Apr 082013

John Morrison was proud to lend his voice to the John Parker-led group, which approached New Zealand Cricket expressing concerns about how the game is run.

He still is, although the former New Zealand batsman and Wellington player has misgivings about what was achieved by making the group’s feelings public.

Many people were critical of the timing of the document’s release and condemned the fact that so much of the 77-point bulletin concentrated on settling scores on Ross Taylor’s behalf.

Morrison maintains his interest is in NZC’s governance and, as a Wellington city councillor, believes he knows a thing or two about it.

He was appalled by the way Taylor was dismissed as Black Caps captain. But he’s moved on from that and has been delighted by the cricket the team have played under new skipper Brendon McCullum. But he remains slightly pessimistic about cricket’s future in this country and disappointed that NZC won’t discuss potential ways forward with people who have done a lot for the game.

”A letter went to them [NZC] which was very, very open, without malice, without scheming, without intent and got no reply,” Morrison said.

”So instead of welcoming potential involvement from proven good people, and I don’t necessarily put myself in that bracket, New Zealand Cricket reacted incredibly defensively and immediately went into siege mentality.

”Now able people simply don’t do that, they embrace opportunity. They don’t fight as if it’s a war.”

Morrison says no-one can argue that cricket in New Zealand has declined in popularity and performance in recent years. Pretending otherwise, as he and the rest of Parker’s group believe NZC have, just does everyone a disservice, he says.

”You look at softball or tennis or even athletics; they’ve just about faded off the scene. And then you’ve got the winter sports, like the A-League being played over the summer, the Breakers played over the summer, rugby starting in February; cricket’s got huge challenges.

”I’m not interested in taking things over, I’m not interested in a whole bunch of old cricketers saying ‘haha we’ve beaten you’. This isn’t a personal contest.

”The game needs assistance and it needs all the resources it can and the best resource is people. Unfortunately this has turned the wrong way and I’m sure that’s not the intention of the vast majority of bods involved.

”They’re not champing at the bit to throw New Zealand Cricket out and David White out. But the defensive approach [from NZC] and the siege stuff is quite sad and quite extraordinary.”

He still believes cricket people, like himself, can contribute to the game without being on NZC’s board, although any interested parties are about to get their chance. NZC’s draft constitutional changes were released yesterday.

Major Associations no longer have to put forward nominees, with people now able to nominate themselves. There will be no appointees, with every member to be elected by a five-strong panel. That will comprise a convenor, three MA chairmen and someone nominated by Sport New Zealand.

Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton welcomed the constitutional change, which has been more than a year in the making and the first undertaken by NZC since 1995.

The CW board are already discussing appropriate candidates for NZC’s new board and Clinton rejected the suggestion that he and CW were being pressured by Morrison to potentially endorse members of the Parker group.

Former Canterbury and New Zealand spinner Mark Priest was mentioned in connection with Parker’s posse, but it’s understood he has had no involvement and has approached Canterbury Cricket in a bid to basically clear his name.

– © Fairfax NZ News

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