Cricket alumni get connected
17 August; Rod Warnecke

Keeping connected has never been as important as it currently is during this COVID-19 lockdown, and the Cricket Club has hit a six with their new MUCC Talks initiative.

MUCC Talks has been able to draw on the club’s vast alumni of sport and industry leaders from across Australia and overseas. Commerce alum and club committee member Stewart Harris was the brains behind the idea. The first edition of MUCC Talks conducted via Zoom in mid-July saw club member, Australian ODI cricketer and Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed relive his inspirational journey from oppression and violence in his homeland, to his fight for citizenship (championed by the club and a number of its high profile members) and eventually wearing the green and gold of his adopted country. International T20 coach Simon Helmot and new recruit and former WA state cricketer Simon Mackin also spoke as part of the panel.

The latest MUCC Talks welcomed former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland (Commerce alum), International Cricket Council’s GM of Cricket Geoff Allardice (Engineering alum based in Dubai) and Cricket NSW Chair John Knox (Commerce alum). Not a bad panel for any professional sporting organisation, let alone a university cricket club in Victorian lockdown! The forum was held under Chatham House Rule, so we can’t reveal the juicy opinions on which countries should be permitted to play Test cricket or the influence of India on the world game. Nor can we divulge the views on the differences between Victorian and NSW cricket or who should be Australia’s next Test captain. What we can say however, is that there were plenty of interesting insights on the current landscape of TV broadcast, the importance of grassroots participation for the future of the game, the success of the women’s cricket in Australia and the great role models we have in this country and the strong feelings still held for Melbourne versus Sydney intervarsity rivalry.

Club President Derek Bennett (Arts alum) has been really pleased by the success of MUCC Talks and the role it’s been able to play in connecting the club with their former players and alumni.

“We’d normally be in pre-season training at this time of the year, but obviously COVID-19 has put that on hold for the time being” said Mr Bennett.

“Given the current lockdown, we’re also not really sure when we’ll eventually get on the oval. And it’s only natural that many people, including those in our cricket community, may be feeling out of sorts because of COVID-19. So, the opportunity for our members and alumni to get together with one another, even if only via a computer, tablet or phone screen, has been really valuable I think, for everyone’s wellbeing”.

The next episode MUCC Talks will feature the man who’s arguably changed the culture of cricket in this country after the infamous Sandpaper-gate in South Africa in 2018, Australian men’s national team coach Justin Langer. Keep an eye out for all upcoming MUCC Talks on the MUCC website. And hopefully our University cricketers will be hitting their own sixes (and taking bags of wickets) come October/November when COVID-19 restrictions ease.