Former Test captain Mark Taylor has downplayed his chances of leading Cricket Australia, with interim chairman Earl Eddings favourite to take over after the organisation was rocked by a ball-tampering scandal.
Taylor was tipped for the hotseat after former chairman David Peever quit Thursday under intense pressure following a scathing review which partly blamed CA for the damaging ‘sandpaper-gate’ episode.
The respected ‘Tubby’ Taylor, a current board member, was endorsed by former CA chief executive Malcolm Speed. But he cited a conflict of interest in seemingly ruling himself out.
“Given my media role, I don’t believe being chairman would be appropriate,” he was quoted as saying by Channel Nine, having recently signed a new contract with the broadcaster which has the rights to the World Cup and Ashes series in 2019.
Taylor’s long-time former teammate Ian Healy said he would be “a very good chairman”, but the time wasn’t right.
“I just think he might be a victim, Tubby, in that anyone who presided over that culture when the Longstaff review was handed down, how can we make them chairman?” Healy said.
Another ex-Test player and current board member, Michael Kasprowicz, could get the nod if CA heeds the call from Speed for a “dyed-in-the-wool cricket” leader to assume the role.
But Australian media suggested Peever’s deputy Eddings, who has a corporate background as managing director of a risk-management company, was the frontrunner.
Last domino to fall
Others in the hunt include respected sporting administrator John Harnden, a former chief executive of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the South Australian Cricket Association.
Another candidate is Jacquie Hey, a former boss of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand who made history in 2012 when she became the first woman appointed to CA’s board.
In assuming the interim role on Thursday, Eddings admitted “we have a way to go to earn back the trust of the cricket community”.
Former mining executive Peever, who was only voted in for a new three-year term last week, resigned after a week of mounting pressure.
It emerged that the CA-commissioned report, which found an “arrogant” and “controlling” culture within the organisation contributed to players cheating in the pursuit of victory, was not given to state associations before he was re-elected.
Peever compounded his problems with a widely criticised interview this week in which he downplayed the ball-tampering affair, which caused widespread public anger, as a “hiccup”.
He was the last domino to fall in the wake of the scandal in March, when players were caught using sandpaper to alter the ball at a Test match in Cape Town.
Then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were banned for 12 months, and batsman Cameron Bancroft for nine months over their roles in the incident.
Coach Darren Lehmann quit soon after and then-chief executive James Sutherland stepped down last month. Team performance boss Pat Howard has indicated he will leave after next year’s Ashes series.