Former ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed has said that Kevin Roberts had to resign as Cricket Australia (CA) CEO after losing trust and respect of the players. On Tuesday, CA announced that Roberts has resigned from the post after nearly 18 months in charge and been replaced by Nick Hockley as interim CEO. Also Read - UK Eases Two-week Quarantine Restrictions For Travellers From These Destinations
His resignation comes after three tumultuous months during which CA stood down 80 per cent of their staff on 20 per cent pay apart from asking state associations to be prepared for lesser grants and negotiating a new pay deal with the players in wake of the financial crisis triggered by coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - 'Why do You Want COVID-19 Patient Names,' Bombay HC Dismisses Plea, Asks Maharashtra Govt to Respond in 2 Weeks
“It seems to me he lost the respect and trust of the players. As an old mentor once said to me, “respect and trust are like virginity; once you’ve lost them they’re mighty hard to get back”,” Speed said on SEN radio. “I think that’s what happened to Kevin. He lost trust and respect. When he came into the job he had time to work on that. That didn’t go very well. Then he stumbled, he didn’t deliver the message very well.” Also Read - Coronavirus Cases Inch Closer to 8 Lakh, But Health Ministry 'Not Concerned' About it; Here's Why
Roberts was also criticised for his role in the pay dispute with players in 2017.
Hockley, who is also the chief of the T20 world cup local organising committee, faces a challenging task at hand that includes regaining the trusts of different stakeholders and help CA navigate the financial turmoil.
Speed compared Hockley’s challenge to a rookie spinner squaring up against Virat Kohli.
“There’s no tougher time. This is a bit like introducing a new off-spinner and asking him to bowl his first over to Virat Kohli,” Speed said. “I don’t know Nick Hockley, I think he’s been around cricket for a while. He’s going to face many challenges here. We’re in about round six of a 15-rounder with COVID – I think that’s still the case.”
Former Australia captain Allan Border had said that Roberts alone shouldn’t bear the burden of financial woes and CA board must take a collective responsibility. Speed agrees with his views.
“A chief executive doesn’t just pop up and say ‘I’ve put 80 per cent of the staff on 20 per cent of their salary’, that has to go through the board,” Speed said.
“The whole process, the state cuts, player payments would’ve gone through the board. Kevin then becomes the messenger, he didn’t handle that side of it very well. Certainly, the board would be right across those decisions,” he added.