Australia’s tour of Pakistan ‘a big moment for global cricket’
Todd Greenberg and CA CEO Nick Hockley have joined the early part of the tour which will also allow to see how the team operates
Australia Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg believes Australia’s first tour of Pakistan in 24 years is a major moment for the world game and its significance underpinned his desire to travel with the team alongside Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley.
“It’s a big moment for Australian cricket and I think it’s a big moment for global cricket that an Australian team will tour Pakistan,” Greenberg told ESPNcricinfo before departing. “I think going to Pakistan together is great. It’s something we talked about several months ago when there was, as you can appreciate, a fair bit of anxiety amongst the players about this tour.
“We’ve done a huge amount of work together in planning for this tour and a lot of communication with the players and their families.
“One of the conversations I had very early on with a number of the players was, we’re not going to make a recommendation and support that you tour unless we genuinely think that it’s safe to do so. And I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wasn’t prepared to do myself, which is effectively why Nick and I are on the tour to start with. We think it’s that important. So we’ll probably be sick of each other by the end of the tour, but [I’m] certainly looking forward to it.”
The trip will also provide an opportunity for both Greenberg and Hockley to observe the inner workings of the Australian men’s squad on their first tour following the departure of coach Justin Langer.
The players had been publicly scrutinised for their role in the exit of the former coach. Langer resigned having been offered a six-month contract extension by the CA board, with player feedback part of the reason the board did not offer a longer deal.
Greenberg said this trip was a good chance for him and Hockley to see the team environment from the inside and hear from players directly on a whole range of topics.
“I think it is a really unique opportunity to be inside a team environment with Nick and I in there together and have lots of good conversations about, not just challenges, but opportunities for cricket,” Greenberg said. “There are lots of things going on, whether it’s the appointment of coaches, or it’s re-doing how BBL operates, the advent of NFT’s coming into play.
“There’s a number of opportunities for cricket and I’ve said this consistently, that if cricket is going to realise its full potential, the players have a huge role in that and the players also need to understand that they’ve got to lean in. If we’re in a revenue share arrangement, then it’s where both parties have real alignment on where they’re trying to head, you can get some great outcomes.
“And to do that, you have to have really good communication. You’ve got to be able to talk regularly about these things. So I get a sense we’ll be talking about all of that and more and I think that’s really healthy.”
Greenberg stressed his previously held position that the players deserve to have a large voice in the game as partners with CA and does not believe they wield too much power despite criticism to the contrary by former players following the Langer resignation.
“It wasn’t surprising that the former players were so passionate about supporting Justin because they played in the same era, a lot of those guys,” Greenberg said. “In fact, that’s probably one of the strengths of cricket and the playing groups is that passion and that support for each other. I don’t subscribe to the whole player power or influence. I think that’s well overstated publicly. And I’ve said that a few times.
“The players should have a voice. They do have a voice. They’ve got views and when you’re inside that environment, they should be able to give their views and they did. But ultimately, these decisions are much bigger than just a set of player feedback and that’s what I was at pains to point out. I think that was well understood by the end.”
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo