Aussie cricket rocked by shock resignation amid Ashes build-up

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, pictured with coach Justin Langer, has resigned on the eve of the annual general meeting. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, pictured with coach Justin Langer, has resigned on the eve of the annual general meeting. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings has resigned from his position just 24 hours out from the governing body's annual general meeting.

Eddings was named chair of CA in 2018, following the disastrous ball tampering saga in South Africa, charged with repairing the image of Australian cricket.

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He had been unanimously backed by the board to be re-elected for another term little over a month ago, despite opposition from Cricket NSW and Queensland Cricket.

However the ongoing pressure from those two bodies ultimately forced Eddings' hand, with CA aiming to install a long-term chair following a "rigorous process involving input from the state and territory members".

CA has installed Richard Freudenstein as interim chair, with the former Foxtel chief executive to oversee Thursday's AGM.

Eddings, who oversee the removal of Kevin Roberts as chief executive amid last year's upheaval and cost cutting, has accepted it is time to go after 13 years on CA's board and will not stand for re-election as a director.

"It is my sincere hope that following my resignation the state and territory associations can unite and work together in the best interests of cricket, allowing the focus to return to the sport ahead of the 2021-22 season," Eddings said in a statement.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to be able to serve the sport I love.

"In that time, and particularly during my time as Chair, we have navigated some of the sport's greatest challenges.

"Including rebuilding the trust and reputation of Australian cricket after the Newlands incident and, more recently, the enormous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and international cricket."

Eddings replaced David Peever as CA chairman in 2018, when his predecessor also resigned after a phone call from Cricket NSW equivalent John Knox.

Desperate to play Ashes Test in Perth: CA

Questions about the upcoming Ashes schedule remain unresolved, especially amid a backdrop of England captain Joe Root and teammates flagging concerns about restrictions being ramped up during the five-Test series.

The fact that Australia and England are quarantining in south-east Queensland after the Twenty20 World Cup underlines CA's commitment to begin the series in Brisbane on December 8.

Ensuing travel to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney should be relatively straightforward but Western Australia's border rules remain a hurdle that CA is still trying to clear.

The SCG, MCG and Manuka Oval loom as obvious back-up options, should CA be unable to find a solution that allows Optus Stadium to host the series finale on January 14-18.

CA boss Nick Hockley said on Monday it was "premature" to speculate about contingency plans.

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley says negotiations are ongoing to get an Ashes Test in Perth. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley says negotiations are ongoing to get an Ashes Test in Perth. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

"It's still three months away," Hockley said.

"Our first priority is doing absolutely everything we can to get across to Perth... we'd desperately like to play the fifth Test in Perth and it's absolutely our intention to do so.

"We're working through the detail of what that might look like, as we speak.

"We'll be prioritising that over the weeks ahead, we'll be doing everything we can to make that happen."

Hockley noted he was buoyed by several factors, adding he couldn't speak more "highly for the support we're getting (from state governments) around the country".

However, finding common ground between Root's list of demands and those of WA Premier Mark McGowan will likely be incredibly difficult given Sydney is hosting the fourth Test.

"They'll have to comply with the rules that are put in place," McGowan said, when asked about talks with CA.

"I'll continue to talk to the chief health officer about that but the rules are there for a reason, they keep us safe.

"NSW is riddled with COVID... we have to have pretty strong rules in place to protect our state and that will continue."

The Australia and England squads will have quarantine exemptions to train after arriving in Queensland, while trips to the beach, golf course and restaurants will be available after the initial 14-day period.

With AAP

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