23 Jul

Mike Baird, who was NSW Premier from 2014 to 2017, has emerged as a potential future chairman of Cricket Australia (CA) as the game's powerbrokers seek to identify a successor to Victoria's Earl Eddings, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The resignation of former Test fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz from the nine-member CA board on Wednesday (22 July) was the latest development in a winter of discontent for CA in which Kevin Roberts has lost his job as chief executive and the NSW and Queensland state associations have become disenfranchised and begun to agitate for change to the sport's leadership.

The departure of Kasprowicz, citing frustration at the functioning of the national board, leaves at least two seats needing to be filled at CA's annual general meeting in October because of the pending exit of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chair Jacquie Hey, with another two board members' terms expiring.

Eddings, who has come under pressure for the board's response to the coronavirus pandemic, has another year to run on his term as chairman, having taken on the role after the resignation of David Peever in November 2018. Significantly, his own state did not endorse him as its nominee last year, leading him to occupy one of the three independent spots on the board, and he will be wary of out-staying his welcome as Peever ultimately did.

With the board vacancies and a desire for a successor to Eddings to be determined, Baird's name has been mentioned in cricket's corridors of power as a possible future chairman.

The 52-year-old Baird joined the board of Cricket NSW last year and has a new job leading not-for-profit aged care provider HammondCare after quitting the banking industry in March.

With his leadership experience and a background in politics and the corporate world, Baird would be as well placed as anyone in cricket officialdom to take on the post, which has a very important international element as relationships with boards such as India are key to Australian cricket's health.

It is unclear whether there will be a push, meanwhile, for another former Australian player to replace Kasprowicz. The presence of an ex-Test player on the board has been a convention for CA and former captain Mark Taylor was also a director until November 2018. However, CA already has former international Mel Jones on the board after she joined last year.

John Stephenson


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