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Cricket Australia sets first with election of new chairman

Retired managing director of the Australian division of mining giant Rio Tinto, David Peever, has been elected as the new chairman of Cricket Australia (CA).

The 58-year-old, a director of the national governing body since 2012, will replace the retiring Wally Edwards. Peever becomes the first chairman in CA’s history to be elected to the position independent of state interests.

He takes over the position following Edwards’s four-year term during which the dynamics of Australian cricket altered significantly, including changes to the game’s governance and national financial model.

Peever is a non-executive director of the Melbourne Business School, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and the Department of Defence Gender Equality Advisory Board. He is also a director of the Australian Foundation Investment Company.

Peever said: “This is a key time for Australian cricket. A lot of significant change has occurred for the better on and off the field. But in an ever changing world, I believe we have to work harder than ever before to maintain cricket’s privileged place as the Australia’s traditional summer pastime.

“For me, top of that list is encouraging more people to play the game. That means engaging young people, females and Australians of all of our nation’s diverse cultural backgrounds. I am keen that South Asian and other overseas-born fans who packed Australia’s grounds during the recent World Cup are able to maintain their passion for cricket as part of their adopted Australian lifestyles.”

In other news, CA chief executive James Sutherland has again defended the use of the controversial pink ball in the face of players’ criticism and is adamant it will prove a success ahead of the sport’s landmark day-night Test match next month.

Australia and New Zealand will face off in the day-night encounter at the Adelaide Oval from November 27 to December 1, with the game concluding a three-match series for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. The match will be the first in cricket’s longest form to take place partially under floodlights and has been designed as a means to reinvigorate a format that has come under pressure from the competing attractions of one-day internationals and Twenty20 games.

Pink balls supplied by equipment manufacturer Kookaburra will replace the traditional red balls, but players from both teams have expressed their misgivings over how they will impact play, both for those on the pitch and spectators in the stands.

The day-night Test concept has been a pet project of Sutherland’s. He said that while he is comfortable with the players' criticism, they should get behind the concept. “The players are going into a bit of the unknown and these guys are elite athletes who are always challenged in a highly competitive environment,” Sutherland said, according to the Reuters news agency.

“So you can understand form that perspective there's a bit of trepidation. Our players just need to focus on what's ahead and what's going to be a very interesting series. We're in high-performance preparation mode now, the trials are gone, they happened a long time ago.”

For a full analysis of the historic day-night Test, check out the November edition of SportBusiness International magazine.