With Australian cricket imploding, and Cricket Australia toxic, the last thing the grand old game needs is the resignation of Mark Taylor.
The 54-year-old former Australian captain was one of the most level-headed cricketers we’ve seen, and Cricket Australia needs Taylor pulling the pin like a hole in the head.
Taylor was my choice to take over the chairmanship of the board once David Peever fell on his sword, and I was backed two days later by two excellent administrators of the past in Malcolm Speed and Bob Merriman.
“I said months ago my next step as a director was to step up, or step out.
‘I don’t think I can give any more, I’ve lost my energy”.
Simply, Taylor prefers to keep his media contracts with Channel Nine intact, and his television commercials, to avoid a conflict of interest.
But he’s given yeoman service as the longest-standing director after 13 years, three more than the current interim chairman Earl Eddings, who most fans have never heard of.
In fact, former quick Michael Kasprowicz is the only other board member readily recognised among the now seven.
Taylor’s resignation has put the rest of the board on report. He’s forgotten more about cricket, and especially international cricket, than the rest will ever know.
So how can any of the current board look cricket in the eye, and stay put, after being labelled arrogant, controlling, and bullies by the independent review?
Who are the alternatives?
Taylor has come up with Alex Blackwell, Belinda Clark, and Simon Katich – all very very capable.
Blackwell (35) is the first woman to play 200 internationals for Australia, and the first woman to be appointed a director of Cricket NSW.
Former captain Clark (48), brilliant in her long career with the bat, runs the high performance academy for the cricketers of the future in Brisbane, and as Taylor pointed out she’s doing a tremendous job.
And Katich (43) played 101 internationals of Tests and ODIs, a left-handed opener with ten Test tons, and an average of 45.03.
But they could all be forgiven if they thought being a board member was a poisoned chalice.
In fact Ian Chappell, another Australian captain who I’ve had the privilege to know well, reckons finding suitable board members will be very difficult.
“Mark Taylor is irreplaceable,” was how Chappell summed up the shock resignation.
Richie Benaud, Chappell and Taylor are the three best captains Australia has had during my time covering cricket. They always led from the front.
With Richie sadly no longer with us, it’s left to Chappell and Taylor to get Australia through this drought on and off the field.
And they’ll be far more effective through the media than they could ever be as administrators, as Mark Taylor has just found out.