SYDNEY: Interim Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley says he intends to repair broken relationships and ensure everyone is “pointing in the right direction” again after accepting the top job at the troubled organisation. The Englishman assumed the hot seat last week after Kevin Roberts resigned barely halfway through his tenure over simmering anger at his handling of the coronavirus crisis. Roberts laid off most of Cricket Australia s staff and tried to slash budgets to state bodies and players, arguing revenues would be hit hard by the virus. But there was widespread pushback after it became clear that most of Australia s home season, including a lucrative Test series against India, was likely to go ahead. Hockley has his hands full working to appease players and staff. “I feel like I want to sit down with every single person,” he said. “I m just really keen to find out how everyone s feeling, in the first instance, and I m starting to understand that,” he added in a Q&A on the Cricket Australia website. “Everyone wants a solution and every bit of clarity we can get really helps. The challenge is that time is of the essence to sort all that out. And we owe it to the game to sort it out.” A day after Roberts quit, Cricket Australia axed 40 jobs, or some 15 percent of staff, aimed at saving Aus$40 million (US$27.6 million). The governing body said it was concerned about further financial shocks this year, with smaller crowds expected and extra spending on safety measures to keep COVID-19 at bay. All planned Sheffield Shield and Twenty20 Big Bash League matches will continue but Australia A tours and Cricket Australia XI games have been put on hold. There is also uncertainty over whether Australia can host the T20 World Cup this year in the midst of the global pandemic. Hockley, who was the T20 World Cup chief, said it was important to “get everyone pointing in the same direction”. “And I m pretty clear on the priorities, which are getting the teams back to work, reaching out to all our stakeholders and coming together, and focusing on delivering this summer.” An international search is underway for a permanent appointment, with a range of candidates touted in the local press from former England captain Andrew Strauss to ex-Australian football chief David Gallop. Hockley, who worked on the 2015 Cricket World Cup organising committee and before that with the 2012 London Olympics team, was circumspect when asked if he wanted the job full-time. “My approach throughout my entire career has been to focus on doing the best job I can with what I ve been tasked with, and the future will look after itself. And I ll continue the same approach,” he said.
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