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Inverarity to stand up in WA Cricket's time of need

This is not the first time John Inverarity has stood up in WA cricket’s hour of need.

In February 1968, with WA needing to beat Victoria at the MCG to win the Sheffield Shield for the first time in full competition, Inverarity responded with perhaps the most compelling performance of his extraordinarily long career.

Aided by his good mate Ron Bowe, who overcame a bout of severe cramp and wicket-keeper Ray “Slug” Jordon’s ceaseless and astonishingly abusive sledging from behind the stumps, Inverarity put on 173 in seven hours to set up the critical win over the Vics.

About 5000 people were at Perth airport to greet the returning WA players whose triumph was most timely given the validity it provided to the campaign for a local Test match. Inverarity is unlikely to be swamped by adoring cricket fans if he is elected to the WA Cricket board this month but a victory could be his most significant contribution to the State in many decades.

Like several of the 12 candidates for election, and a substantial proportion of WC’s 7000 or so members whose silence on the board issues festering in recent months should not be mistaken for endorsement of current management, Inverarity is concerned at the environment that led to half the board resigning in recent months.

Unlike several of the candidates, he will not be campaigning for office on the grounds that WA Cricket needs more focus on diversity and inclusion.

There are already enough doing that.

Rather, Inverarity is likely to bring the traits that have marked his journey through cricket, sporting and education circles for more than half a century. They include maintaining a steely focus on clear-minded leadership, a profound level of attention on core issues and ensuring that diverse views do not become divisive ones.

Experience, values and integrity are likely to be his themes.

“What is my job and how can I do it best?” could well be his catchcry.

The fact that 12 people have put their hands up for election is, in itself, a clear indication of the level of apprehension at recent events at the association.

At a time that WA Cricket is trying to find another $30 million to fund its ground redevelopment – and the recent suggestion by a senior board member that the shortfall should simply be borrowed at ever-increasing commercial rates is quite staggering – suggests that this board and management requires rigorous examination.

That is unlikely to come from a mostly compliant or compromised media so it must be done internally.

There are other decent candidates on the election list.

Michael Gannon was federal president of the Australian Medical Association, attends cricket matches of his own volition and meets WA Cricket’s desire for one of its new board members to be skilled in government relations.

And David Brown has little public profile but anyone who has attended a WACA AGM this century would recall his annual array of incisive, detailed and dogged questions on WA Cricket finances and governance.

Those questions have grown more pointed in recent years.

Inverarity, who gave one of eulogies at Laurie Sawle’s funeral in August, said no West Australian had done more for Australian cricket.

That may well be the case but it is also true that few have done as much for WA Cricket as Inverarity himself.

He may get the chance to add to his legacy later this month.



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