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Cricket Australia chief govt Nick Hockley responds to backlash over Australia Day

The boss of Cricket Australia has been left speechless over a ruthless grilling by a radio host over the sporting physique’s resolution to ban the phrases “Australia Day” throughout Friday’s Take a look at cricket match.

The organisation got here beneath fireplace this week after it was introduced there could be no references made to the nationwide vacation through the Gabba Take a look at match between Australia and the West Indies on Friday in Brisbane.

It triggered an emotional response from cricket stars, followers and politicians alike, together with NSW Premier Chris Minns, who described it as a “unusual” resolution.

Talking on 2GB radio station on Tuesday, Cricket Australia chief govt Nick Hockley fronted questions from radio host Ben Fordham concerning the backlash.

Fordham repeatedly grilled the cricket boss earlier than saying “it’s like saying you need individuals to have a good time Christmas however they’ll’t point out Santa Clause”.

An uncomfortable second of silence adopted, with solely the sound of Hockley’s laboured respiration audible over the airwaves.

“Are you there Nick?” Fordham requested.

“I believe I’ve defined our place,” Hockley mentioned.

The chief govt mentioned the organisation was not “boycotting” the nationwide vacation however wished to be “aware” that the day meant various things to individuals.

“We aren’t in any manner boycotting Australia Day, we’re simply aware in our communications that it means various things to completely different individuals,” he mentioned.

“We respect that many Australians have a good time Australia Day and completely love watching the cricket on that day.”

Hockley went on to make clear that with out attracting public consideration, the organisation had quietly phased out references to the nationwide vacation in its communications over the past 5 years.

Fordham opened the interview with a “gotcha” query aimed toward Hockley, saying: “To begin with, what day is it on Friday?”

“Friday is the twenty sixth of January, the Australia Day public vacation weekend,” Hockley mentioned.

“So why is it so arduous to say that as Cricket Australia?” Fordham interjected, talking over Hockley.

The cricket boss mentioned the organisation consulted extensively with their Indigenous advisory board, in addition to Indigenous gamers each female and male, earlier than coming to the choice to take away “Australia Day” from its communications.

“It’s a tough day for them,” he mentioned.

“What we’ve accomplished over the (current years) is absolutely to be respectful to everybody and ensure everybody feels completely welcome.”

When requested for a “sure or no” reply as as to whether punters will hear the phrases “Australia Day” over the loudspeaker on Friday, Mr Hockley mentioned “I don’t consider so”.

Indigenous cricket stars Ash Gardner and Scott Boland have each criticised the choice to play on January 26, describing it as a nationwide day of mourning.

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