Congratulations to Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and the rest of their team for an outstanding performance in the just completed Test series against India. Whilst from four Tests we managed a 2-0 outcome, the Australians were dominant in the two drawn Tests as well and outplayed their opposition in a pretty comprehensive performance. It was an outstanding result in the difficult circumstances which have re-framed the summer and was testament to the strength and resolve of the team, its coach and all involved. There were some poignant moments, of course, particularly in Adelaide and Sydney, but throughout, the performance was a fitting tribute to the memory of Phillip Hughes. Particular congratulations to Man of the Series, Steve Smith, who picked up the reins from our injured skipper and led from the front with a record making series with the bat. An amazing performance.
The annual member functions have now been held in most states and I hear that they have been reasonably well-attended and enjoyed greatly. At the Sydney Test last week, our numbers were a little disappointing - understandable to some extent given the reasonably late re-scheduling of dates, etc. These functions are a really important opportunity for members to get together and talk about all manner of things, both directly related to cricket and otherwise. Irrespective of whether you've played one game for your state or one hundred for your country, you belong in that room and cricket has a responsibility to acknowledge your place and your contribution in this relatively small way. We've had some interesting discussions with CA regarding the costs of the various functions and it's fair to say that we're not yet on the same page in terms of making sure that the functions are well attended, affordable and seen as a well-earned reward for those who've built the game to what it is today. We will continue to discuss the status and financial basis of these events with CA, who now control the venues at all international matches around the country.
The summer rolls on, of course, and we're close to the start of the World Cup. I'm sure I speak for all members in wishing the squad all the best in their lead-up preparation and for the competition itself. A home win in the most prestigious One Day tournament, the only real chance a player and a team has to boast of being the best in the cricket world at that time, in front of a massive Melbourne crowd, would be a great way to end a difficult summer.
Our Past Player Game and Personal Development Program continues to go from strength to strength. In addition to the Personal Health and Wellbeing Grants (which will see 667 past player members each receive $350), we have the Health Fair Days coming up soon in each State. At game development level, six of our past players were partnered with a team each at the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Bendigo recently. They spent several days mentoring the teams and players, which was very well received and another great example of the value of former players' knowledge and experience. A similar arrangement will take place at the Imparja Cup in Alice Springs next month.
Finally, a quick comment from me on the recent problems experienced by West Indies cricket. Clearly, it's in no-one's interest for off-field contractual issues to cause such substantial on-field disruption. Whilst some might argue that those events should lead the cricket world to question the role of the players' representative bodies - FICA, WIPA and perhaps indeed, your own ACA - my view, as you might expect, is the exact opposite. Strong, effective and truly representative players' associations which are acknowledged by administrators and treated as vital participants in the running of the game are absolutely critical in ensuring that such situations don't occur. No doubt there were significant errors on all sides of what happened in West Indies cricket last year, but the resolution should include a redoubling of efforts to make WIPA a stronger and more coherent voice for all of its players, rather than to question its ongoing significance or place in the game. We are fortunate here in Australia to have an ACA which plays a strong role in the game, acknowledged by CA as the unified voice of the players. We should never take that for granted, of course, and the events which culminated in the abandonment of the WI tour to India last year, are a strong reminder of the need to keep our Association and its membership strong and united.
Enjoy your cricket,