NSW news January 14, 2013

Gilbert jumps from New South Wales job

Dave Gilbert has jumped from the position of Cricket New South Wales chief executive, denying recent instability at the association and calls for his sacking by Brett Lee had hastened his decision.

Following a special board meeting at the association's headquarters at the SCG, Gilbert handed in his resignation, stating he had been considering his position for some months.

"After 11 successful years, I am now at the point where I am ready to take on a new challenge," Gilbert said. "This is not a sudden decision - it is something I have been contemplating over the past 12 months. As far as recent commentary is concerned, it comes with the job - and I've never shied away from it.

"The simple truth is that I've been in the role for much longer than most sports administrators could ever dream of. Now that the busiest period of the season has passed, I feel it is right to give the Board ample time and opportunity to search for my replacement.

"I have enjoyed many memorable times in the role and it will be sad to leave behind a fantastic team of people who work for a great organisation. I wish them and the game of cricket in NSW the very best for the future."

Having held the role of CEO at Australian cricket's largest state association since 2001 after being similarly employed with Surrey in England, Gilbert's position was unsteadied by a series of missteps dating back to the decision to take on a new captain and coach simultaneously at the start of the 2011-12 season.

Anthony Stuart was hired as NSW coach ahead of the more experienced Trevor Bayliss, who was keen on resuming the role he had filled before coaching Sri Lanka, while the Australian captain Michael Clarke replaced Simon Katich as state captain, with Steve O'Keefe as his deputy.

The Blues struggled through a nightmarish summer, and Bayliss enjoyed great success as coach of the Sydney Sixers in the BBL. Results improved somewhat at the start of this season, but Stuart's removal as coach in December had the unintended effect of casting harsher light on Gilbert.

At this point Lee weighed in with heavy public criticism of Gilbert and the association, his words backed up privately by plenty of other former players. Lee was reported for detrimental public comment, but emerged from his hearing with a place on a NSW board subcommittee formed to allow ex-players to suggest how the state's performance might be improved.

This represented a major setback for Gilbert's authority, particularly after Lee refused to indicate any support for the CEO following their compromise. A tenure that had been quietly successful for much of its 11-year journey was thus drawn to an end in some acrimony.

The association chairman Harry Harinath spoke warmly of Gilbert's contribution to the state. "David has overseen a period of tremendous growth and development for cricket throughout NSW," he said. "During his time in charge, participation in the game has increased by 130% and revenue has trebled. The percentage of NSW- originated players in Australia's male and female Test teams are higher than at any time in the past 30 years.

"He is responsible for a number of important achievements that have benefited both those who play the game and those who watch. These include bringing international cricket to ANZ Stadium and extending our footprint throughout the key growth area of Western Sydney with the development of Blacktown International Sportspark."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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