First and foremost, allow me to reiterate my congratulations to all involved with the stunning Ashes success of the Southern Stars!
It was a hard-fought campaign across three formats and at various stages required a great deal of resilience in responding so strongly to the challenges put up by the home side. Having dropped the opening matches of the ODI and T20 series, and being under enormous pressure early in the Test, they showed terrific resolve and the spread of contributors throughout each of the matches highlights their depth of talent. It was fitting that they featured on free-to-air TV in the final match, with viewership impressively rating higher than the prime time free-to-air average of A-League games this season.
Particular congratulations go to captain Meg Lanning, vice-captain Alex Blackwell and coach Matthew Mott, each of whom were instrumental in this achievement. Ellyse Perry was outstanding with bat and ball and a deserved Player of the Series winner. Having reclaimed the Women’s Ashes the team now holds the three major trophies in women’s cricket as reigning champions in both the 50-over and T20 World Cups.
Our male players were once again involved in a highly anticipated and hard-fought series, with the home side playing the conditions more effectively overall. There were examples of some individual brilliance on both sides and it was fitting that Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers celebrated a win in their final matches in the baggy green.
Michael’s list of accolades have been well documented, along with his enormous contribution as a player and captain. Less touched upon has been the steely determination to put in the physical work necessary to take the field. It seems too few fully appreciated the commitment Michael has shown away from the field, training track, and glare of the cameras. Michael, the ACA wishes you well in whatever lies ahead and thank you for your contribution to Australian cricket.
The Test career of Chris Rogers was that of a late bloomer and an inspiring tale of incredible perseverance and your performances throughout the past couple of years have been richly deserved. I’ve no doubt that you have plenty to offer the game in the years ahead.
There have been a number of debutants over the past few weeks and we congratulate Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton and Jess Jonassen (Test), Grace Harris and Marcus Stoinis (T20) on achieving their respective selections.
I am delighted to announce a couple of key selections of our own, with Jodie Fields and Moises Henriques joining the ACA in official capacities.
As many of you are aware, Jodie captained the Southern Stars for five years and spent 14 years in elite cricket, having debuted for Queensland as a 17 year-old. As well as bringing a great deal of experience to the role from a cricket perspective, Jodie has completed a Bachelor of Science (Human Movement), Diploma of Business (Management) and is in the process of completing her MBA. We anticipate Jodie starting with us officially in October.
Significantly, the creation of this role was made possible by the contribution of the current male players, who have committed significant and unprecedented funds to initiatives in various parts of the game.
We are also delighted to welcome Moises Henriques to the ACA Executive. Moises has been a NSW Player Delegate since 2008-09 and his insight into the game and genuine concern for his fellow players means he will be a terrific asset to our leadership team. Moises replaces Marcus North, whose contribution has been telling over a number of years and we thank him for the wisdom and experience provided throughout his time in the role.
We have a huge summer ahead, both on the field and off, with a number of important ACA initiatives being rolled out in the ensuing months. The Premier Cricket Program is the first of these, and the uptake by members and Premier/ Grade clubs throughout the country has been excellent. It promises to make a significant impact on the game at club level and the broader pathway system.
By now, all current players are in full swing with their pre-season preparations and we wish them and all ACA members a fulfilling 2015-16.