As regular readers of this column would know, I am a big cricket fan. One of the lifetime presents I have given each of my children at birth has been an application for membership to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). With a 12-13 year waiting list to become a member, I wanted to get in as early as possible so they could join Mum and Dad at the cricket.

The only minor issue with this is that my children don’t really like cricket. I am slowly working on convincing them that they need to eat, sleep and breathe cricket for the entire summer season. By using a series of compulsory incremental exposure dosages, I am going to make sure they grow up to be well-balanced Aussie kids (plus it is a good excuse for Dad to watch the cricket).

I like to take them to an occasional game so last year I took them down to game four of the One Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies. I had started to introduce some cricket to warm them up and they had watched the previous two matches on TV. They all thought George Bailey was fantastic – he scored his maiden ODI century in game two of the series and then in game three played a cameo role of 44 off 22 balls. If nothing else, I had created some excitement around seeing George Bailey bat.

On the day of the match they actually started talking about seeing George Bailey hit some sixes. I was excited! They were looking forward to the cricket! Finally my plan was going to come together. We made our big trek to the SCG and found our seats. The anticipation was building. Then the day collapsed for me. The team list was displayed on the screen and Bailey’s name was not among the list. What had happened? How could they leave out the saviour of my children’s cricketing future? How could they drop him after his previous two match-winning efforts?

Then the announcement was made, with the five game series wrapped up at 3-0, Cricket Australia (CA) had decided to rest George Bailey. We felt robbed. The one player the kids wanted to see more than anyone else was not playing – and this was a deliberate decision.

We came to the game just like those in Canberra and Perth who actually got to see Bailey bat. Why were we served up a second-string team? This was all part of the rotation policy or, as CA called it, the ‘informed player management’ policy. I can vaguely understand what the direction was – when players are exhausted from playing too much, give them a rest. The problem this creates, and the major mistake in this policy, is that it looks at the scenario from the wrong perspective. It is looking at the issue from the perspective of the players. The players may be playing too much, the players risk injury, the players are exhausted, and that is a long flight for a player. Forget the players. The players would not be paid their salaries to do what they love if there weren’t fans of the game. For the players to miss one game is no big deal. Australia played 24 ODIs in 2013 so for a player to have a rest is not significant.

But then you need to consider it from a different perspective. The paying fans are of much greater importance than the players. Without the fans it is just a bunch of players having a game in a park. The fans – directly or indirectly – pay for the entire industry that is the game of cricket. Some fans might only go to one game a year. Or, in the case of my children, they may only go to one game every few years. For the team to not put their best foot forward on every single occasion is to show complete and utter contempt for the fans. For many fans it is their one chance on a rare occasion to see the team in action.

And the point of all this? This isn’t just a whinge about the rotation policy (which has since been shelved) there is a lesson here for all Councils across the State.

For Councillors and staff, we may be involved in dozens of Development Applications (DAs) or hundreds of transactions or thousands of enquires. If we don’t pay full attention to a particular issue from a resident or treat an issue as ‘just another one’ it might seem okay.

When you flip it over though, the person dealing with Council might only have an interaction with Council a few times a year. Or maybe less. Someone might be lodging a DA for their business and it might only be one of two or three DAs they will ever lodge in their life.

For that business or resident or developer, this interaction with Council is of the utmost importance. A Council might simply say that one of their staff members is away this week so that will be dealt with next week or it may be that a staff member was not feeling well on a particular day so they didn’t deal with it correctly.

Unfortunately, for the person dealing with Council, they simply don’t care about any reasonable excuse that may be put forward. All they care about is that they receive exceptional service and have their item dealt with as if it was the only one being dealt with by Council for the entire year.

This is a challenge for Councillors and General Managers and staff across the entire State. There are incredibly high expectations placed on Council, and in my opinion, those expectations are getting higher.

If Councils pick and choose when to give good service, I believe that ratepayers will feel they are being treated with the same contempt as fans felt with the rotation policy.

Tell me if you think Australian cricket should re-instate the ‘informed staff management’ policy at


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