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Grass Roots Cricket Concerns

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:20

You might remember the scandalous Cricket Australia (CA) pay dispute where highly paid executives and Board Room Directors, shamefully used Grass Roots Cricket as a pretence to reduce player payments. It turns out however, that it is the top players who are more concerned about the game and that is the way it has been since the early 1840’s?

In truth it is the “best of the best” the top guns who bring in the big dollars for the game and development whilst executives secretly plot to remove the responsibilities from the State bodies elected by players and past playing members all over Australia.

An example of this came to our attention just last week when the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) representing the players announced that it will be providing $30 million to Grass Roots Cricket Clubs from their payments, but wait for it… in conjunction with CA.

Oh scoff & splutter!! I nearly spilt my coffee… who earns that money?

Thanks to the players… Clubs can now apply for $2500 grants through the ACA website and it is a terrific gesture but was it necessary… where is the rest of the money earned by the players? Has it been handed over to the State Association in order to distribute it to Grass Roots Cricket to produce the type of talent the game needs to attract future dividends?

But it raises the question… what exactly is it that CA do?

I expect them to be responsible for International Affairs reporting back to players and past playing members, organizing International and national fixtures, negotiating TV rights, National Teams and collecting the money generated by the best of the best players… and that is all they should be doing.

From the pot of money collected, CA expenses should be paid and the remainder of the very substantial financial wind fall should go to development of the game as determined by each State Association.

I can see this $30 mil being pissed against the wall.

Remember those who participated in CA’s Milo cricket throughout Australia where Parents paid $60 to register their child’s interest in the hope they might learn cricket skills. Apart from the Milo spectacle put on during the lunch break of Test matches it was a disgraceful failure... a bloody embarrassment where the $60 went to CA.

That is CA supporting Grass Roots Cricket while Cricket outside metropolitan areas of Australia is dying!

I guess it’s because I’m from a small country town myself, that the trend alarms me. I began my cricket in Yarck… Yeah I know! "Where the farck is Yarck?"

Yarck is a farming community situated on the Maroondah Hwy which runs north beside the eastern face of Strathbogie Range 14 miles north of Yea and 9 miles from Alexandra to the South East.

Yarck C.C. played in the Alexandra District Cricket Association against Eildon, Marysville, Thornton, three Alexandra teams and Taggerty… but that was many years ago, today the entire Region struggles to field a cricket team.

Just over the range from Yarck to the North West is Euroa where Australian fast bowler Mervyn Hughes was born to play. Euroa made up the Euroa District Cricket Association and further to the north-west between Shepparton and Echuca where the Goulburn meets the Murray River... Australian Test players Matthew Elliott and Jim Higgs learned their cricket in the Kyabram District Cricket Association... they too are extinct.

These are just two of the many Cricket Associations from outside the Metro area all over the country that have folded and in my opinion; nothing of any real consequence has ever been done to solve the problem associated with dwindling numbers. Many reasons have been put forward but nothing to address the issues that might rejuvenate interest or enthusiasm… just lip service.

There are other reasons why am I so concerned about the money going to Grass Roots Clubs… it is because Cricket Clubs these days are all about paying players to bolster the clubs senior side in order to win trophies. In real terms these players have had their chance to advance in the game and are only interested in themselves and what they can get from the game.

Pay Players or investment in junior infrastructure… what should your club do?

"Grass Roots Cricket" in any sense of the phrase is not Senior Grade Cricket and it’s not "Community Cricket", it is those who’ve been attracted to the game in attempt to emulate their idols.

This money offered by the games top players has been done with all the best intentions and should be applied to coaching structures for the grass roots cricket… the children starting out in the game. Skill stations set up about the ground were the kids rotate and participate in drills that will see them develop technique and the confidence to execute the disciplines of the game. Where they learn of its history and traditions handed down by those they wish to emulate… because someday these children will be handing it down to others when their time comes.

Children taught properly learn quickly and progress to competition levels where they should be given every encouragement created by the opportunity of advancement... by producing accomplished cricketers they will have greater confidence and enthusiasm for the game as they progress to higher levels reducing the need for patch up coaching.

I have no doubt this is the best way forward for cricket anywhere. Paying players in an attempt to win medals means nothing compared to the reward of having a youngster representing your club on a Test Arena.

If you were like me you’d remember your time as a child... eagerly wait for his father to come home to bowl to him in the back yard or out in the street. Yes! I like you dreamed of the day I would have the skill to play Test cricket and fortunately I had someone who encouraged and coached me at an early age.

The game has been neglected and development programs have been so out of place that participation numbers have plummeted and this is a stat that belongs to those who voted CA into a position where they’ve been able to dismantle the Governance structures that were not broken.


The Cupboard is Bare

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15

First of all I don't get paid to comment and I certainly do not rely on Cricket Australia (CA) or any organization associated to them for income... so I am not affraid to say it as I see it... therefore you wont see me sucking up for favour as we see in the media. The only thing I get from Cricket is my 200 club membership. It was something I earned as a player and coach and I am proud of that.

I also wish every Australian Cricketer success and don't be mistaken... I want our players to do well, now and into the future. But most importantly I want cricket in Australia to do well and in my opinion this can only happen if the game is governed by cricketers elected by cricketers with experience in the game... those who work with our great volunteers. 


Just look at the situation the Australian Selectors confronted recently... it seems they opened the door of the High Performance Managers office at CA, walked to his cupboard marked "Players ready for Test Cricket" and found it almost bare... for if we are true to ourselves, how else can we describe the 15 man squad to play two Tests against Pakistan in the U.A.E. in November.


There is no doubt in my mind that our high performance strategies and development pathways are failing... we have nothing at all to fall back on as we have found with Warner and Smith disqualified. Our Australian Test Cricket Team named by Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns has five uncapped players and only two batsmen averaging better than 40. Usman Khawaja (Averaging 42) has 6 Test centuries and Captain Tim Payne (40.82) who has not yet reached triple figures at that level


They find themselves relying so heavily on Shaun Marsh (37.60) with 9 Test hundreds and those still trying to cement places... Matthew Renshaw (33.47) who still clingings to a maiden Test century was selected in favour of two time century maker Peter Handscomb. Next best and this really does put Australian Cricket Standards into perspective... statistically Ashton Agar (32.50) who dramatically fell short of a début century at Nottingham four years ago, slots in above two time century maker Mitch Marsh (27.85).


There is no doubt that Mitch is the big improver... lets hope he'll be a player of the future and can find someone to bat with and that all the batting stars "Align" so that we are able to out play Pakistan at the crease because our reinforcements... Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschange and Travis Head, average less than 40 in first class cricket and if we are truly honest... this means that they barely qualify for State selection.


What has happened to the game that was left for us cricketers to nurture. Somehow the responsibility we "Cricketers" inherieted... vanished? 


How is it that we now Selectors  and Coaches sending a messages to a player that does not apply to others... for those chosen above Glen Maxwell have not been as successful as he. Do you know Maxwell averages above 40 in First Class Cricket compared to those selected above him and has scored as many hundreds with less opportunities in some instances.


Ask yourself this question... Does it seem the game is scraping the bottom of the barrel?


With Hazlewood, Patterson and Cummins injured, it seems like Treveor Hohns resorted to a lucky dip... he dragged out Brendan Doggett from Queensland who has taken 32 wickets in 9 games of First Class Cricket and team mate Michael Neser who at least has captured 98 First Class Cricket scalps... is that as good as it gets?


The saving grace is the 699 Test wickets Starc Siddle and Lyon share between them.


At least that is something to work with and I give them credit for that given the situation.. it will allow Starc to be used in short spells, Siddle to do the grunt work... which provides Payne the opportunity to interchange Siddle and Marsh with Lyon while the ball is holding shape. Then to mix it up with the left arm orthodox of either Holland or Argar... both with Test experience. This could work but as I said... all the cricketing stars in the southern hemisphere will have to align for Australia to finish ahead of Pakistan.


To find our cricket in this situation...  does not say alot about the state of Australian Cricket under CA governance or its cast of thousands which include a High Performance Manager, Cricket Development Heads and its "Centre of Excellence" for that matter. They have all taken credit for past glory.


The game has disintegrated under current Policies and it does not matter how many coaching level certificates are certified... if players are not coming through the system with proper technique or thought process, all that can be done is "Patch up Coaching".


Game Development has been on the wrong path for years... I doubt they could recognize "Grass Roots Cricket" if they fell over it and sadly this reflects badly on good coaching efforts around the country.

In the Players Best Interest and Welfare

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15

I read in the Australian Newspaper that former Australian Captain and Cricket Australia (CA) Director Mark Taylor had defended his CEO James Sutherland over his handling of the “Ball Tampering” incident on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday Show last week.


The Australian Newspaper quoted Taylor as saying, “Sutherland straight away wakes up Sunday morning to the Ball Tampering story, he knows it’s going to be big. Straight away he’s on the phone to everybody including me... to get us all together to discuss the next steps”.


The paper says that he went on to say that once Iain Roy, head of integrity and Patrick Howard ( High Performance) were on the first available flight to South Africa... within 80 hours Sutherland had sorted all the CA Board Members out and had spoken to all players having flown to South Africa himself.


The article also quoted Taylor as having said his CEO’s focus was on player welfare at all times... as it should have been and that his mission was to uncover the facts... not what people assumed, not what people were putting out on Social Media, to find out the facts so we (The Board I assume) could deal with it.


The first thing that struck me about Taylor’s comments was that it was all a bit late as players had already admitted live to the world that they’d cheated.


I must admit, Sutherland certainly jumped into action quicker than he did during the Pay dispute.. where was Taylor?.


But how many “On Lookers” like me could be convinced that the Sutherland’s focus or that of his Board for that matter... would ever have been on the players and their welfare given their attitude during the pay dispute or for the men’s game around this country, rather than damage control.


And are we expected to believe not one CA Board Members was watching the Test live as the Ball Tampering incident played out. Or that Team management weren’t on the phone ringing Sutherlands phone off the wall as he slept through it all.


Did Taylor sleep through the incident as well... he slept through the pay dispute?


I doubt we’ll ever get to the real truth of the matter... but If Taylor and his Board expect us to swallow their message that only 3 players are responsible for this incident they’re kidding themselves.


What is the first thing anyone does who’s been handed a ball to complete an over (in any level of cricket)?


He checks state or condition of the ball.


What about a strike bowler... wouldn’t he be checking the condition of the ball each time he returned to the top of his run?


The Ball Tampering Incident

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15

From face book at the time;

A Cricketer plays for the team and through his on field contribution earns the respect of his peers. At least that is the way it was once, but not anymore.


The modern game of cricket has just provided us with an example of what it has become and surely you are as shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by it all as I am.


On display to the world was our most highly decorated Sporting team executing the most dishonourable act imaginable. Our Australian Cricketers were tampering with the sacred cricket ball in an attempt to gain an advantage and it all unfolded live on TV, day 3 of the 3rd Test at Cape Town South Africa.


How could this be happening I thought?


Social Media response was immediate and cruel. It also proved Australian Cricket has few real friends or respect and that our Cricket Culture or image is far from liked. The world audience were happily tarnishing the brand with glee forgetting their own misdemeanours.


Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have received their punishment ban but it is only one part of the issue facing Australian Cricket.


I think those handing out the punishment, should be handing in resignations themselves. Not knowing what was going on in that dressing room is not an excuse... it’s a dereliction of duty and it all starts at the top. When the series is done and dusted further changes must be made and here is why!


As a past player who has maintained active involvement in the game... I support the idea that punishment should handed down but there should also be a clear is message sent to the other Test playing nations; get your own affairs in order because Australian Cricketers do not accept double standards.


Unfortunately this message cannot be sent... because those of us Cricketers who have nurtured and honoured the game so it can be handed it down with all its history and traditions are not represented at the administration level.


The sad truth of the matter is that we cannot even vote for those we would like to have representing the game. An investigation into this needs to be undertaken now by the real owners of the game and affiliates.


Once upon a time the game was run by its cricketers... those who’d played and performed at a reasonable level. Those respected and who repaid the game over and over again as a volunteer or as a coach... this is how we once inspired the next generation to set the standard.


The events in South Africa are not the fault of past Cricketers because Modern day Officials have made certain we have no involvement. This means Cricket has lost its conscience, along with the respect of the club culture and the affiliates. Today the administrators of the game believe the infrastructure that surrounds them belongs to them, not the game.


I feel nauseous when James Sutherland uses the words “Cricket Family”. What a joke!


Cricketers once steered the game and they relied on other cricketers to be elected into officialdom to carry on upholding the values and traditions we hand down to them.


Cricketers have always set out governance procedures. It was first set out in the Articles of Association... until secret back room groups undermined it all... first by altering a word here or a phrase there and not so long ago either.


All done in an attempt to keep past players and volunteers out.


Today the responsibility that past and present players had to guide and foster the games honoured traditions and principles have became a thing of the past and they have been replaced by a privileged few. From my experience I believe they lack real passion and respect for the time honoured game.


And what is more disturbing to me is that these undeserving officials cannot be removed even when playing such a huge part in creating this modern culture. A culture that is so removed from the game... that those showing any respect for it are ignored.


And boy didn’t those Corporate types running and sponsoring the game desert the ship leaving their former champion and Australian Cricket Captain to face the baying media on his return to Australia... just a lonely kid facing the aftermath of a terrible judgemental error, a stupid stupid mistake that could have been prevented had the culture bubble surrounding him been respectful to the game.


My thoughts

30 March 2018 11:14




Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15

I found this script today, written by a good friend of mine John Pomfret 35 years ago... I remember the incident well and John captured the moment magnificently. Had another good laugh about it today. For those of you who know Brendan and how competitive Bushy” McArdle and I were against each other... I think you’ll love it; enjoy




Way back in 1983 during a period known at East Lancs as “Callen’s second year” an incident occurred that was destined to go down in Club legend as the Grass Court Affair.


Whilst what follows may employ a certain amount of poetic licence it is basically true as I witnessed it as a hysterical 18 year old. In fact the incident led directly to questions being raised in committee as to whether the cricket professional was actually a member of the Club and entitled to use the facilities.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of those two upstanding Australian gentlemen Ian Callen and Brendan McArdle sanity won out. As a result the Professional is now issued with an honourary membership card and no longer has to tug his forelock and avert his gaze when talking to members of the committee


In those far off days of 1983 East Lancs had both a head groundsman (curator) and an assistant so there were the man hours available to provide grass tennis courts directly in front of the pavilion.


However on the day in question, whilst there were three courts marked out only one had a net in place. It was also occupied by Messrs Callen and McArdle who were engaged in a fiercely competitive match. Enter four tennis members wanting to play who I’ll call Clarence, Daphne, Roger and Penelope for no other reason than the names remind me of the people that they were.


This is what happened next!


Daphne: I say Clarence.


Clarence: What is it old girl?


Daphne: There’s someone on our court.


Roger: Pretty rough looking chaps if you ask me.


Penelope: Rough darling? I’d rather say rugged.


Roger: Never you mind rugged, I haven’t forgotten last week.


Clarence: Now now you two don’t fall out over old news, Penelope’s already

explained that it was all a bit of a misunderstanding with the Vicar and

his bicycle pump.


Daphne: Hear hear.


Roger: You weren’t even there.


Daphne: (Dreamily) No I wasn’t.


Clarence: Steady on, this isn’t going to get our court back.


Penelope: (Eagerly) I’ll go and have a word.

Roger: You’ll do no such thing! Clarence will.


Clarence: Er, um are you sure? I mean look at the size of the forearms on that



Daphne: Oh do get on Clarence, Penny’s right about you being all mouth and no



Clarence: (Approaching the court slowly) I say, you chaps there, what are you



Ian: G’day mate. We’re playing tennis.


Clarence: (returning to the others) They say they’re playing tennis.


Roger: Oh for goodness sake Clarence old man we can see that! Ask them why

they are on our court.


(Clarence approaches the court again)


Brendan: Look out mate, the soppy Pom’s back.


Ian: (to Clarence) What is it mate? We’re trying to finish a game here.


Clarence: (grandly) I’m afraid that will not be possible my man, this is our court

and we want to play.


Ian: Well we got here first mate and set the bloody net up so you’ll just have to



Clarence: You misunderstand me. We are the top four players at this club, we

never wait.


Brendan: Today you do.


Clarence: (gaining some ill advised bravery) Who are you chaps anyway? I

haven’t seen you before and I’ll wager you’re not even members.


Brendan: Wager all you like sport, this is Ian Callen he’s the Pro here.


Clarence: The what? (to himself) I thought that Daphne was the only old pro

around these parts.


Brendan: The cricket professional, all the way from Australia.


Clarence: (shocked) Australia! You mean he’s Australian?


Brendan: We both are you daft Pom, now why don’t you bugger off for some

cucumber sandwiches and let us get on with our game?


Clarence: You haven’t heard the last of this.


Brendan: (muttering to Ian) Do you think he could talk chewing a tennis ball?


Ian: Leave it mate, I’ve got to put up with these people till September. Let’s just

get on with the game.


(They continue as Clarence returns to his friends)


Roger: Well what did they say? They don’t appear to be leaving.


Clarence: (pointing at Brendan) That one there in the blue shorts says that the

other one is Ian Callen the Australian cricket professional.


Penelope: I thought that all Australians were criminals and sheep worriers.


Daphne: They can worry me anytime.


Roger: Daphne please!


Clarence: (putting on a brave face) I told them that we are the top four players in

the club and that we never wait but it didn’t do any good.


Daphne: We’re the only four players in the club.


Clarence: Never mind that now, what are we going to do?


Roger: (slapping his forehead) You said it yourself. The one in the blue shorts.


Clarence: What do you mean?


Roger: I mean that he’s breaking the all whites rule. I’ll have him.


Daphne: (to herself) not before me you won’t.


Roger: (walks confidently towards the court and calls to Brendan) Hey there

chummy, just a moment.


Brendan: (just about to receive serve) What now?


Roger: I’m awfully sorry, but you can’t play in those shorts.


Brendan: Hold the serve Ian, this bloke’s just asked me to take off my strides.

Jeez mate, I thought you had a dress code here?


Daphne & Penelope: (both clapping their hands) Oh well done Roger!


Clarence: Ladies really.


Ian: (quietly to Roger) Look mate this is match point, what say you run along and

tell your friends that we’ll be finished in a minute. Unless of course you want

a tennis racquet inserting where the sun don’t shine!


Brendan: Head first!

Roger: (departing quickly) Righty-ho chaps.


Clarence: Well?


Roger: I gave them a stern talking to and told them that this is their last point.


Daphne: Oh how masterful.


Penelope: (snorts with derision) I don’t think.


Clarence: Ok then, let’s go inside and get ready.


(They go inside just as Ian and Brendan finish their match)


Ian: Look mate, I’ve got an Idea to really piss off those stuffed shirts.


Brendan: How do you mean?


Ian: The curator’s left the roller out on the edge of the pitch and it’s going in the middle of the court. If they can start it they can move it.


Brendan: Good on you mate but it’ll cause some trouble.


Ian: It’ll be worth it though.


(Ten minutes later Clarence, Penelope, Daphne and Roger emerge from the pavilion to find the heavy roller smack bang in the middle of the court to the sound of fading antipodean laughter.)


Daphne: (at the top of her voice) CLARENCE! RING THE CHAIRMAN, NOW

21 June 2018 18:50


Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:10

"Ashes Cricket" is the sports show piece to the world.


The series is a demonstration or if you like, a "Test" not only of character or ability, but commitment, humility, preparation and planning. All in order to maintain a Nations sporting pride.


And so the 2017 -2018 Ashes series came to end in Sydney and in the final wash up it was Australia 4 England 0.


For the Australian and England Cricket teams every aspect of the game was laid bare and scrutinised but for the respective Nations their "Cricket" can only be judge by the last performance.


I don't know how my many friends in the UK feel about it all... perhaps they feel their team lacked discipline and respect. The Ben Stokes incident did not help the cause and certainly disrupted tour preparations.


I suppose that might be used as an excuse for some but in my mind, the Tourists underestimated the task before them and certainly the Australian bowling attack. There also seemed to be a lack of support for Joe Root, an inexperienced leader without his deputy. Had this been anticipated... it didn't look that way because Joe was far from his best and always under pressure.


To his credit the Captain battled on without retreat from the Sun nor heat nor Pat Cummins.


As I watched, I wondered if England's brains trust ever thought Pat would last the series.


I know I had my concerns but Pat just got better with every Test match. In the end his stamina strength and hunger for wickets astounded me. The big quick played the entire series... ending it in Sydney with an 8 wicket haul. This performance proving beyond doubt that all batsmen require sound technique when confronting fast short pitched bowling.


Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc with Lyon in support were relentless... in comparison to the English attack. With Stuart Broad, under a cloud before the series he went missing when it counted leaving Anderson, Woakes and Overton carrying the burden.


I thought Anderson maintained good lines but without any support... the Australians only had to see him off.


Woakes look good at times, but refused to work his way about the crease and not once did he get close enough to the stumps to take advantage of his natural gift... the leg cutter. With such a delivery up his sleeve he has the ability to threaten any batting... but unless he's prepared to work the lines this will never happen often enough.


Moeen Ali was another great disappointment and seemingly overwhelmed by the Australians and the conditions. I think England could have played Mason Crane much early... it would not have made any difference as it turned out and who knows it might have made him?


From an Australian perspective we'd hoped for a series to lift the spirits of "Test Cricket".


We needed proof that this format of the game has no comparison to the contests which make up "Test Cricket" and as matches ebbed and flowed the Ashes did not let us down even though it failed to deliver the close fought result we were wanting.


It certainly was a terrific appetiser for the Test Cricket that awaits us in South Africa. I will have more to say on this in my next "SportsHounds" contribution.


I must congratulate Steve Smith for an outstanding series... his batting is truly Bradman like. I thought Darren Lehmann, David Saker and staff did a terrific job preparing a squad heavily criticised. Especially Tim Paine, Shaun and Mitch Marsh.


The selectors were proven right as they were with Khawaja... who's persona at the crease, reminds me very much of David Gower, the great England Left Hander... always relaxed and seemingly doing it with ease.



Boxing Day Test A Disappointment

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:10

So Melbourne's Boxing Day Test ends in a disappointing draw and what a painful 5 days it was for the bowlers. Having watched the first days play I made the prediction that Cook would bat for two days... and he didn't disappoint me. What a humble and modest man he is... a true champions and gentleman of the game, with exceptional concentration skills.


I must say that with the ball barely carrying to the Keeper the bowlers also put in a truly a herculian effort... all plugging away throughout on a very disappointing Test Match Pitch. Special mention must go to Warner and Smith... both leading from the front playing important roles in both innings.


We now look forward to Sydney... and it is shame the series was over before it had reached the two "G's!" The scheduling needs to be looked at by administration, that is for sure.


And so, whilst on the subject of Administration I refer to comments recently made by Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland below:


Yes! Test cricket is in danger I agree, but what is being done about it? We surely cannot blame the Cricketers... or can we?


Let me paint a picture for you and if I am off the mark... feel free to tell me. I'll let you make up your own minds.


When it come to the administration of the game... Where are all the Cricketers?


I think it's a fair question because they are certainly not running the game that's for sure. Otherwise the wickets around the world would be more conducive to good cricket offering an even contest to bat and ball.


I suppose I should clarify those who might be a cricketer... in my mind it can only be he or she who has played and performed at a reasonable level.


So a cricketer in my mind is someone respected by peers, has gone onto coach and inspire those with youthful ambition. There are some of course, who've gone on and achieved much more.


It is also worth stating that Cricketers never play for themselves, always the team and certainly never at the expense of aspiring youth. A Cricketer will respect and support the club and would never believe it operates for their own personal benefit. And one last thing... a true Cricketer is never a miss field, away from being an negative impact on his/her team mates.


History once proved that Cricketers rely on other cricketers they've elected into officialdom in order to keep the game on course, upholding traditional values,controlling purse strings and of course game develop as set out in various Articles of Association... "Crickets Constitution". Unfortunately this is now a thing of the past... As we've all seen over the past scandalous year.


Today it seems certain that those in power are no longer wanted by the overall majority of cricketers... especially at the grass roots level of "The Game!" And what is more, the incumbent have embedded themselves into office and cannot and will not be removed or replaced.


This is a "BS" situation!


A situation where the game is not making decisions on behalf of itself and when you consider the incumbents are telling us Test Cricket is sinking... I am disillusioned and dismayed further. Again I refer to the attached comments by James Sutherland.


It seems to me that James and his Board are so full of their own ego's they fail to recognise that it is "They" who are responsible for the state of Test Cricket and the game in general.


But for most of 2017 the CEO has been blaming his Cricketers, oblivious to the one real thing destroying the game... the lack of Cricketers involved in running the dam thing... does anyone really think for one moment that a Cricketer would want to produce a poor wicket for its cricketers, especially for Test Matches.


The Perth wicket is a tragic situation and it should not be. The MCG Pitch should be the best in world cricket... and so why isn't it the show piece of "World Cricket Wickets".


So you might ask who's responsible... Guess who, Yes! It is "Cricket Australia" that's who!... And all under the watch of Sutherland and his Board.


The MCG wicket once under the control of Cricket Victoria before the rights were sold off to Cricket Australia... the drop in wickets are have an negative impact on the game. But this is also happening everywhere more and more as Test Nation Administrators (Not Cricketers) look to bolster the paid positions they hold.


The problem is not just here in Australia... Let us take a look at Australia's last tour of England. History once proves "The Oval" pitch the best batting strip in world cricket. Edgbaston traditionally not far behind, but neither have played to standard in recent tours.


I ask the question Why? Is it because Administrators are looking to contrive results?


One thing is for sure... it is not the Cricketers... it is those employed by Cricketers to run the game and who now think they own it.


Again I think my questions are reasonable and need to be answered... The game has lost Cricketing values during James Sutherland reign and with the introduction of the Corporate High flyers and executives who wilfully turn their backs on unconscionable behaviour and this includes those with the ability to twist and misrepresent conversation, opinions or the information they pass on.


I think it all so shameful and I am fed up with those who work the figures to , promote or market the game on guesstimates... using the money belonging to the game, the "Grass roots of cricket" in order to promote or justify their employment.


There is a similarity here to the cricket types who for years occupy a position in the team, claiming they they are mentoring youthful aspiration... BS! But "Statistics" can be found on "Mycricket" these days proving conclusively that these types have nothing at all to pass on to anyone but somehow they've infiltrated the system.


Something needs to be done to save not only Test Cricket but the entire game everywhere and the first step is to remove the types failing and abusing it.


This is all happening at the expense of true leadership... those with the ability to anticipate and recognise issues before they happen. Yes, I believe this is where the game is at right now... and somehow the Cricketers have to fix it.

The Game of Cricket Moving Forward

Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:10

Women's Cricket (WC) is up and running around the world and I am told it is in a financially sustainable situation.

This being the case, I believe it needs to be handed over to the Ladies to develop and nurture from this point on.

It is also time for the game to be handed over to its rightful shareholders around the world. In Australia it is the District Clubs and Associates and they must take control of our State Associations and reinstate their authority over the dictatorship that has become Cricket Australia (CA)... the game must administer itself the way it was established and originally set up or it will be owned by money and influence moving forward as it seems it already is.

As I have said many times a thorough review of those employed in cricket throughout Australia needs to be undertaken... the numbers employed grossly overlap the pre existing duties and responsibilities that naturally evolve within the game. The financial saving from this, better applied to grass roots cricket... after all this is where the responsibility of game development truly lies.

Yes! Administrators need to free up positions and employ qualified junior coaches rather than seat warmers. Quality cricket people to assist community clubs develop cricket skills for the boys and girls who are being attracted to the game.

From my experience the game does not need paid administrative workers across regions telling Volunteers what they should be doing... our cricket people are hard workers and are more than capable.

There is something else that needs to be pointed out... for what ever reason a cricketer fails to advanced to District Cricket (I hate the term Premier Cricket) they have missed their chance. But this does not mean they don't have a responsibility to the game.

It is now the time to nurture and provided opportunity for those coming through. The game need not be lost to you! You can now help the next generation by encouraging others.

The game needs to ensure it provides opportunities for cricketers past and present and reward them to take on roles within the community. This is where funds need to be invested.

To provide good coaching programs at the introductory level of the game because every opportunity should be afforded to those the game attracts... otherwise they are being neglected and I say they have for far too long.

Young children soak up everything that is taught to them and in no time at all... it just clicks for them. I have witnessed this as a coach. The excitement is contagious and in no time they are executing skills correctly, with confidence, technique and style.

Sure their nurturing takes patience, requires reinforcement and encouragement but once the child picks it up it stays with them forever, alleviating the need for corrective coaching at competition levels.

A further recommendation.. the outstanding graduates of this type of program should be employed (paid) as assistants to help advanced other participants in the junior development programs within the club. This promotes self esteem and confidence instilling cricketing values and admiration for those moving through the pathway system.

I believe cricket participation numbers will increase on the back of organised and structured development programs where families can witness the advances being made by their children and others generating greater community support and involvement.

I believe a greater number of talented Cricketers (boys & girls) will emerge from such initiatives... who knows we may even increase playing numbers across the country!

I also would encourage greater investment into junior cricket regional competition with sponsorship for representatives and T20 knockout comp prior to Big Bash games in each state with advancement to a national championship.

I would also like to see the best of the youngsters competing at an international level replacing under 17 and under 19 competition who by now should excelling at district crickets levels against hard nosed cricketers.



Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:05

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 "" website. see the link below:


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.



Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:05

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.