Perhaps it should be no surprise that Cricket Australia is getting into quite such a tangle finding ways to make sure its national team behaves properly. After all, it’s been many decades since they did. They have no living experience of behaving properly.
It’s also no surprise, then, that the first thing to investigate is why a culture of nastiness became so embedded in their approach to the game. There is not one but two ‘investigations’ into the matter currently reaching their conclusions. The first is into Australian cricket in general, the second into the national team and its ethos.
The first has been submitted by Simon Longstaff, the director of the Ethics Centre – fancy needing to have such a thing in the first place. His terms of reference included: “…whether any wider cultural, organisational and/or governance issues within CA, and more broadly within Australian cricket, should be addressed to ensure these events never occur again, either on tour or whilst playing in Australia. This review will investigate links between player behaviour (particularly on the tour of South Africa) and the organisational, governance and culture within CA and Australian cricket.
“The separate player review will, in consultation with a small panel of current and past players, consider a behavioural Charter for the Australian men’s cricket teams that balances the performance demands of elite cricket with expectations of all Australians in regard to on- and off-field role modelling.
“It is expected that at various stages the findings from this Wider Cultural, Organisational &/or Governance review will cross-check with the work of the panel that is exploring a Charter for the Australian men’s team – and, where appropriate, incorporate any findings or relevant information into its work.”
Former Test batsman Rick McCosker is conducting the second review and is tasked with drafting a ‘Charter for player behaviour’. To be fair, other Test nations have produced similar documents – including South Africa – but the Aussies are finding a way through the minefield of decent behaviour particularly tortuous, it seems.
“Cricket Australia has committed to sharing the findings from the concurrent reviews before the season begins,” a CA spokesman said this week. “There are still a number of steps to be taken before the process is complete. At such time, we will engage key stakeholders, among them the media. It would be inappropriate to comment on speculation or provide a running commentary while the process is ongoing.”
Guys, it can’t be that hard. Can it?
Meanwhile, South Africans have their own head-scratching to do. There are hundreds of reasons why the new CSA T20 League might fail, and do so with spectacular ignominy and long-term financial ramifications. But now that it is upon us, I suggest we should do all we can to support it and make it work. We all need it to.
There are just over 40 days to go before the first match is scheduled to be played on November 9. Still no teams, venues or squads. No marketing plan or sponsors. But there is a broadcaster, the venerable, cash-strapped national one.
Part of the success of Australia’s Big Bash League is attributed to the fact that it has been screened free-to-air. If it makes a difference in attracting new audiences in a country with a population of just over 24 million, the majority of which is ‘middle class’ and can afford satellite TV, it should make a far greater impact on a population of almost 60 million, the vast majority of whom cannot contemplate such luxury.
Building a successful tournament will take between three and five years, optimistically – and plenty of luck. But its chances of attracting sponsors and ‘marquee’ players from around the world will plummet if the inaugural edition is played in front of thousands of empty seats. CSA desperately needs to show domestic and global sponsors that there is an appetite to support the new league.
Of course it should all have been organised months ago – a year ago, actually. But it is what it is and we have to make the best of it. Ironically, having marginalised the Kolpak players from playing domestic Franchise cricket, they will now be in great demand to fill the stipulated quota of foreign players – “three minimum, four maximum” for the six teams. (Yes, Kolpak players will be regarded as ‘foreign’.) Finding a minimum of three overseas players good enough to add value will be desperately difficult.
I was about to write: “Just Google the squads for the second edition of the Dubai T10 League which takes place bang in the middle of the new SA league.” But then, that’s what I’m here for. So here you are:
Kerala Kings: Eoin Morgan (icon player, captain), Sohail Tanvir, Kieron Pollard, Paul Stirling, Dasun Shanaka, Chris Gayle, Junaid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Tom Curran, Fabian Allen, Niroshan Dickwella, Imran Nazir, Benny Howell.
Coach: Daniel Vettori
Maratha Arabians: Rashid Khan (icon player), Kamran Akmal, Alex Hales, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Lasith Malinga, Liam Livingstone, James Vince, Brendan Taylor, Adam Lyth, Roelof van der Merwe, Najibullah Zadran, Richard Gleeson.
Coach: Wasim Akram
Pakhtoons: Shahid Afridi (icon player, captain), Mohammad Irfan, Liam Dawson, Colin Ingram, David Willey, Colin Munro, Andre Fletcher, Sohail Khan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Chadwick Walton, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Cameron Delport.
Coach: Dean Jones
Punjabi Legends: Shoaib Malik (icon player, captain), Chris Jordan, Luke Ronchi, Liam Plunkett, Evin Lewis, Mohammad Sami, ZahirKhan, Umar Akmal, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tom Moores, Anwar Ali, Jade Dernbach, Hasan Khan.
Coach: Mushtaq Ahmed
Karachians: Shane Watson (icon player), Anton Devcich, Ben Laughlin, Jofra Archer, Colin de Grandhomme, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Dawid Malan, Fawad Ahmed, Isuru Udana, Joe Clarke, Samiullah Shenwari, Mohammad Irfan.
Coach: Tom Moody
Bengal Tigers: Sunil Narine (icon player), Jason Roy, Asif Ali, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sam Billings, Morne Morkel, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Nabi, Kusal Perera, Sherfane Rutherford, Kevon Cooper, Rayad Emrit, Ali Khan.
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Northern Warriors: Darren Sammy (icon player), Wahab Riaz, Nicolas Pooran, Andre Russell, Dwayne Smith, Ravi Bopara, RovmanPowell, Harry Gurney, Chris Green, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Kennar Lewis.
Coach: Robin Singh
Rajputs: Brendon McCullum (icon player), Chris Lynn, Rilee Rossouw, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Tymal Mills, Carlos Brathwaite, Rahat Ali, Samit Patel, Qais Ahmad, Ben Dunk, Shan Masood, Peter Trego.
Coach: Herschelle Gibbs.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.