no longer what they once were and more of like a "clone" of CA. Now I am worried!

Let us look at Victoria... a "Mini Me" sitting on the lap of CA following their agenda like a "Clone" for every scrap thrown, whilst wasting good "grass roots" money in fact... $85,000 a week of it on "Consultancy fees". Its Board and others too, no longer with a spine to run the game as generations before them had done succesfully.

My conclusion therefore is that all cricket's issues, ideas, disagreements and conflict became too much and this is the reason CA handed its governance to an independent Board. In the past there have been many agendas pushed or even conflicting ideas or opinions between State Associations and Club Delegates. All these bring with it great debate between cricket people and there is nothing wrong with that it is healthy.

Enter the new "Independent Board" striding confidently to the crease on the back of the games success, they takes guard, scratches out centre, surveys the global cricket futures market, and their first ball is very similar to one played successfully 20 years ago. This time however the $$$$ are to much of a tempatation for these "corporate high flyers" who boldly advance down wicket, only to be stumped for a "golden globe" having miss read a well flighted delivery... this "Pay Dispute" is their catastrophic failure.

No it is not healthy when the sport can no longer rely on experienced "Cricket People" to solve conflict... and this current situation relies on "Executive" success stories who've been engaged to steer the game because they have outstanding "Corporate Genius" but when it is all said a done, they're without cricket qualification and the result is clear. The game has been steered onto rocks where wave upon wave of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) are breaking over the sport now wedged tight between scandal and ​​disrepair.​​

​​The situation is surely well past mediation as is any consideration for the sporting public or sponsors... they should have been the first thought.

Instead we find the entire cricketing world waiting in anticipation of a quick fix and that is all it will be... a temporary solution and it will not satisfy the deep under current that lies with those obligated to hand the game on. Yes! that's up to us "Cricketers" and if you take a step back and look long and hard at the way the governance of the game is now structured you'll understand changes need to be made, to prevent events like this ever happening again.

Let's also look at what has taken place over the years... As "Cricketers" entrusted with the responsibility of the game we elected representatives to govern and care for our sport. 150 years on, those appointed in "Trust" for some unknown reason considered their positions to be conflicted and cleared out on us!

I find myself asking this question... How are matters facing the sport of cricket and its welfare considered a "conflict of interest" when the goal is to create a situation of transparency across all sectors of the game? If transparency exists there surely cannot be conflicting interests because we're all searching for solutions in the games best interest. Therefore how can governance in the hands of people with little or zero cricket conscience or experience... be a healthy or a satisfactory situation.

In other words the engagement of high flying executives needed to guide the game is an unconvincing argument.

I see no reason why an experienced Cricket Person who has started or runs his own successful business could not be a Director of CA or why such a person could not be involved in negotiating this pay dispute. In fact it would most likely have been resolved without any issue... because they would have identified the original "MoU" set by its own procedures and so 22.5 % to the players from gross revenue is justified. Explained as a normal cost of sale... every business has a product to build and in this case it is "Cricket Teams". Another 22.5% allocated to the States as an R&D expenditure if you like. The remaining 45% of the gross revenue should be well and truly be sufficient to fund overheads (including Directorial Fees) so that a substantial profit can be dispersed to the 6 member States to develop "grass roots" cricket in their regions.

To ask the Players to accept a % of the profit is not in their interest, we can all see this, because it leaves them wide open to exploitation. How easy would it be to raise overheads and fluctuate the earnings to reduce players income. No! the players are the components that make up the product CA must sell. Even a "Mind Your Own Business" (MYOB) accountancy system user would know the value of a component when calculating the cost of a product and in CA's case it might simply be entered as a "Cost of Sale"... either way, it is deducted from gross income.

The game needs all its present and former players now, those who made the game what it is... those who put their careers on the line and who make up the membership of the ACA. And it is time the States and their Associates all stood up behind us... the "products" they produced "Australia's Best Cricketers".

Yes! stand up with the ACA ​until the CA Board of corporate ​"​high flyers​"​ with its token player representation surrender ​their ownership and place the game back where it rightfully belongs, in the hands of its "Cricket People".

They can do this by giving up 3 votes to the ACA​ and why not... all players current and former would have a say and the game would surely benefit... in my opinion!​

The Incombent Must Go

Posted on 23 July, 2017 at 3:30 Comments comments (0)

At the conclusion of cricket last season, I asked Premier clubs what they planned to do about a Cricket Victoria (CV) Board and a CEO, I believe had acted "Unconscionably" and among others things had failed to support our home grown cricket talent. 

Casey, Dandenong and Frankston and Ringwood were the clubs I had targeted because they were either supporting the incumbent Board and CEO or sitting with a leg each side of the fence. I felt they owed all Victorian Cricketers an explanation as to why they weren't prepared to support the clubs with an endeavour to rebuild cricket in this State.

Perhaps, it is the time to reminded them why they were invited to join the District ranks... Victoria's Premier Cricket Competition.

It's because they presented themselves to foundation members of Victorian Cricket as worthy participants, capable of contributing to the competition. Each of these clubs explained that they had on their doorsteps, large cricket playing populations in search of avenues to the higher levels of the game and that they could accomodate cricketers with such ambitiion.

And so it was... the foundation members of the 'Victorian Cricket Association" with the best interest of the States Cricketers at heart... did place upon the clubs their "CHARTER" which they accepted and are now shirking!

It's time for these clubs to reciprocate the support they were given by stepping up beside the likes of Essendon, Carlton, Prahran, Footscray, Melbourne, Northcote, Monash Tigers (Richmond) Camberwell Magpies (Collingwood) and Fitzroy Doncaster and other cricket associates from around the state who believe the only pathway to 1st Class Cricket is the pathway through District Cricket now Premier Cricket?

It is where the game began and it is in your best interest that all cricket is developing the talent needed to feed your competition and that these players... in the case of Victorian Cricket are home grown and are being provided every opportunity to become the best in our Country.

Sadly the incumbent Board having failed generations of cricketers are refusing to do what is best for the game in our State by stepping down. Instead they promote themselves as having won a hat trick of "Sheffield Shields". And Yes! it is true, they did but with half a team imported from interstate using our funds, Victorian and Local Government taxes to progress interstate prospects over our own.

It is time we find ways to improve our cricket programs, making sure investment is best spent... not wasting money on consultants or players who've had their chance. But rather providing investment to encourage cricketers to hand the game on ensuring its future. This must also apply to clubs who find it far to easy to spend money on players or coaching programs that neglect proper instruction for juniors... our focus must be on the next generations.

And Yes! Country Cricket is suffering greatly and we all recognise this... but not once in my conversations with those proposing the new Board, have they not recognised this? It is one of their highest priorities and it is not the "cherry picking" agenda of those in charge at the moment.

The time has come to elect a CV Board who'll listen to cricket people, who'll encourage motivate and reinforce real experience inherited from game... those who have the ability to recognise areas of failure and who are capable of finding real solutions.

Victoria this is your last chance to save our cricket... do it!


 

WHO SOLD CRICKET OUT?

Posted on 11 July, 2017 at 23:15 Comments comments (0)

Australian Cricket flying high as an International sports is spiralling out of control leaving its best players in a haze of uncertainty. Meanwhile at Cricket Australia (CA) the alleged "2 million dollar man" CEO James Sutherland and his Board of Directors are all lying low having terminated their playing list.

They have done this because they're confident of not being thrown out or sacked... as long as they stick together, even though they once had employment obligations pursuant to the rules of their organisation... as set out by law in CA's Memorandum of Articles its (MOA).

For those not familiar with the Corporations Act, a MoA outlines why a company has been established and along with its Constitution sets out rules and governance procedure. One such rule is Rule 2.2.1 from its MoA; determining the setting out of the terms and conditions upon which players may play cricket. It is for this reason a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the players was signed two decades ago... so it beggars belief, why this precedent is no longer suitable when the players have set the standard on the field and the game is attracting big money.

Behind the scenes David Peever and his Board have been basking in the games success and now strangely, they want to roll back the players share of the revenue... What is going on... something "stinks" and we've all got whiff of it!

Following this James Sutherland informed " Grass Roots" that it required 60 million dollars invested into it to bring it up to standard... and for this reason CA are saying they want to reduce the players share of the revenue stream and curiously when increased earning are forecasted!

What has been missed by mainstream media is that CA are not saying they wish to fund the States so they can plan or formulate strategies to assist Clubs and Associates at grass roots, No! They say they want to increase overhead expenditure by employing more... CA wants to place 200 operatives into the field... but what does that really mean? For one thing it means CA is taking away Member State responsibilities to control the stream of money into grass roots cricket... and to the ordinary observer this may seem reasonable enough.

Except if you ask why! Why would CA want to side step the six States who have obligations to those they represent, the Clubs and Associates of cricket?

Could it be that CA wants total control of all Australian Cricket? Many long time cricket people think so. It's been an agenda for more than 20 years and so I felt I should investigate this theory. So I visited the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) to research its Company Register. The records show all the Office Holders elected to the Board over he years... elected to do what is best for the games benefactors in Australia. I discovered that it was about the time Australian Cricket Board of Control became the ACB when the alterations began, slight at first and then to Cricket Australia. This is where change really began, and most intriguing are the "Amendment Resolutions" passed,

The "Count of Monty Cristo" would have been proud_ each resolution coming down like a hammer onto a chisel to chip away, at the foundations of Australian Cricket until very little of it can be recognised and virtually all hope of the crickets benefactors being able to protect the game as and when needed, If not right now for example!

Simon Katich asked a simple question... where has the money gone? Again respected sources within the game tell me CA has 90 Million dollars in cash reserves plus investment property that should have been reinvested back into the development of the game and why hasn't it?

It is also extraordinary to think ex Test Cricketers sitting on the CA Board have been missing when the game is in crisis and needs leadership. Are they expecting us to believe they’re not fully informed? Disgraceful! Why do they deserve the position of a Directorship… what are they there for and is the game being represented as it should be? 

What also needs to be explained here… is why the Member States are powerless to avert such a crisis. In the past the States were the Board and transparent with benefactors so what has happened. ASIC records shed the light... they show the passing of resolution to change the rules and the most concerning took place in 2013 elevating each Director to "Member Status" This means the 9 Board Directors of CA now have 9 Member Votes and as a group become the new owners of Australian Cricket... I will say that again "OWNERS" compared to the 6 original State Cricket Association Members representing "Grass Roots", cricket now the minority interest.

Effectively what it means is the States have no influence of power in the decision making process of running Cricket in Australian. Compare this to a large corporation who have a duty of care to their shareholders and where the Board may come and go at shareholders pleasure… to put it bluntly, when it comes to Cricket in this Country, its shareholders are irrelevant and unable to keep executives accountable.

The Board having 9 votes to the 6 belonging to State Associations this means achieving a 2/3 majority when change is need, is almost impossible... 4 Board members would need to cross the floor.

So who were those responsible for representing the interest of Australian Cricket when all these amended resolutions were orchestrated and why in "Crickets Name" couldn't they see the obvious? Why would you give up control and what were the incentives that lured them to give up Crickets rights?

The Board of CA and its executives are shameless and are able to sit there without fear, portraying the Countries best cricketers as over paid and greedy. They can do this because they have made themselves "Untouchable" as long as they stay united. To think that they can get away with what they’ve done to Australian Cricket and the great lengths they have gone to make the players look like the “bad guys!” But not before they’d tried to herd our best cricketers from the flock, with the objective to tempt them with special contractual offers leaving others to fend for themselves.

CA would have created a special group of Australian Cricketers in a select pool and it all fits into the fulfilment of what seems to be a long term CA agenda to side step the games owners. Of course they intend to throw scraps from time to time, by making additional funds available as long, no! only as long as the states comply with their directives. "Dictatorship!" placing CA in perfect position to "CHERRY PICK" talent from anywhere in Australia... firstly for their under age Australian teams, then directly to their Academy and on to the Australia A team... no longer would they need Sheffield Shield Cricket or the excess of players and no need to payroll the benefactors.

Is this the way of the future? Who knows! but if it is the objective, it would have been complete had it not been for the players standing in the way... of what might have been a perfectly executed plan.

The only hope for Australian Cricket now, in my opinion... is for the players to stand firm with the games interest at heart and with the six States in support.

Already this looks to be an impossible task as CA's teeth are deep and we don't know where favours have been done. If only District Clubs and Associates hadn’t fallen asleep at the wheel… shirking their responsibilities to the game. Their last chance is for Delegates join forces across all borders... and take back control and this must start next month at Cricket Victoria's AGM. If they cannot remove the “Squatters" from around their own Board Room table at Cricket House... the game and the reason so many of us have enjoyed our involvement in it and with so many will no longer exist... in my opinion!

Pace Bowling at its Best

Posted on 21 June, 2017 at 0:05 Comments comments (0)

India and Pakistan are obviously great rivals politically but when it comes to “Cricket” that rivalry escalates to stratospheric levels… especially in India.

Since March 1st 2009, the last time Pakistan played a home Test Match, their supporters have not had much to celebrate… so disappointment is something they’ve learned to deal with. However in India, it is a totally different story, especially when the two sides are about to play against each other as they did last Sunday, in the prestigious ICC Champions Trophy final at the Oval.

I got the impression Pakistan supporters were just happy to have made the final and were praying their team would be able to make a game of it, but India on the other hand... a loss against Pakistan is totally unacceptable.

So as I was going to be one of the billion plus viewers watching on television I hoped for a good game, not only for the occasion but because it also involved Mickey Arthur the former coach of the Australian Cricket Team.

If you’ve already forgotten, Arthur was replaced by Darren Lehmann who’s team, ironically had failed to make the semis. I am not saying I think Arthur a better coach; it is that the fortunes of the game can change and turn a full circle in a short period of time as we saw Sunday!.

Another reason I was looking forward to the game was the disappointment I felt when Pakistan's was last in Australia, knowing full well they were much better than they'd shown us.

I had also followed them during the tour of the West Indies and despite the loss of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-haq, talent is plentiful in a country of 190 million... so I was interested to see if they could be competitive and if Arthur could make the difference.

From a bowling perspective, I also thought the form of Hasan Ali and the 18 year old leg spinner Shadab Khan would compliment their Left Arm pace attach to such an extent that I would be prepared to argue the Pakistan attack is now the most exciting in the game… if not the best in world cricket!

So the day began with India winning the toss and sending Pakistan into bat and my immediate thoughts were… This is good for Pakistan, they’ve nothing to lose, let’s hope they can post a competitive score to bring their highly spirited bowling attack into play.

And this is exactly how it turned out... the "unpredictable" batting of Pakistan began nervously with both opening batsman hit in the helmet from well directed bouncers. The Indian quicks were hitting the deck at good pace and then the first ball of Bumrah's second over he was able to take the outside edge of Fakhar's bat with a beauty... but hang on "lady luck" appears and heads Pakistans way. Bumrah had over stepped and Fakhar, who's nearly off the field by now has retrace his steps to take strike.

As we all know Fakhar went onto score a fine century and helped set up two century plus partnership to help Pakistan to a total of 338... a total never before chased down in an ICC final.

Bumrah who'd reached speeds of 146k lost confidence and was going for more than 6 an over. At the other end Kumar was consistantly reaching speeds of 138k, always on line and with late movement off the track. He bowled superbly only to be let down by the Indian spinners... the last thing any of us expected.

Ashwin and Jadeja were nothing like the bowlers we saw in India and it was lucky for India they had Pandya, not only can he bat but he's a very attacking bowler... not express, but with a good action able to bowl well directed lines. He also has the ability to get excellent seam position on the ball to take the ball away from the right handers. He, like Kumar worried all batsman with good shot balls that would test anyone.

However the pressure was easily released at the other end and if it hadn't been for Kumar and Pandya working so well together at the death, the Pakistan would have posted a much higher total.

I’ve always enjoyed watching great bowling partnerships especially when immense pressure is applied. And one of the best batting strips in world cricket with a reasonable amount of grass the pitch was hard and dry with no cloud cover… it as just a wonderful "good seeing", English summer day and so finding excuses for batting failures would not be easy.

When India arrived at the crease, Mohammad Amir took the new ball and from that moment it seemed like a tornado had hit the ground... he struck 3rd ball, a delivery that pitched in line, jagged off the seam just enough to trap Sharma. Then in his next over, he drew Kohli into the shot; the ball did enough off the seam to take the edge but unfortunately for Amir, Azhar Ali spilled the chance.

As a spectator we'd hardly had time to digest the severity of what had actually happened... when he very next delivery, Kohli chancing his luck, went even harder at the ball. This time a thick outside edge flew to backward point where the athletic teenager Shadab Khan leaped high and to his left clasped the ball and Kohli was on his way.

Pakistan’s were out of the blocks with intensity levels that were through the roof and so much so, that the Indian fans were already looking for the exit signs.

But whilst Amir had taken the scalps, he was being well supported at the other end by another left arm quick Junaid Khan. Who was attacking the batsmen, giving nothing away and so quickly were things happening... commentators seemed dumbfounded.

Then last ball of Amir’s 5 over… the the prize scalp of Dhawin, who tickled one that bit just enough from a good length off a scrambled seam and the catch was safely taken by Captain Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

If the game wasn’t over at this point.. it wasn't long after India had posted their 50, in fact 9 balls later when, Shadab Khan caught Yuraj with a well flighted leg break that turned just enough. It sounded like a bat pad, the umpire had thought so, I surely couldn’t be certain. But so confident beyond his eighteen years was Shadab he forced his Captain to review the decision and the Indian supporters were off… long legging it down Harleyford Rd.

The two attacks, to be honest, were impressive and it may have been a total different story had it not been for a bowler trying to exert just that little bit more from the pitch.

You have to hand it the Television coverage, so good these days, you get to see things that you wouldn’t pick up, as a spectator on the ground or as a player on the field.

For example, how the fingers grip the ball, whether there is any wrist action at delivery, seam position created or the reaction of the ball hitting the pitch in relation to that seam. So what is it that sets a bowler apart from another... is it the pace of the delivery or the consistency of the line... I’ve always believed the later, the most important and watching the fast bowlers in action, working in partnership was a joy. Something I'll always find interesting until my dying day... I reckon!.

As the game progressed I recalled something "Darren Lehmann" had told me (not that I agree with him). He believes a pace bowler could not be considered for selection if he could not sustain 140k plus. Perhaps this is a reason the South Australian quick Sayers cannot get a game. Anyway, his reasoning is that it is far too easy for batsman to adjust their shot selection... and yet we were witnessing the opposite at the Oval.

I think Darren needs to reconsider his opinion... we were watching the best batman in the world being intimidated by aggressive bowling between 130k and 142k and as I have mentioned... no need to look further than "Pandya" who showed the world, you don't have to be express to be intimidating as long as you're action is reasonably side on and you are working the lines. A good action, yes, it's oh so very important, because it allows a bowler to achieve the most deadly of deliveries... I am referring to late movement off the wicket.

A result of being able to hit the deck hard with your lines right and whether short or full you will worry batsmen. So never mind worrying about spots on the pitch... concentrate on line and good seam position. This means the batsman is always in two minds even If short, it will be into the chest or over off stump or straight at the head. If it is full of length it will draw the batsman into a shot.

Therefore it is so important for a pace bowler to hit the seam with regularity and all the better if rotating over the front foot enabling the technique required to take the ball away off the wicket.

Think about the off spinner who requires a side on position at a minimum to get the body rotation he needs to release his back leg through the crease. The follow through (bowling arm, front arm and weight transfer (Nathan Lyon is a perfect example)) required to generate spin, drift or bounce; its same for a leg spinner (Shane Warne a wonderful side on action with rotation over the front leg with follow through... perfect example).

It is no different for any bowler who is wanting to execute a leg cutter or away swinger, except you'll need a complete understanding of the bowling nexus made up of many interconnecting components; a synchronised action involving weight transfer, back leg release facilitating rotation over the front leg, into the follow through down the pitch so that you can look deep into the eyes of the batsman.

Well I hope you got as mush as I did from the perfectly demonstrated performance put on by the Pakistani attack on Sunday night.

What concerns me though... I don't see our bowlers in Australia being able to execute such a technique with regularity and that is surely a worry because Ryan Harris was a perfect exponent of this type of bowling... so hopefully some of his skill will be passed on soon.


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