Mike Baird shares his vision after joining Cricket NSW
Cricket is a game former NSW Premier Mike Baird has always loved.
Mr Baird, who says his main contribution to cricket so far has been “helping the batting averages of many other people”, has played the game at various levels throughout his youth and into his professional life.
That includes a year studying in Canada, where Mr Baird unleashed his left-arm thunderbolts – or as his teammates call them “left-arm ‘could-be-a-lot-quicker’s” – in Vancouver.
This week, the life-long supporter moved into administration. Mr Baird was appointed to the board of Cricket NSW, which he will assume on top of existing responsibilities as a high-ranking executive at the National Australia Bank.
In a previous life, Mr Baird served as the 44th NSW Premier, holding office from April 2014 until his retirement from politics in January 2017. Previously, he served as State Treasurer and as the Member for Manly for a decade.
He fills the void left by fellow Manly local and Sea Eagles boss Lyall Gorman.
Karen Robbins, an executive with investment firm Challenger, also joins the board in place of the retiring Marshall Rosen.
Mr Baird wants to help a new generation of schoolchildren, ever-bombarded by smartphones and quick-fix entertainment, fall in love with the game.
“Obviously we want to continue to grow cricket. My particular passion is how to do that at a school level,” Mr Baird told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.
“That’s the power of any sport. When kids are living, dreaming and playing the sport, you’ve got great capacity to bring them through to representative levels,” Mr Baird said.
The former Premier is enamored by the sport’s longest form – Test cricket. He teaches his children lessons of life through the throes of the five-day game.
“I’d love to give a lecture one day on how that comes together,” he notes.
“Test match cricket is all about life. There is so much to learn”.
On issues facing the game today, Mr Baird has challenged his new colleagues to improve the access to sport for women and girls.
A national audit of more than 7,000 cricket fields in 2018 found just 20 per cent of change rooms are appropriate for female players.
“I think of the local fields in my area. I think there are (female facilities), but there may not be,” Mr Baird said.
“Women’s cricket is expanding and taking off. We need to support it in every way. Obviously, having the right sort of facilities is a key part of that”.
Another divisive issue at boardroom level has been Cricket Australia’s new policy on transgender inclusion at club and community level.
While not commenting on the specifics of the policy, Mr Baird argues the “broad policy point of inclusion” must be encouraged.
“I haven’t seen that policy specifically. But we have to encourage everyone to participate. We have to ensure they are comfortable. Obviously, if that is going to help then (the policy) is something I’m very comfortable with,” Mr Baird said.
Hear the full interview below. Listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin – 6am-8am Sunday mornings.