Is NZ Cricket com­ing right?

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

San­ity is re­turn­ing to the ranks of New Zealand Cricket at last. It has been heart­en­ing in re­cent days to learn that chief national se­lec­tor Kim Lit­tle­john, board chair­man Chris Moller and board mem­bers Bill Fran­cis, Sir John Hansen and Therese Walsh are stand­ing down.

Let’s hope the ex­per­i­ment of treat­ing New Zealand Cricket like a busi­ness and pre­tend­ing it has lit­tle do with sport is over.

We need cricket peo­ple to fill the key roles in New Zealand cricket.

And let’s end the in­fat­u­a­tion with Aus­tralians.

For the most part, if they were any good, they’d be do­ing it in Aus­tralia.

New Zealand Cricket has had a very poor few years, led by two lack­lus­tre chief ex­ec­u­tives, Justin Vaughan and the in­cum­bent, David White.

The board has been chaired un­con­vinc­ingly for three years by Chris Moller.

He shone ear­lier chair­ing the New Zealand Rugby board, but has not looked at home in cricket.

His lack of cricket knowl­edge has been a ma­jor prob­lem.

He has also be­come in­creas­ingly tetchy when chal­lenged, never more so than dur­ing the in­fa­mous Ross Tay­lor fi­asco cap­taincy last De­cem­ber.

Hansen, Fran­cis and Walsh have all been on the board for sev­eral years. Why?

Walsh has spe­cialised in in­ter­na­tional aid causes such as Save the Chil­dren, but how does that help a cricket board?

Hansen is a se­nior mem­ber of the New Zealand ju­di­ciary, but again is in­ex­pe­ri­enced in top-level cricket.

Fran­cis was a bril­liant ra­dio man, par­tic­u­larly man­ag­ing com­mer­cial sta­tions, and cut his teeth on sport. I had no prob­lem with him be­ing on the board, pro­vided there were ex­pe­ri­enced first-class crick­eters sit­ting along­side him. Un­for­tu­nately, there weren’t.

Lit­tle­john, who ran Lawn Bowls Aus­tralia for seven years, has been vir­tu­ally the sole se­lec­tor of the New Zealand team since 2011, a lu­di­crous sit­u­a­tion. White con­ceded the other day: ‘‘We’d like some­one with more cricket knowl­edge.’’

He fi­nally con­firmed what cricket fans here have been say­ing for two years.

In re­cent times, Aus­tralians Ash­ley Ross (high per­for­mance, with a pen­chant for biome­chan­ics) and Mark O’Neill (bat­ting coach) have set the New Zealand team back sev­eral notches.

An­other Aus­tralian, John Buchanan, is still New Zealand Cricket’s di­rec­tor of cricket, on a salary of about $300,000 a year. It would be lovely if he could be sent pack­ing, too, for all the good he’s done, ex­cept it’s doubt­ful New Zealand Cricket could af­ford the sev­er­ance bill.

It’s the same at provin­cial level.

For ex­am­ple, Welling­ton’s last two coaches have been Aus­tralians An­thony Stu­art and Jamie Sid­dons. Dur­ing their time, Welling­ton have won noth­ing. Sid­dons seems pre­oc­cu­pied with look­ing for more en­tic­ing roles else­where, all the while pro­fess­ing his com­mit­ment to Welling­ton cricket.

New Zealand Cricket should ac­knowl­edge some truths:

It’s much bet­ter if cricket peo­ple are in­volved in run­ning the sport.

Ex­pe­ri­ence of the game at first-class, and prefer­ably test, level is of im­mense ben­e­fit.

Where pos­si­ble, opt for home-grown ad­min­is­tra­tors, coaches and play­ers. They will re­ally care about our game.

A new-look New Zealand Cricket board is to be named in Septem­ber.

Hope­fully there’ll be plenty of cricket nous on it.

In the mean­time, let’s con­tinue weed­ing out the Aussies and re­plac­ing them with knowl­edge­able home-grown coaches and of­fi­cials.

De­part­ing: Chris Moller, above, and Kim Lit­tle­john, right, are leav­ing New Zealand Cricket.

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