Matthew Hayden has criticised Cricket Australia for their inability to develop a strong leadership group within the national team. Hayden, who served as director of CA between 2009 and 2011, claims to have raised concerns over the existing policies while in charge.
"If there is one element in my time that has lost its way, it's the development of a leadership culture," Hayden told The Age. "The fact that Michael Clarke was promoted at 21 to be the next captain was a mistake. Whilst I think he is now a natural choice as captain, I think it needed a lot more behind-the-scenes support and resources into developing a really strong, vibrant community of leaders."
Hayden's illustrious career that saw him play 103 Tests coincided with Australia's era of domination in the 1990s and 2000s. Hayden, who played under Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting, reminisced about the strong leadership culture that extended beyond just the captain and coach during his playing days.
"That is something I really enjoyed in my time - leadership forums, we had keynote presenters come into the group, a number of tasks in thinking as a captain, great role models in the current leaders, getting some net practice on that," Hayden said. "I said that when I was on the board, that was one of my key concerns."
Cracks within the Australian camp became evident when Mickey Arthur, the then coach, suspended four players including Shane Watson, the vice-captain, during the tour of India in February-Match this year, for failing to come up with a team presentation. While Hayden rued the incident, he hoped the board would advocate a policy that would help identity a strong group of leaders who can take on the mantle from Clarke.
"What we've seen recently, for example in India, is a bunch of guys just doing what they wanted to do, that just reeks of a poor leadership culture," he explained. "If I was the boss, I'm James Sutherland (the chief executive of CA) now, I'm saying I want to put together the best leadership program the game has ever seen."