Radio New Zealand’s Insight programme from Sunday was very, well, insightful, when assessing the problems currently buffeting cricket in New Zealand. Of particular interest was the fact that they actually got outside the NZC bubble, and talked to fans and club players about the state of the game. The picture it painted was bleak, with dramatically declining numbers of club players, a loss of trust in the administration of the game and a loss of support for the team.
Many of the pundits who have been weighing in on the problems in New Zealand cricket seem to be focused on narrow issues. Former players were quoted about the need for greater representation of themselves on the board of NZC, coached in terms of a lack of cricketing expertise in an organisation dominated by businessmen. That to me seems relatively self serving, of course a group of former players is going to say they should have a bigger say. Who, however, is actually arguing for the interest of supporters? Nobody was arguing that the interests of the game would best be served by measures such as allowing children to get into games for free.
It is unfair to criticise former players for self serving comments though when the CEO of NZC, David White argued that the organisation was in good shape for two reasons. Firstly, he had lots of experience as a CEO, so he must know what he’s doing. Secondly, the business operations of NZC had been moved to Auckland, and that was going swimmingly. NZC is clearly an organisation in disarray. John Buchanan has strongly implied that things there is a lack of accountability throughout the organisation and Shane Bond has basically called statements by Mike Hesson and David White false. These are not things that can be swept under the carpet as challenges to be overcome.
So kudos to Radio New Zealand for producing a thought provoking, clear minded and accurate piece. They explored the continuing debacle presided over by NZC in depth and detail, and covered a range of views from a range of different groups. If there was more of this type of journalism, perhaps NZC would have been forced to show more ‘accountability’ before these problems started becoming evident.