Cricket Australia Changes Parental Policy

For the first time in Australian cricket history, they will introduce a parental policy allowing players to take a year of paid maternity leave. When these cricketers have either given birth or adopted, they will be allowed to take 12 months of paid leave according to the new policy which is described as a game-changer.

The new policy was announced this week by both Cricket Australia as well as the Australian Cricketers’ Association. It supports professional cricketers throughout their pregnancy or adoption as well as their return back to the field. It will also assist them with their parental responsibilities. The policy will accommodate players by allowing up to 12 months of paid leave for those who are either giving birth or adopting.

However it goes beyond that as well, by supporting players who are in the role as primary carers of these young ones to get back to the field and it will also cover the expenses which are associated with caring for these children as well as when a carer has to be appointed to take care of the baby. This will include the costs of accommodation and flights involved to take care of the child. The child will be covered with these privileges up until the age of four years old.

Returning to the Field

This policy which will mostly benefit women’s teams in Australia, came into effect already on the 1st of July and has been under consultation already since 2017. It guarantees players who give birth and goes on maternity leave to a contract extension during the following year after they have given birth. Players will also be able to return to the field whenever they want within the year, subjected to being medically cleared as fit and healthy. All players in Australia with either state, national and Big Bash contracts, are covered by this policy. The policy also allows for players whose partners are pregnant or adopting but aren’t the primary carers themselves, to take up to three weeks paid leave anytime during the first 12 months after birth or adoption.

The primary purpose of the policy is to extend the careers of, especially female cricketers. Once a female cricketer becomes pregnant, it usually signals the end of her career said Alistair Nicholson, the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s chief executive. This often meant that female athletes in this sport have to make a choice of either pursuing their career on the field and miss out on having a family or deciding to have a family and they get robbed of the opportunity to reach their full potential on the ground. Alyssa Healy played a vital role in the process to get the new policy in place, and she considers this as a game-changer for the sport. She is proud of the fact the women will now be able to continue their careers and have the expenses of travelling with a child taken care of.

Criticism from Health Campaigners

The Hundred Tournament is set to take off on July 2020. This brand new tournament is an initiative of the England and Wales Cricket Board to interest youth in playing cricket. Now it is slammed with criticism from those who are the strong advocates of a healthy lifestyle. Their main concern with the tournament is that it will promote obesity in the youth through their main sponsor, KP Snacks.

The Origins of the Hundred

This 100-ball tournament was a proposal by the ECB already made in September 2016. This followed after discussions between the Professional Cricketer Association, the Marylebone Cricket Club and 18 of the top cricket counties. The vote was far in favour of the proposed format. The format would be shorter than a Twenty20 with 100 balls in each innings and change usually ends following ten shots. Bowlers would deliver 5 or 10 balls but no more than 20 per game. The idea was to attract a new and younger audience to the game. It is a plan which Joe Root, current Test Captain to England welcomed.

Announcing Sponsorship

Early this month the teams, as well as the branding of the tournament, were published with KP Snacks being the main sponsor to the event. This brought on a wave of criticism from various anti-obesity groups. They claim that KP Snacks are a supplier of junk food and that the brand will become the main focus in the minds of children. The KP Snacks logo is presented on the branding of each team’s clothing. Kate Cross, a cricketer for England, stated that she had hopes that this competition would inspire the younger generation to be more active.

The Involvement of KP Snacks

The Hundred Tournament is set to become a great deal of family fun with various men’s and women’s teams being involved from Cardiff, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton, Nottingham and London. The tournament will be played at Lord’s as well as the Oval, and it will be broadcasted on BBC and Sky Sports. The ECB stated that their focus is to regain a family involvement in the game and that they want to connect communities. KP Snacks have an extensive portfolio including Skips, Hula Hoops, Butterkist popcorn and McCoy’s crisps. These snacks are part of the British households, and this is the market where KP Snacks wants to get involved in, promoting the game of cricket and educating people on the importance of a balanced lifestyle which entails enough activity.

The Anti-obesity Campaigners

This is not how the anti-obesity campaigners perceive the situation. The tournament and its main sponsor were slammed for using the opportunity to make junk food centre stage in the event, exposing the children to unhealthy products. The criticism is further fuelled by new legislation which prohibits companies whose products contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt from advertising to those under 16. The counter-argument from these companies that their products can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet stays wholly ignored.

Cricket Feeling Climate Change

Ian Chappell, former captain to the Australians, voiced his concern this week regarding the effect which climate change has on the game. He stated that administrators in charge of governing the game need to keep the impact of climate change on consideration. This statement is based on the ever-increasing number of games which had to be abandoned due to rain since the UK hosted the World Cup.

During the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup many matches had to be abandoned as an effect of the constant downpour. This meant that the game was suffering severely under criticism for the number of events which washed away with unexpected rain. According to Chappell, it isn’t only the rain which fuels his concern but also higher temperatures which are experienced, and this is a reason for concern over the players’ health.

He stated that the delaying of games is very frustrating, but it would be even worse if players need to abandon the field due to the harsh sunlight. He stated that in future players would have to take better precautions to protect them against sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer. Due to his battle with skin cancer, this is a matter close to the heart of the former captain. His solution for these concerns is an increase in day-night matches. He perceives day-night games as critical to the existence of Test cricket in the future.

The Future of Cricket

Weather and changing climate concerns are not the only threat which Chappell sees in the future of Test Cricket. Another would be the ever-increasing popularity of T20 cricket. Over the past couple of years, the popularity of T20 cricket exploded. T20 cricket is bringing along a different style of play, according to the captain. In T20 the batting varies significantly from that which is displayed in Test cricket matches. He believes that the artistry which is shown in Test cricket is replaced with a more aggressive approach in T20. This dynamic approach is entertaining to the crowds and hence brings along a higher degree of popularity among the supporters.

It might however also lead to the batting style which Test cricket is familiar for, to die out completely. Therefore he urges the development of batsmen to keep the craft of batting alive. He believes that if batting becomes nothing more than efforts to clear the boundary on regular intervals with sheer power, then the batting style which makes Test cricket brilliant, will be diminished completely and Test cricket will die out over time.

The 76-year-old Chappel urged roleplayers in the world of cricket to add their support behind the cause of climate change. He stated that the rising sea levels and other climate changes could in future be detrimental to the sport. He also mentioned the effect of a devastating drought which the Test-match city, Cape Town, suffered recently.