Does an environmental humanitarian spokesperson fit with being Australian cricket captain?
I read with interest a recent media opportunity Pat Cummins took at a school in India promoting the ideals and work of UNICEF.
There have already been plenty of stories about Pat and his stance on green energy and planet sustainability.
Both are admirable, especially from someone who holds such a ‘high office’ in Australian sport.
Yet right at the moment after the first 3 matches the Australian cricket team appear to be very sluggish and off the pace in their quest to win a Cricket World Cup in India. Even their first win of the tournament against Sri Lanka was not devoid of a certain malaise as the Sri Lankan openers built a very solid foundation of 0/125 in the 22nd over.
I was involved as Head Coach in a number of tournaments including 2 successful World Cups and 20+ series campaigns with two captains, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. Both men had developing off field interests from girls’ orphanage in India, to Foundations, to publishing, to burgeoning business interests.
However, I did not witness personal interests away from cricket distracting them from the job at hand which was to lead, captain and perform for the Australian cricket team.
Each in his own way led by example. Held himself and all members of the squad and coaching staff to account for their performances. Worked closely with the head coach and others to ensure the team culture had the team ready to meet any challenge.
The question for Pat Cummins as he is the only person who can answer it – are your off-field interests distracting you from being technically, physically, mentally and tactically razor sharp to lead your team, by example and by inspiration?
Importantly for the Australian World Cup campaign in India, it was Pat who sparked the Australian team into action in this match against Sri Lanka. He took the first two wickets after a sluggish start from himself, and set the tone for the rest of the Australian team to follow.
As leaders of any business or organization know, while it is important, sometimes essential to be actively involved in community affairs away from what they are paid to do, if you lose sight of the main game that is in front of you; allow your personal actions and behaviours in the team to become inconsistent; and do not uphold the highest standards of accountability – then organisational and team performance suffers.
I, along with all Australian cricket fans, will be looking for the Australian cricket team to improve their cricket throughout the rest of the CWC.
Integral to that is the leadership of their captain, Pat Cummins.
Can he demonstrate that the leadership he shows off field can sit comfortably alongside the leadership in his day job?
Maybe the Sri Lankan encounter is the turning point in this tournament…