Former New South Wales Premier the Honourable Mike Baird was appointed to the Cricket NSW Board at the annual meeting of the association on Monday night.
New South Wales Blues and Australia fast bowler Brett Lee and former ICC Elite Panel Umpire Simon Taufel were also inducted as Cricket NSW Life Members.
Mr Baird and Chief Operating Officer for investment management firm, Challenger, Karen Robbins were both appointed as directors replacing the retiring Marshall Rosen and Lyall Gorman. John Knox, who has been chairman of the Board for the last 15 months, was also reappointed.
The new Board will determine its Chairman for the next two years at its first meeting in September.
Existing directors Richard Timbs and Alex Blackwell were re-elected as board members while former Australian Test and Blues opening batsman Ed Cowan was elected to the board for the first time.
Mr Baird served as the 44th NSW Premier between April 2014 and January 2017.
Notably, the 51-year-old was also State Treasurer for nearly three years and was Member for Manly for almost 10 years from 2007 to 2017.
In April 2017, Mr Baird returned to the banking sector where he worked for 18 years before entering Parliament. He was appointed as Chief Customer Officer at the National Australia Bank and is currently managing the consumer banking area of the business.
“I have spent my life as a tragic cricket fan, enjoyed playing at many levels and proudly support the Manly-Warringah District Cricket Club as Patron. I really look forward to giving back to the game I love through this new role,” said Mr Baird.
Ms Robbins said it was great to be joining Cricket NSW at such an exciting time for the organisation and the sport.
“I look forward to working with John and the rest of the Board to build on all of the successes to date, and I am particularly excited to be involved in growing the involvement of women and families in the sport at all levels of the game,” said Ms Robbins.
Chairman John Knox with newly appointed director Karen Robbins.
Cowan was honoured to be elected onto the board.
“Having cricket give me so much over the last two decades I do feel a deep duty to give back to the game," Cowan said.
"I’m committed to help CNSW to grow the game and incredibly passionate about CNSW becoming a thought leader in not just Australian cricket, but world cricket."
Lee and Taufel became the 128th and 129th Life Members of Cricket NSW on Monday.
As one of the fastest bowlers to represent Australia, Lee claimed more than 700 International wickets during his more than 12-year career at that level.
This included 310 Test wickets in 76 matches, 380 in One-Day cricket and 28 in the early years of International T20 cricket.
He is one of just six Australians to claim 300 wickets in Test history and one of just two Australian bowlers, with Glenn McGrath, to also claim 300 One-Day International scalps.
For the NSW Blues, Lee returned 109 first class scalps and is among the top four leading wicket takers for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL with 35 wickets.
He retired from professional cricket after the BBL|04 final the Sixers lost to the Perth Scorchers.
“It’s very humbling, (and) a huge honour to be recognised by Cricket NSW,” Lee said.
Brett Lee in 2010
Away from cricket, Lee has established himself as a respected commentator, as well as doing tremendous charity work.
He is also a coach, actor, businessman and musician. Lee was famously part of the band ‘Six and Out’ that involved five NSW Blues including his brother, former Australian One-Day allrounder Shane, who captained NSW between 1999-2002.
“I was very lucky growing up, loving cricket and my dream one day was to play firstly for NSW and then to play for Australia, to achieve both, and now be able to put back into the game, that’s what life’s about … certainly what sport’s about.
“When I was in the backyard at Mt Warrigul where I grew up, playing with my older brother and younger brother, Grant, (I dreamt) that one day we’d be on the SCG playing cricket.
“(Then) to walk out with (Shane) on the SCG a number of times … to me that’s the most special memory of playing for Australia.
“(Shane) is definitely (a) huge reason why I got the success I did because of his guidance, because of his knowledge of the game, but also his friendship … we’re best mates and that’s really, really important to me.”
During 13 years as an International umpire, Taufel officiated 74 Men's Tests, 174 One-Day and 34 T20 Internationals. He was awarded the ICC Umpire of the Year a record five times between 2004 and 2008.
Taufel also stood in seven Women's One-Day and two T20 Internationals.
His first Test as a 29-year-old was the Boxing Day Test against the West Indies in 2000.
Taufel officiated 105 first class matches, including two Sheffield Shield finals, before moving into umpire education with the ICC. Taufel became Match Referee and Umpire Selection Manager with Cricket Australia in August 2016 serving in that role for two years.
He was also awarded the NSW Cricket Umpires’ and Scorers’ Association’s highest honour, the George Borwick Memorial Award, five times.
Taufel now works as a corporate and sports consultant.
“I’m not sure I’m deserving on the basis that all I’ve really tried to do is contribute to the game,” said Taufel.
“I’d like to thank the cricketing family of NSW … these things are never achieved on your own.
“(There is) a very special relationship between the umpires’ and scorers’ body and Cricket NSW.”
“(The umpires’ association has three) full-time staff which is more than any other state, being able to be in the same building is different to a lot of other states, being part of the high performance department is different to a lot of other states.
“It’s heartening to think that within Cricket NSW we’re seen as an important participant group.
“Without the umpires’ association I wouldn’t be here today.”
Simon Taufel in 2011.