Don't overhaul CA board: Ex-CEO Speed

Rob Forsaith

Cricket Australia faces an enormous challenge trying to win back "alienated" staff, players and state associations but now is the wrong time to agitate for board changes, according to former boss Malcolm Speed.

CA's board removed Kevin Roberts and installed Nick Hockley as interim chief executive on Tuesday, having also ticked off on a restructure as it seeks to reduce costs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governing body has scant time to resolve stalemates and repair strained relationships with several state associations and the players' union.

Some insiders feel the push for change at CA will not stop with the exit of Roberts, questioning the board's role in what they view as a confected crisis.

CA chairman Earl Eddings, who took on his position in 2018 after David Peever was effectively given his marching orders by NSW equivalent John Knox, has worked overtime in recent months trying to keep stakeholders united.

Eddings defended himself on Tuesday, suggesting he was the right man for the top job.

Speed, who previously headed CA and the International Cricket Council, would be "surprised and disappointed" if "there was a move on the board".

Speed also dismissed murmurings that a restructure of CA's board was required, pointing to the fact that the system was recommended by governance experts David Crawford and Colin Carter in 2011.

"They've ended up with an independent board of directors," Speed told radio station SEN.

"There's some very highly-credentialed directors.

"It's a very good structure.

"The states think they've been alienated a bit from the process and perhaps they want to get their nominees from within the state structure back onto the board.

"That'd be a backwards step.

"I'd be disappointed if that were to happen.

"They have to tough it out and get through this difficult stage."

Speed argued Roberts lost "the respect and trust" of players during the 2017 pay dispute.

"When he came into the job he had time to work on that. That didn't go very well," he said.

"Then he stumbled, he didn't deliver the message very well.

"Clearly there's a financial issue with CA, but even now it's not quite clear what the financial issue is ... they went early and hard with their cuts and didn't explain it very well."

Speed likened Hockley's challenge to that of an off-spinner asked to start their spell against a well-set Virat Kohli.

"We're in about round six of a 15-rounder with COVID," he said.

"There will be no honeymoon period... lots of difficult issues."