So “where is Australian cricket”? According to Shane Warne, it is heading nowhere and needs a radical overhaul. Typical of the man, Warne’s observation on the present state of affairs in Australian cricket and his suggestions to set things right came with a touch of eccentricity. In his blog he picked his “dream team” for the administration of Australian cricket. He proposed Rod Marsh, Mark Waugh, Damian Martyn and Glenn McGrath as selectors, Mark Taylor as CEO of cricket and Ian Chappell as chief consultant. The team should be coached by Stephen Fleming (the former New Zealand captain is also on the Indian cricket board’s radar to replace Duncan Fletcher) with Darren Lehmann as his assistant. Michael Hussey or Michael Bevan have Warne’s backing for the position of the batting coach, while Merv Hughes or Bruce Reid should be in charge of the bowling department.
The list looks very impressive on paper but the question is that will Warne, or any player for that matter, ever have his way in administrative matters? History suggests otherwise. Warne didn’t start the fire but he lit the kindle. The fire was burning since the late 1970s, when Tony Greig & Co joined hands with Kerry Packer. The movement revolutionised cricket, though in the end, a truce was called between the ‘rebels’ and administrators. Interestingly, even after such a big movement, power remained with those who control the game from board rooms. But cricketers started getting their dues which made them happy. The officials had to backtrack a great deal and player power won. Cricketers who fought hard for their place in the spotlight beamed in glory. It was a universal gesture of triumph despite the fact that India had never been a part of that power struggle.
Far too often a question is asked that why sports shouldn’t be run by players. It’s a very logical query. But the problem is that good players don’t always make good administrators. In one of his recent blog posts, former India batsman Sanjay Bangar beautifully described the reasons. “Administration needs a lot of managerial skills, besides individual traits of consensus-building and patience,” he wrote.
Also, as an administrator, one needs to know the unsung virtues of compromise and the art of keeping most members of his group happy. Sports administrators need to work in tandem with the local and Central governments, municipal authorities and police forces. It’s a difficult