'Nothing will change': Legend's swipe amid Cricket Australia turmoil

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Seen here, Ian Chappell (far right) has had his say on the sudden resignation of Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings (far left).
Ian Chappell (far right) has had his say on the sudden resignation of Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings (far left). Pic: Getty

Australian cricket great Ian Chappell has taken an explosive dig at Cricket Australia (CA), following the bombshell resignation of the organisation's chairman.

CA chair Earl Eddings sent shockwaves through the sport on Wednesday after announcing his sudden departure on the eve of what shaped as an acrimonious annual general meeting on Thursday.

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Eddings bowed to pressure from multiple states on Wednesday morning, stepping down from the role to leave former Foxtel chief executive Freudenstein to oversee Thursday's AGM.

The governing body hopes to appoint a permanent chair by the end of this year, vowing to undertake a "rigorous process" involving input from state associations after yet another destabilising episode.

However, Chappell - the former Australia captain and respected commentator - says he doubts the new appointment will usher in any meaningful changes.

"The problem is it won't make any difference who gets the job," Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

"They'll appoint a new person to replace him, and it won't make a scrap of difference. History tells you that nothing will change."

Chappell pointed to the fact that of the nine directors currently on the CA board, only Mel Jones has played international cricket.

This photo taken on December 27, 2016 shows former Australian cricket captain and Channel Nine cricket commentator Ian Chappell.
Former Australia cricket captain and commentator Ian Chappell doubts Cricket Australia will change much after the sudden resignation of chairman Earl Eddings. Pic: Getty

The only other member of the board with any first class cricket experience is Greg Rowell, which Chappell sees as a fundamental problem.

"There's never been many ex-players on the board, and as I've said before, those that are there are mainly window-dressing," Chappell added.

"By that I mean it's window-dressing from the board's point of view. Whenever someone says there's not enough cricket knowledge on the board, which there never has been, they want to be be able to point to a couple of ex-players on the board.

"But they're only there so Cricket Australia can say exactly that."

CA's board released a statement last month, unanimously endorsing Eddings to serve another term as chair despite Cricket NSW and Queensland Cricket both pushing for his 13-year stint as director to end.

Agitation for change grew among disgruntled directors on CA and state boards, especially about Eddings' purported succession plan.

Cricket Western Australia's board met on Tuesday night, with its withdrawn support believed to be the metaphoric tap on Eddings' shoulder that prompted the Victorian to confirm he will not stand for re-election as a director.

Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, pictured with coach Justin Langer, has resigned on the eve of the annual general meeting. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, pictured with coach Justin Langer, has resigned on the eve of the annual general meeting. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Eddings replaced David Peever as CA chairman in 2018, when his predecessor also resigned after a phone call from Cricket NSW equivalent John Knox.

The interim promotion quickly became permanent despite Cricket Victoria raising public objections, with off-field infighting and instability becoming all too common as Australia rebuilt its on-field image from sandpaper-soiled wreckage.

Aussie great labels CA 'rudderless'

CA CEO Nick Hockley waited almost a year before the board dropped 'interim' from his job title, having installed the Oxford-educated administrator as caretaker chief executive after turfing Kevin Roberts in mid-2020.

Following the lengthy period of upheaval and uncertainty, Aussie cricket great Adam Gilchrist on Wednesday described CA as being "rudderless" and said the current board situation was an unwanted distraction for the domestic game.

"It's almost like the circus continues," Aussie cricket great Adam Gilchrist said on SEN.

"For the last two or three years perhaps at Cricket Australia ... it really feels like it's been rudderless.

"Cricket boards around the world must be thinking 'what is going on over there?'.

"It is a bit laughable ... it's just a real shame this is taking so much focus of the board (at the start of the season)."

Hockley is desperately trying to ensure the Ashes end at Optus Stadium as planned, ensuring international cricket returns to Perth for the first time since COVID-19 erupted.

A call must also be made on Australia's in-doubt tour of Pakistan in February, while national men's coach Justin Langer's contract and the players' pay agreement both expire in mid-2022.

It would be simple to suggest WA's angst related to one topic but the uncertainty, resulting from their own state's border rules and England's refusal to accept strict restrictions, didn't help.

"It is my sincere hope that following my resignation the state and territory associations can unite and work together in the best interests of cricket, allowing the focus to return to the sport," Eddings said in a statement.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to be able to serve the sport I love."

It was last year's belt-tightening response to COVID-19 that raised the loudest questions about Eddings' leadership from NSW and Queensland, who both successfully pushed back against significant cuts to funding.

with AAP

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