Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cricket Australia: Belinda Clark to step down after 30 years of service to cricket

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Photo Credit: Twitter Profile photo of @belindaclark134

Belinda Clark will step down from Cricket Australia on 30 November 2020 but will not be lost from the game she has played, captained, administered and loved for more than three decades.

Clark has served as CA’s Executive General Manager, Community Cricket, for the past two-and-a-half years, supporting the delivering the game to millions of Australians around the country.

As a player, Clark captained the Australian women’s team to two World Cup titles. She remains Australia’s all-time leading ODI run scorer with 4,844 runs at 47.49 and led Australia to an astonishing 83 wins from 101 matches in the format. Clark was also the first player – male or female – to score a double century in an ODI.

Having started a profession as a Physiotherapist, Clark turned to cricket administration to help juggle playing commitments with work in 1994 with CNSW in the development department – establishing competitions for girls to play and implementing programs for young boys and girls to enter the game.

In 2000 she took on the challenge of Executive Officer of Women’s Cricket Australia during which time she steered the organisation through an integration with Cricket Australia.

She has worked across community cricket and high performance at State and National level and also performed volunteer roles with clubs. Her recent time on the executive of CA included a stint as Interim Executive General Manager, Team Performance.

Clark said now was the right time to step down, allowing her time to focus on her passion of helping empower girls to find and explore their leadership gene. 

“I have loved my time working for the sport and while this chapter is coming to a close after 20 years with CA, a further 6 years with CNSW and a long standing member of ICC Women’s Committee, I am committed to finding new ways to give back to the game that has given me so much.

“The journey has been exciting and rewarding because of the many amazing people I have worked with across the community, State/Territory Associations and CA. I am grateful for their support and am so proud of what we have achieved together.

Photo Credit: Twitter Profile photo of @belindaclark134

“My dream is to help young girls develop the confidence, skills and courage to step forward when leadership opportunities arise. This shift in my focus is timely as we navigate through significant global challenges – many of which need strong local and diverse voices to overcome.

“Cricket has been a major part of my life since I was a little girl growing up in Newcastle and it will continue to be for many years to come.”

Clark was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018. In both cases, Clark’s outstanding contribution to Australian cricket and her standing as an inspiration to generations of aspiring female cricketers was highlighted.

Clark was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2011 and, three years later, became the first female player inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

The award for Australia’s best female cricketer each year is named in her honour. She has also served on the ICC’s Cricket Committee since 2018.

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Interim Chief Executive, said Clark’s contribution at all levels of cricket had been immense.

“Belinda’s impact across Australian Cricket has positioned her as one of Australia’s most influential leaders of our time,” Hockley said.

“Belinda has forged a path for women in cricket long before the days of the Australian Women’s Team and WBBL players became household names, and we are indebted to her for playing a huge role in shaping that journey. 

“The benefits female cricketers enjoy today – professional support teams, an international schedule of matches, significant salary increases – are all changes advocated and shaped by Belinda.

“Everyone across Australian Cricket will miss working with Belinda, but we wish her all the best and know that she will continue to inspire young cricketers around the world, just as we shall continue to celebrate her immense contribution to the game.

“On a personal note, I would particularly like to thank Belinda for her leadership as a Director of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and am thrilled that we shall continue to work together in the build up to the men’s T20 World Cup which has now been postponed until 2022.”

Alongside the impact on females she has been responsible for the NCC facility development and worked with Head Coaches Tim Nielsen, Greg Chappell and Troy Cooley and support staff to develop the generation of young male players over a 10-year period.

As she moved back to the grassroots of the sport, she ensured the game moved with the times and enabled a more enjoyable and relevant game to today’s boys and girls through an evidenced based approach to junior cricket playing formats.

Other significant accolades is her induction into the ICC Hall of Fame, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the NSW Sports Hall of Fame and Hunter Region Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2019, the Australian Financial Review Top 100 Women of Influence Awards recognised Belinda as the winner of the Arts, Culture and Sport category. 

Belinda will finish up with CA on 30 November 2020 but will stay on as a director for the ICC T20 World Cup Local Organising Committee.

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