The fruits of your labour – Alternatively, Let’s laugh at those geniuses at Cricket Victoria.
Now, some of you may not remember, but the genesis of this story goes back to June of 2019, when Cricket Victoria made the big brain decision to bone the entire independent boards of both the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades and merge them into the board of Cricket Victoria, in some kind of cost cutting move, and to gain more oversight of both clubs.
That decision was made barely three months after the teams had played in one of the more memorable Big Bash Finals ever seen, at a time when the teams had the biggest support bases in the Big Bash, and in the same season in which the Victorian men’s team also won the JLT One Day Cup and the Sheffield Shield, in some kind of historic domestic clean sweep.
As Dan Brettig describes it a year later:
The two clubs had their boards (led by Eddie McGuire and Jason Dunstall) dissolved and their chief executives – Clint Cooper and Stuart Coventry respectively – made redundant ahead of the previous season.
Almost A$1 million was spent on management exit packages as per CV’s annual report.
In their place, Nick Cummins, the former Cricket Tasmania chief executive, was initially assigned to a BBL head of commercial role that oversaw both clubs. Despite Cummins’ best efforts, it was an inherent conflict that is understood to have caused more than a few furrowed brows over the course of a season in which the Stars reached the BBL grand final once again but the Renegades’ men’s and women’s team results dropped off alarmingly.By Daniel Brettig, Espncricinfo.com, June 2 2020
Yeah, Eddie McGuire and Jason Dusntall – What would they know about running successful sporting clubs, they’re just two footy meatheads who don’t know anything about cricket.
Still, I wouldn’t say the Renegades women dropped off alarmingly in 2019-20, given they went from 4th and losing a Semi Final in a super over in 2018-19, to 4th and losing a Semi Final to the Heat – It was only this year that they ran into a brick wall results wise and finished second-last after Lachlan Stevens was reshuffled to the head coaching role.
Anyway, by taking back the keys and getting rid of two boards who knew what the hell they were doing, CV ultimately wrecked the independence and ‘uniqueness’ of their biggest perfectly functioning assets, and the loss of off-field stability apparently showed on the field for the Renegades in 2019-20, who went from Champions to Wooden Spooners in the span of 12 months after Michael Klinger (In his first coaching role) replaced the outgoing Andrew McDonald as head coach, despite retaining most of the title-winning squad.
That appointment was a borderline rush job – McDonald left the ‘Gades to join the national team as Justin Langer’s assistant on October 30, and Klinger, who was signed as the Stars’ batting coach fresh off retiring, was appointed to coach the ‘Gades just 3 weeks before the season started, over a field of 15 potential options – England’s World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss was one of them, as was Dean Jones, who burned his bridges with CV, as only Deano could.
Conversely, before the CV board changes took place, David Hussey, who was on the CV board as a director and had limited coaching experience, was hired to replaced Stephen Fleming as Stars coach, and unlike their Red brothers across town, the Green Machine started the year like a house on fire (They were 10-1 after 11 games) and finished top of the ladder for BBL 09, but they lost their final 3 games and momentum before the Finals, in which they were beaten silly twice by the Sydney Sixers (They got bowled out for 99 chasing 142 in The Qualifier) and finished runner-up again.
In addition, established major sponsors Mars split with the Renegades after the 2019-20 season, and Optus concluded their partnership with the Stars in March of 2020, which wound up being huge after the sponsorship market became suffocatingly tight not even a month later.
So, in another effort to crush the last vestiges of competitiveness from both clubs, CV restructured again in June 2020 with the pandemic financial crunch in full bloom, and made Cummins the Stars’ general manager in addition to his BBL commercial activities position, and CV decided to add to the hodgepodge and make David Lever the Renegades GM, creating a rather stupid conflict of interest where Lever was reporting directly to Cummins, the GM of their biggest rival:
Now, the clubs have been restructured once again in line with a raft of staffing cuts at CV, this time placing Cummins in charge of the Stars and the state association’s head of commercial, David Lever, in nominal command of the Renegades.
However, Lever will still report to Cummins, who retains overall control of BBL commercial activities. Commercial returns are another area of considerable concern for CV, as the departures of Cooper and Coventry in particular hastened the exits of the Stars’ major sponsor Optus, hot on the heels of the Renegades’ major sponsor Mars.Also from Brettig’s article
Now, as of Tuesday night, let’s see how all those moves by CV, combined with some questionable list management, are translating in terms of results on the field for the men’s Big Bash teams, and you can sum it up in two words.
Despite the BBL 10 finals being so tight:
- The Stars and Renegades were the only teams to have sub-50% winning records.
- The Renegades have now won back to back wooden spoons, as Aaron Finch endured a season from the Eighth Circle of Hell, they got bowled out for under 100 three times , and they’ve now gone a combined 7-21 since their title win.
- As is tradition, the Stars routinely failed in close games, despite boasting the likes of Andre ‘The Spiceman’ Fletcher, Australian white ball regulars like Maxwell, Stoinis and Zampa, and various Western Australian discards.
But, the big one – No Melbourne teams will feature in the Big Bash finals for the first time in the competition’s 10-season history.
So by trying to save money and take a more direct involvement in both clubs, over a group of people who had made them successes from thin air, Cricket Victoria ended up turning both their golden gooses into something resembling Colonel Sanders’ finest.
And that’s a lesson that I like to call ‘The fruits of your labour.’
Oddly enough, when CV reshuffled the state coaching roles in the June 2020 restructure, one change has paid dividends.
Stars list manager Trent Woodhill replaced David Hemp as coach of the Stars’ WBBL team, combined both roles into one, and combined with Meg Lanning’s return, the Stars women finished top and made the WBBL Final for the first time after 5 years of nothing.
Of course, they proved that Stars finals failures aren’t restricted to the men, as the Thunder held them to 9-86 and thumped them inside 14 overs.
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