New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan gives an update about the ICC Vice Presidency, the Jesse Ryder, Cricket in the USA and more.
I head away this weekend to ICC’s headquarters in Dubai for a meeting of the ICC Chief Executives Committee after witnessing a fantastic start to the tour by Australia. After the comprehensive successes against Bangladesh, the BLACKCAPS entered the series against the Aussies with high expectations. However we were brought back to earth after being comprehensively outplayed in the first T20 in Wellington.
Sunday’s T20 win over Australia in Christchurch has to rank as one of the most entertaining games of international cricket ever played in New Zealand., with over 430 runs scored in 40 overs. And what an innings by Brendon McCullum! The huge crowd got right behind our players with deafening support. Daniel Vettori said it was the best crowd backing he could ever remember in New Zealand. As a spectator at the game, the final over bowled by Tim Southee in “regulation time” will be something I’ll remember for a very long time.
To follow this up with a hard-fought ODI win in Napier was terrific. Outstanding performances from Scott Styris and first-time captain Ross Taylor steered the BLACKCAPS to a memorable victory. The win was all the more remarkable given that we lost Daniel Vettori to injury on the morning of the game, and Jacob Oram to a knee injury halfway through the first inning. Hopefully Jacob will make a speedy recovery and be in the frame for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies in April/May.
Our White Ferns are also in great form at present in their series against Australia despite the Aussie Southern Stars clawing their way back into the Rose Bowl with a last ball win at Queenstown. The White Ferns, now with Action Indoor Sport on board as their new sponsor, won back to back T20 games (as curtain-raisers to the Men’s games) and lead the five-game series 2-1. The teams play the remaining two ODI games at Invercargill this weekend with the White Ferns only needing one victory to win the Rose Bowl for the first time in 11 years.
The wins over Bangladesh and the victories against Australia have provided an excellent platform for new coach Mark Greatbatch. Mark has excellent man management and communication skills – this has something we have seen through his work on the national selection panel over the past year. Mark also provides world-class batting coaching to the team, which is a key focus area for the BLACKCAPS.
The HRV Cup has seen record crowds and public following. It was a runaway success and really showed the potential we have to grow this form of the game. With games from the Mount to Invercargill the HRV Cup toured around the popular summer spots in the country and all the BLACKCAPS turning out made it a great spectacle. In the final, the Central Stags comfortably beat the Auckland Aces at Pukekura Park to secure themselves a spot in the international Champions League tournament in October. New Zealand Cricket is looking at way to explore continued success of this competition.
ICC U19 Cricket World Cup
The 8th ICC U19 World Cup tournament was a great event, with Australia beating Pakistan by 25 runs in the final at Lincoln. It was a real privilege for NZC to successfully host the 16-team event. Popularity and interest in cricket on the world scene has never been at such a high level and millions worldwide watched the best young cricketers on the planet, with ICC broadcast partner ESPN Star Sports (ESS) carrying live broadcast of the 10 matches played at Lincoln’s Bert Sutcliffe Oval. New Zealand Cricket’s standing on the world stage was greatly enhanced through the successful staging of this important event.
I get asked constantly when we might see Jesse back playing on the top stage and we all hope this is sooner rather than later. Currently Jesse is ahead of schedule after undergoing surgery last month. Jesse will not play in Indian Premier League but we hope he will be available to play for the BLACKCAPS in the ICC World T20.
Former Australia Prime Minister John Howard has been jointly nominated by New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Australia for the position of ICC President from 2012-2104. After a lengthy and comprehensive selection process involving our two boards we agreed to submit Mr Howard's nomination to the ICC. Although he does not great experience in the ICC, John Howard has a real passion for cricket and great political and diplomatic skills which will assist him well in this role. The nomination goes to the ICC's Executive Board meeting for approval in April and then proposed to the ICC’s Annual Conference in June for acceptance.
USA – strategic partnership
We are pushing ahead with plans for a T20 series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka to be held in Florida in May. If successful, it would be the first time two full ICC members will have met in an official match on US soil and it follows the agreement of a strategic partnership between NZC and the USA Cricket Association. We hope to announce dates and details of the series in the coming weeks. The opportunities that exist for cricket to develop in the United States are enormous, and if the game can take hold in the USA then the world of cricket will be better off.
This has been a difficult year financially for NZC. We have been hit with financial pressure outside of our control with the appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar. New Zealand Cricket earns a great proportion of our revenue in US dollars and so fluctuations in foreign exchange hit us hard. We are struggling to meet our budget this year but are putting in place well thought through cost reduction initiatives in an attempt to improve our position.
We are hoping to make a decision at the NZC Board meeting next week regarding our proposed tour to Zimbabwe in June. This tour has already been postponed as it was originally scheduled to take place in 2009. Prime Minister John Key recently voiced his concerns over the political unrest and deteriorating financial, health and social problems in Zimbabwe.