Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain, is set to be re-elected to the board of Cricket Australia for another three years when the governing body meets for its annual general meeting in Brisbane next week.
Alongside Tony Harrison, Taylor is one of two directors up for re-election at the AGM, which will be preceded by meetings of state chief executives and chairmen, and also a CA Board meeting. There has been discussion, too, about elevating the CA chief executive, James Sutherland, to a formal seat at the board table as executive director, a move recommended by the David Crawford and Colin Carter governance review of CA in 2011 but blocked by the Board at the time.
Some uncertainty had surrounded Taylor’s future, after he hinted earlier this year that he may well move on from the directorship he has held for 12 years, apart from a brief period in which he resigned while the board moved from 14 state delegates to nine independent directors.
“At this stage I’m forging ahead as a board director and a commentator,” Taylor told the Daily Telegraph in February. “But that could all change for me in the next 13 months. I could no longer be a director and could not be a cricket commentator by this time next year so if that was to happen, I’m going into it eyes wide open and ready to make some decisions about where I might want to go.”
However in the wake of this year’s pay dispute between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, both the state associations and the board chairman David Peever are believed to have encouraged Taylor to stay on, as one of the most highly regarded directors on the board and also a provider of much cricket credibility to decision-making. Under CA’s constitution, at least one director must be based in each of the six states, with Taylor filling the New South Wales slot.
Since 2012 the board has been bolstered with plenty of corporate acumen. But the need for a balanced array of perspectives and backgrounds was underlined by the way the dispute unfolded, with the players firmly rejecting CA’s desire to break up the fixed revenue percentage model at the heart of all MoU agreements since 1998 despite being pushed out of contract by the June 30 expiry of the previous deal. CA has conducted an internal review of the MoU process, results of which are expected to be tabled at the board meeting before the AGM.
Greg Dyer, the president of the ACA, wrote in the annual report of the players’ association this week that both parties needed to work alongside one another to ensure a similarly damaging dispute is not allowed to happen again. “Throughout, the players and the ACA held true to the principle that the players need to be real partners in the game, rather than mere employees, and the final result was a strong affirmation of that principle,” he wrote.
“All involved from the ACA and all of our players are to be congratulated on a great outcome for cricket. But we must never allow such a process to happen again. At the ACA, we commit to a full review of the MoU process to determine how all this was allowed to occur and how it may be avoided for all future negotiations.
“Further, it is my intention as president of the ACA to continue to ask the questions that challenge the sport to keep getting better. Whether on the field or off, the ACA stands committed to playing an active role in seeking improvement and reform where needed. I assume a similar review process is underway at CA, which should include consideration of the behavior and tactics employed by those involved, both collectively and individually.”
Australia’s vice-captain David Warner, the most outspoken of cricketers during the standoff, said this week that the players had never sought to get into a conflict with CA, but felt compelled to stand their ground. “We regret the way it was played out in the media,” Warner told the Sydney Morning Herald. “But we didn’t ask for a fight. We just stood up for what we believed in. That was a revenue-share model.
“We hope it never ever gets to that again. We’ve got another five years to deal with it now moving forward. We came to an agreement and both parties are satisfied now. We’ve moved on and we’re trying to concentrate on cricket and the Ashes. You saw the stance that the players had on it. We weren’t going to go on tour. At the end of the day, they came to an agreement and we ended up touring Bangladesh. But we were standing firm and strong and we believed in what we thought was right.”
CA is expected to announce a modest financial profit for 2016-17, a season in which Australia hosted South Africa and Pakistan. However, the chairman Peever and chief executive Sutherland can be expected to highlight major progress at international level this year, in helping to drive constitutional reform at the ICC and more recently usher the introduction of a Test Championship and ODI league to add context to the game.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig