Chaos in Cricket Aus­tralia gives In­dia big ad­van­tage

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htsportsmax - IAN CHAPPELL

The re­cent off-field ac­tion in Aus­tralian cricket has been fierce and fren­zied. Three play­ers lost to sus­pen­sion, fol­lowed by the res­ig­na­tion of a coach, a CEO and a Board mem­ber, then the pace re­ally quick­ened with the re­luc­tant de­par­ture of the chair­man and then close on his heels, an­other Board mem­ber in re­spected for­mer player and cap­tain Mark Taylor. To cap off the chaos, two ex­ec­u­tives were then sacked.

The great­est ben­e­fi­ciary of this off-field up­heaval is the In­dian tour­ing party which now has their best ever chance of beat­ing a rat­tled Aus­tralia at home in a Test se­ries.

Not that In­dia have avoided their own ad­min­is­tra­tive chaos. First there was the Lodha com­mit­tee rec­om­men­da­tions to clean up the BCCI, then the Supreme Court in­ter­ven­tion to hurry along that process. Then the Com­mit­tee of Ad­min­is­tra­tors (CoA) were ap­pointed to en­sure com­pli­ance. More re­cently for­mer cap­tain-turnedad­min­is­tra­tor Sourav Gan­guly, shared his con­cerns when he ex­pressed; “A deep sense of fear,” over the present state of af­fairs in In­dian cricket.

How­ever, where Aus­tralia’s off-field chaos was pre­cip­i­tated by on-field cheat­ing in Cape Town, In­dia’s ad­min­is­tra­tive woes haven’t seeped through onto the field and caused a dis­rup­tion to the play­ing group.

Not only has Aus­tralia lost the ser­vices of their two best bats­men in Steve Smith and David Warner and (also the promis­ing Cameron Ban­croft) but they are also nav­i­gat­ing a cul­tural change to the way they play the game. It’s yet to be seen whether this will have an ad­verse ef­fect on their results.

PLAY­ERS’ BODY KEY

An­other as­pect of Aus­tralian cricket that needs re­pair­ing is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Cricket Aus­tralia and the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion (ACA). This plumbed the depths dur­ing the re­cent ac­ri­mo­nious MoU ne­go­ti­a­tions but with all the blood-let­ting at CA, the time is right to bring a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to this re­la­tion­ship.

To turn this fraught re­la­tion­ship into a partnership that takes the game for­ward in Aus­tralia, the ACA should con­duct it’s own cull and ap­point a new pres­i­dent in or­der to recom­mence deal­ings with a fresh ap­proach.

The cur­rent pres­i­dent, Greg Dyer, made a provoca­tive and op­por­tunis­tic call to re­in­state the sus­pended play­ers fol­low­ing the re­lease of the Longstaff re­port which was scathing of the CA cul­ture. This was not the ac­tion of a man look­ing for a pos­i­tive way for­ward in the re­la­tion­ship.

Aus­tralian cricket only needs to look to the Caribbean to see what harm can come from an ad­min­is­tra­tion war­ring with the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion. West Indies cricket has been in a par­lous state for at least two decades and some of the blame for this must be shared by the war­ring par­ties.

Aus­tralia have by no means reached that stage and it’s to be hoped com­mon­sense would pre­vail long be­fore it de­te­ri­o­rated to that point. How­ever what com­menced with a calami­tous er­ror by the play­ers has pro­gressed to ad­min­is­tra­tive chaos and the re­sul­tant de­par­tures from CA have pro­vided the ideal op­por­tu­nity to re­build some­thing re­ally strong in Aus­tralian cricket.

FRESH OP­POR­TU­NITY There’s no doubt the Aus­tralian sys­tem --- once the envy of the cricket world --- has been frac­tured for some time. The bal­ance be­tween de­ci­sions made for busi­ness rea­sons and those in the best in­ter­ests of the game has long since favoured the for­mer. This bal­ance needs to be ad­dressed.

By adopt­ing a com­pas­sion­ate and com­mon­sense ap­proach to a hum­bled Board, the ACA has an op­por­tu­nity to help set Aus­tralian cricket on a path to re­gain­ing it’s for­mer glory.

While the men’s game in Aus­tralia has been floun­der­ing, the women have been mer­rily go­ing about the busi­ness of achiev­ing suc­cess with­out alien­at­ing op­po­nents or fans. Per­haps some in­put from the distaff side could has­ten Aus­tralian cricket’s re­turn to a po­si­tion of strength.

Dur­ing their ca­reer, crick­eters have a duty to try and at least leave the game as strong as it was when they en­tered the fray. The cur­rent Aus­tralian play­ers have a golden op­por­tu­nity to achieve that aim - they shouldn’t spill the chance.

AUS­TRALIA ARE NAV­I­GAT­ING A CUL­TURAL CHANGE TO THE WAY THEY PLAY. IT’S YET TO BE SEEN WHETHER THIS WILL HAVE AN AD­VERSE EF­FECT ON RESULTS.

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