Big Bash games for the North and a whole of state outlook – new Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins promises a fresh approach to the role he assumed this week.
The 43-year-old successor to David Johnston is excited about his new position which follows four seasons as Sydney Thunder general manager during which the BBL franchise went from a 19-game losing stretch to winning the BBL and WBBL titles in 2015-16.
“I think the opportunities far outweigh the challenges and that’s really what attracts me to the role which is the next level up,” Cummins said.
“It includes a component of the BBL but encompasses an entire state and game development through to the high performance side. Everywhere you look there are opportunities so it is probably just working out what the priorities are and how you can get stuck in.”
He said some of his main goals included positioning the Hobart Hurricanes as the team for cricket fans throughout the state and continuing to improve the facilities and pathway opportunities for boys and girls in the North and North-West to deliver their talent to the state and to the Australian national team.
“Every sport in this state would kill for a professional team while we’ve actually got a professional team in the Hurricanes that is a global brand and I really want that to be part of the psyche of all Tasmanian sports fans that it’s their team,” he said.
“I want to have a focus on the North and North-West and that will include working with the Launceston City Council around Big Bash content and other elite level content and seeing how we can form a partnership with the local government so that we aren’t perceived as Cricket Hobart but Cricket Tasmania and every part of the state is equally important.
“The North is really important and the high performance review will deliver some recommendations as to how we can improve the service and visibility that we have in the North and North-West.
“And we want to continue to grow participation but particularly with a focus on girls which is growing exponentially at the moment and is a strategic priority for Australian cricket.
“And finally – but not necessarily as a pure measure we want to win stuff – whether that’s the under-17 championships or the Sheffield Shield title or in between we want to make sure teams are taking the field under the Tasmania or Hurricanes banner are representing the state to the best of their ability.”
Cummins said he was amenable to Big Bash games being played in the North.
“I hope so – it’s something that I’d love to see and that is going to be a partnership with the local council but I think the Big Bash is such a powerful engaging tool in getting new fans excited about cricket and that is something we need to share wherever we can and not just within Tasmania but across Australia,” he said.
“In UTas Stadium there is a first-class stadium that is more than capable of hosting a Big Bash game so we are really keen to work with the local government to see whether we can make that happen.”
The independent review of the state’s high performance program and pathway being undertaken by Mike Hussey was focused from under-12s up to the state’s first eleven to ensure we are doing and achieving our best.
“Once that is complete I think we will have a very clear picture of how it needs to be structured going forward to succeed,” he said.
“I expect the structural outcomes of that will be available next month which will give us a view.
“I’ve been working quite closely with Mike Hussey all the way through and have a pretty good insight into some of the things that are coming out and the themes developing which is pretty exciting because there will be some good initiatives he will be able to introduce.”
“I want to have a focus on the North and North-West and that focus will include working with the Launceston Council around Big Bash content and other elite level content.
First-round interviews for the new Tasmanian Tigers coach have been undertaken and Cummins was hopeful of being able to announce a successful candidate within the next week or two.
“I have clear views of what I want the head coach to bring from an off the field perspective as well and we really need someone who is a leader who brings the organisation together as well as being a good developer of players,” he said.
“Whether you are George Bailey in the middle batting for the state or the person looking at accounts payable you need to deliver an elite level of performance in your chosen area and that’s my expectation of every staff member including myself.
“We want to be defined by performance and not just wins – the cricket fan in Tas is OK to lose a Shield game as long as we lose fighting to the very last ball.
“The first part of it is ensuring we have the best possible coaching structure to ensure the players we have within this state are realising their potential.
“And the second part is ensuring those players we attract from interstate are adding to the squad and assisting it to be successful whether that’s on the field in terms of runs and wickets or off the field in terms of leadership.
“And the final thing comes down to the importance of the head coach in having a really strongly-defined Tigers’ way so there is a specific brand of cricket that every male or female who plays cricket in Tasmania knows is how we approach our cricket.”