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Cricket needs to reflect the best of our society, not the worst

Dec 11, 2010

Cricket Australia CEO James SutherlandCricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has called on cricket to ensure it reflects the best of our society, not the worst.

In proposing the toast to cricket  at the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) Members' Dinner last night, Sutherland said cricket faced threats, such as corruption or spot fixing.

View the full transcript of James Sutherland's speech

“There is much to celebrate in cricket’s great history and it’s incumbent on all of us involved in cricket looking ahead to be vigilant that cricket reflects the best of our societies, not the worst,” he said.

He said academic, commentator and cricket passionate Waleed Aly had recently told CA’s board that Australian cricket needs to ensure all Australians of all nationalities, cultures and backgrounds can see themselves reflected in the game.

“And he is right – if our fellow countrymen can’t see that reflection, cricket can’t lay a claim to being a sport for all Australians.

“And if we don’t, cricket will lose its treasured place in the national imagination – and the magnificent history, tradition and culture of Australian cricket will have no meaning tour grandchildren and their children.

Cricket’s ability to combine diverse people in their common love of the sport was a strength.

Sutherland noted it is 50 years since the fabulous Tied Test series between the West Indies and Australia.

It was held that the huge popularity of the West Indies team – 200,000 people lined Melbourne’s streets to welcome them – helped break down the detested White Australia policy of that time, he said.

Mr Sutherland said his toast was to all cricket formats from backyard through Twenty20 and one-day cricket to his personal favourite, Test cricket, because cricket meant different things to different fans and all formats were important keeping the game alive.