Cricket Australia Rubbishes Nine Claim That It Will Have Say In Player Selection
Network execs claim that "they will have an input in Australian cricket team selection policies and scheduling" under the company's new A$450M ($429M) broadcast deal, according to Michael Bodey of THE AUSTRALIAN. Nine Managing Dir Jeffrey Browne said the rotation policy that rested Australian team members from certain matches was a "real worry" in Nine's otherwise strong and longstanding relationship with Cricket Australia. He said, "I understand why sports want to do that but people at home want to see the best players playing and we urge Cricket Australia to pick the best players every time. Last year that balance was skewed too much in favour of resting some players, so from now on there will be a lot more discussion between CA and the broadcaster about that" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/20). ESPN's Daniel Brettig reported the issue of senior Australian players "being rested and rotated during the limited overs portion of the summer was a particular sore point with Nine last season." ESPNcricinfo reported in January that the CA team Performance Manager Pat Howard had two meetings with Nine Sport Dir Steve Crawley and members of the commentary team during the Sydney Test "to explain why Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade were to be rested and Michael Hussey dropped." Browne was clearly of the view that such discussions "would become more consultative than merely explanatory in the future," but Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland was adamant that the national selectors would not be unduly influenced by the commercial demands of broadcasters (ESPN, 6/19).
GIVING A RESPONSE: In Sydney, Chris Barrett reported Sutherland responded on Wednesday, "countering a suggestion Nine would have any say in the make-up of national teams." He said, "Cricket has a long-standing and successful relationship with the Nine Network but team selections and scheduling are matters for Cricket Australia. The national selection panel selects the Australian teams. With the volume of international cricket being played, it will continue to be necessary for us to manage player workloads appropriately. We'll continue to consult with our broadcasters on scheduling issues" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/20).