Australia’s current cricketers are growing the game by committing an unprecedented level of funds to support its development and the welfare of those who play.
For the first time in Australian cricketing history, 100 of Australia’s elite cricketers joined the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) at North Sydney Oval to celebrate initiatives to grow Australian cricket and support those who play the game.
Australia’s current players, through the ACA and with support from Cricket Australia (CA) have committed an unprecedented level of funds to support the growth of Australian cricket. In excess of $20 million will be invested back into the game to help strengthen the sport at grass roots levels, develop opportunities for female players, and provide support for past players.
ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson says the contribution from the current playing group is a huge step forward for Australian cricket.
“This is a really exciting time for Australian cricket and a testament to how committed our players are to the game. The players have elected to forgo money from their share of World Cup and broadcasting rights revenue to support the development and welfare of our sport,” he said.
“Players have had significant input into the programs supported by this financial injection and with the assistance of Cricket Australia, they are being rolled out in a way that's going to have a big impact.
“The Premier Cricket Program is a great example of how former first-class players are able to improve the strength of elite club cricket, which current players view as a crucial part of the cricket pathway. More than $1 million has been dedicated to this initiative, in which each of Australia’s 87 Premier (Grade) Cricket clubs is able to receive a grant to utilise past players in a playing, coaching or mentoring capacity.
“Another initiative, the ACA's Past Player Program, is seeing former players and current female players conduct more than 600 game development appearances annually - so the next generation of cricketers can benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience.
“From a personal development perspective, we're able to support greater numbers of players from all eras in a wide range of areas, including their careers and providing crucial health and wellbeing assistance. “
Michael Hussey, ACA Executive member and former Australian and current Sydney Thunder player, said he was pleased with commitment from the current playing group.
“I'm really proud that the current players have donated this funding to help grow and strengthen the game.
“It's a significant contribution which reflects how passionate the current players are about looking after the game that's given us so much. We all want to help cricket to continue to grow and thrive so it’s a big win for our sport.”
Cricket Australia’s Senior Manager Game Development John Watkin said:
“Cricket Australia and the ACA have worked hard together to develop programs from these funds that connect players with cricket at multiple levels and help grow the game across the board.
“In utilising current and former players in greater numbers we are inspiring kids and emerging cricketers in an impactful way. The programs see players working collectively with States and territories, our network of community and Premier Clubs to connect and enhance environments."
Former Australian and newly announced Sydney Sixers all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar – who is also an ACA Executive member – was another to laud the announcement.
“The funding from the generosity of the current players is already proving to be of enormous benefit to women's cricket.
“It's an extension of a number of years of work by the ACA to support female players, who are delighted to receive this assistance and the opportunities it brings.
“Women's cricket is growing at a rapid rate and this funding is helping players engage at grass roots levels and continue to inspire young female players.”
One of the ACA’s State Coordinators of the Past Player Program is former Australian and NSW all-rounder Greg Matthews. He said:
“The decision by the current players to provide such substantial funding is a huge gesture. The understanding that the current players value and respect those that came before them is enormously appreciated.“