Malcolm Speed, former CEO of Cricket Australia, has suggested Mark Taylor take over as chairman from David Peever.
Taylor ruled himself out of any such position but it made me wonder – what sort of Cricket Australia chairman would he have made?
Like most cricket fans, I loved Taylor as a player and a captain. Who could forget his 1989 Ashes run-scoring achievements, his divine work at first slip, his inspired leadership, particularly in the West Indies in 1995?
Who didn’t admire his calm demeanour in the face of his legendary 1996-97 form slump, or enjoy his 334 in Pakistan? He had the reputation as a poor one-day cricketer but he still led Australia to the final in the 1996 World Cup. Seemingly respected by everyone, Taylor was surely one of the greatest Australian captains of all time.
Like most cricket fans, I am uninspired by Taylor as a commentator. He was in the chair at Channel Nine for over 20 years, and never seemed to get any better – ambling along in his flat way, contributing to the decline in standards of that commentary team but without ever being as annoying as Michael Slater.
Maybe things would’ve been worse without Taylor – but I doubt it, considering the amount of times he would admit to not knowing much about new players he was commenting on. Still, he was a great player – why not give him a bludge job? And you get the impression he’s easy to work with so you can understand why Channel Nine want to stick with him.
I originally thought it was a good thing Taylor was on the board of Cricket Australia. He seemed so calm and unflappable, he had links to the media, and he had a nice head of hair, which seems to be particularly important at Jolimont Street (eg Pat Howard, David Peever).
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor and his glorious hair. (AAP Image/Darren England)
But his performance over the past 12 months has been fairly ordinary.
He was part of the ridiculous pay dispute where Peever sought to overturn the pay model which Taylor himself had fought for as captain. Maybe Taylor was opposed to this behind the scenes but if so he did a damn good job of hiding it, saying both sides needed to compromise (why, when one was stealing from the other?), and whinging about the ACA not being willing to negotiate when it was Cricket Australia who had been dragging their feet.
“Cricket Australia feel the ACA aren’t negotiating at all,” Taylor whined. “We want to get away from what they call a revenue sharing model… although, the one being offered to the players is still revenue sharing to a certain extent [not really true]. No-one’s worse off [again not really true].”
Then when Peever sought a second term as chairman despite his disastrous record to date, Taylor defended him, suggesting the game needed the continuity of more Peever.
And before the culture review came out Taylor had the gall to suggest the findings might be sealed because “it’s about what we can do in the future to make the game better, not necessarily what we’ve done wrong in the past” – only months after Steve Smith had been roundly criticised for the Cape Town press conference where he talked about moving forward instead of addressing what he’d done wrong.
Then Taylor went and complained when Rod Marsh criticised the Board’s role in sandpapergate. In fairness Taylor did warn about player behaviour prior to Cape Town.
Taylor had options restraining Peever’s behaviour. As a former Test captain his word would have carried enormous weight around the board.
He could have resigned like Bob Every or spoken out in public. I think what happened is what tends to happens when ex players go into management – they start to side with management over the players.
Taylor was a Peever enabler and helped contribute to many of the bad things Peever did and I think it’s a good thing Taylor isn’t Cricket Australia chairman
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