Devoid of energy and losing sleep as the sport he loves threatened to tear itself apart, Cricket Australia’s longest-serving board member Mark Taylor decided it was time to follow deposed chairman David Peever out the door.
Taylor was floated as a potential successor to Peever last week by former CA chief executive Malcolm Speed, with the game in desperate need of inspired leadership as it lurches from crisis to crisis in the aftermath of the Cape Town cheating scandal.
But Taylor, who represented Australia in 104 Tests then was appointed to CA’s board in 2004, confirmed at the SCG on Monday that he was quitting as a director.
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The development comes one week after CA released an independent report that described the governing body as arrogant, dictatorial, controlling, disrespectful and hypocritical.
“Since the release of the reviews and the fallout of that, she (my wife) will tell you that my sleep hasn’t been as good as it normally is,” Taylor told reporters on the eve of another hastily-convened board meeting.
“That to me was a sign that I needed to move on, and give someone else a go.
“Over the last 13 years … it’s taken its toll on me. Over the last two weeks even more so.
“I said many months ago my next step as a Cricket Australia director was to step up or to step off the board.
“I’ve got to the stage where I don’t think I can give any more. I’ve lost the energy.”
The Ethics Centre’s 145-page summary of cricket’s cultural malaise was the final straw but Taylor also cited the toll taken by last year’s pay dispute, the sandpaper scandal, failed attempts to rebuild the relationship between CA and the players’ union, and the tricky balance of being a board member and Channel Nine pundit.
“I think I’ve made the right move in the interests of Australian cricket to step off and give some other, hopefully a former player, an opportunity to add some fresh ideas to this role,” he said.
Infighting over who should be CA’s new chairman continues to bubble away.
The absence of Taylor will arguably leave a bigger hole for CA to fill than that created by Peever’s resignation, especially when it comes to the various on- field matters referenced by The Ethics Centre.
Taylor had served as a conduit between administrators and players for almost 15 years.
The former opener notably played a key role in Steve Smith’s appointment as caretaker captain in 2014, when the board blooded Australia’s youngest Test captain since Kim Hughes.
Interim chairman Earl Eddings thanked Taylor for his service.
“It’s been an honour to have an icon of Australian cricket serving on the board,” Eddings said.
Taylor has generally been measured and diplomatic in his dealings as a CA board member, both private and public.
But recent frustrations bubbled to the surface on Sunday when he attacked the players’ union for their push to have the bans on Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft lifted.