Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
David Peever, the Cricket Australia chairman, has delivered a pointed message to nations opposing proposed changes to the structure of international cricket - tradition must not stand in the way of progress.
Speaking at the official banquet to mark Australia's series in Sri Lanka on Tuesday night, Peever stressed the importance of keeping the game relevant and balancing tradition with progress. Sri Lanka Cricket and its president Thilanga Sumathipala have been outspoken critics of the proposal for two-tier Test cricket and radical changes to the game's financial model.
"There is no better community of people than the cricket community. But I have to say I think in terms of responsibility and the place that cricket needs to hold globally today and tomorrow," Peever said. "I do respect traditions but am conscious of not loving them at the expense of progress. Progress and tradition, in our view, need to have at least equal weighting.
"Cricket is the people's game. Without fans it would have little value or relevance. Fans provide the money for us to sustain the game, to invest in the pathways, to help us support the grass roots. We have to always be guided by what they want, but also continuing to stay ahead of the curve and keep the game relevant, in all parts of our society. We need to continue to be a sport of choice for all, men women, boys and girls and girls of all backgrounds all over the world."
Since replacing Wally Edwards as the CA chairman, Peever has kept a low profile, but his words at the dinner marked a statement of intent, even as he sat next to Sumathipala. The pair are expected to hold further talks over the next two days, with SLC's opposition to ICC reforms likely to be a major topic for discussion. The ICC chairman Shashank Manohar is believed to desire any constitutional and structural change to be approved by unanimous vote.
"Sri Lanka Cricket has decided not to support two-tier Test cricket as we have decided it's detrimental to SLC and for its future," Sumathipala said last month. "We feel that to make it a top seven - you are virtually relegating the bottom three to a different level."
Among other topics in a wide-ranging address, Peever pointed towards day-night Tests as a major reform, and thanked Australia's cricketers for taking part in the inaugural pink ball match in Adelaide last year. At the same time he admitted the concept "needs some further refinement".
"In Australia recently we embarked on innovation in our last season and held our inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide," he said. "We did this to encourage more fans to the game, both watching at home and attending the ground at times when it fits their lifestyle, to make the game more accessible to fans.
"We do accept the concept needs some further refinement, and I want to thank the New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa players and their boards for helping us with this important reform. In particular I want to thank our Australian players for the way they have helped lead this change in putting the long term health of the game first. They're leading change in a way that was similarly led back in the World Series Cricket era."
Peever also argued that international cricket had to be maintained as the game's pinnacle, rather than allowing further erosion of contests between nations by domestic Twenty20 leagues. We're very lucky in cricket that we have three viable formats of the game," he said.
"T20 cricket is enticing kids and families to become fans, and I want to take the opportunity to stress here the importance and primacy of international cricket to continue nourishing the game. Money is fundamental to our game, but it has to follow strategy and not the other way round."