Cricket

“I will listen a lot”

“I will listen a lot”

News

Re-engaging with players, appointing a new coach and refreshing the BBL are on Henderson’s agenda

New Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson took the lead on his first day behind the wheel, stressing the need for the CA board to re-engage with Australian players and freshen up the BBL, while appointing a new men’s coach and a new ethics commissioner in the first months of his mandate.
There are wounds to heal between the CA du CA and the administration and the men’s team and the former players, in particular following the resignation of coach Justin Langer after the Ashes. This follows the resignation of Tim Paine as Australian Tests captain before the Ashes started. CA and the board have been widely criticized for how the two issues have been handled from a governance perspective.

“I think our former players, both recent former players and more distant former players, have all earned the right to have an opinion on what’s going on in the game,” Henderson said. “And I will be doing a lot of listening in my first weeks and months in the role and that will include talking to our former players.

“My style of communication will be to be open, transparent, hopefully consistent. I work in healthcare. We’ve negotiated a pandemic for the past two years. within the bounds of board confidentiality, I hope there’s a really open and transparent way.”

Henderson was unanimously appointed by the board on Thursday after an interview process with a select group of candidates. He became the AC’s fourth president in four years and third in five months, succeeding interim president Richard Freudenstein, who assumed the role following the resignation of Nick Hockley.

Henderson comes to the post with a stellar resume in both his profession as chief executive of Epworth HealthCare and in cricket governance, where he has been director and chairman of WACA and director CA since 2018 after moving from Perth to Melbourne. He also played junior cricket for Western Australia and freshman cricket for University Cricket Club in Perth.

He pointed to better communication and stronger relationships with current player groups without compromising good governance.

“I think we need to re-sign our players,” Henderson said. “It’s been incredibly difficult. They’ve mostly operated out of bio-secure bubbles. But, as the new chairman of the board, I’d like to think that we re-engage with our cricketers, men and women. And my role is also to speak to cricketers at all levels, from grassroots to elite players.”

“The first step in Big Bash renewal is strategy. The current Big Bash structure and any such changes are not on the agenda at this time. We will consider what is best for cricket”

Lachlan Henderson

Henderson acknowledged that the process surrounding Langer’s resignation needed to be revisited after the way it unfolded.

“It got messy in terms of things that happened in the media,” he said. “But the board’s role was to receive recommendations from management. We made our decision based on that. With any important decision like this, boards should think about the process involved. It is unfortunate that a party of this played out in the media, and we will consider whether this should have been accelerated over the summer.”

Henderson, who was WACA chairman when Langer coached WA and Perth Scorchers, confirmed he contacted the former coach and spoke to him via text message. He hoped to have a conversation with him in the coming weeks. He also said he wanted a new men’s coach, or coaches, appointed ‘as soon as possible’, but acknowledged the appointment process was in the hands of CEO Nick Hockley and Head of Teams. National Ben Oliver.

He revealed that the CA board had a new cricket strategy for 2022, which involved reviewing and refreshing the BBL. The BBL has struggled for back-to-back Covid-ravaged seasons, and while TV ratings have remained strong, there are concerns about the product and competition as a whole, especially with a new TV rights deal to be negotiated in 2024.

“The first step in Big Bash renewal is strategy,” Henderson said. “The current structure of the Big Bash and any such changes are not on our agenda at this time. We will consider what is best for cricket.

“It’s a really important product for our states and their financial capability as well and obviously for our players, we’re engaging with them as well. It’s not a complete overhaul. We have a great product. But we have the BBL renewed and refreshed.

“There will be a consideration around the length of the season, as well as the length of the season. I think those are all going to be really important considerations as we look at the Big Bash and we’ll be consulting extensively with people involved in the product. . , our states, our players, our partners, our broadcast partners, and we’ll figure out what’s the best way forward.”

Henderson noted that CA had a biosecurity cost of A$40m over the past two seasons which it needs to recover from a financial standpoint, as well as a drop in grassroots attendance due to Covid -10 which needed to be addressed.

His other major goal in the first few months of his term would be to appoint a CA Ethics Commissioner, which is one of the final recommendations of the 2018 Ethics Center review that has yet to be finalized. Implementation. “I will make this appointment in the coming weeks after reviewing all available candidates.”

One of the main challenges for Henderson is juggling his difficult role as CEO at Epworth HealthCare and travel demands as CA chairman. He won’t go to Pakistan with the test team, although Hockley will. He will attempt to travel with the men’s and women’s teams later in the year.

Alex Malcolm is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo