BRISBANE, AAP – Top Australian cricketers have gone into bat against climate change, setting up a new organisation to reduce the sport’s footprint.
Test captain Pat Cummins says few sports are more imperilled by global warming and it’s time for clubs and cricketers at every level to step up and be part of the solution.
Cricket for Climate will start with a push to get solar power installed at local 4000 local clubs.
That’s already happened at the Penrith Cricket Club, where the Australian captain honed his skills as a junior.
More than a dozen clubs linked to top players will follow in the next month – the vanguard for a green transition.
The names behind Cricket for Climate reads like a who’s who of the men’s and women’s teams: Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitch Starc, Marnus Labuschagne, Rachel Haynes and Alyssa Healy, among others.
Cummins says they’ll be a force for change that will start with the solar power push, but won’t end there.
“We’ve got real ambitions, this is just the start,” Cummins says. “We’re looking at all the possibilities and we’re excited about what’s to come.”
Cummins says the effects of climate change are already real for cricketers.
He was on the field in 2018 when England captain Joe Root suffered the crippling effects of dehydration and wound up in hospital during an Ashes Test in record-breaking heat in Sydney.
“And a couple of years ago bushfire smoke made it hard to breathe while bowling, you couldn’t see the ball from the sidelines,” Cummins says.
“We’ve also experienced it overseas – Bangladesh, India – where the quality of the air can be down but also just incredible temperatures which literally made playing just impossible.
“Even the preparation of a wicket requires a really stable climate, so we’re right in the thick of it.”
Haynes, the Australian women’s cricket vice-captain, says the Solar Clubs program is a win-win: it’ll cut clubs’ power bills and greenhouse gas emissions and produce savings that can be spent on resources and player development.
“Alyssa Healy and I will be supporting the Sydney Cricket Club with the installation of solar systems at Drummoyne Oval,” she says.
“We’re both still involved with the club. This is something I’m sure we’ll be able to point to years from now as an initiative that made a very real difference.”
Cummins hopes other sporting codes will sit up and take notice and think about what they can do.
“We’ve got to do our bit to make sure we try to limit temperature increases to as little as possible or else in the future, cricket could be a lot harder to play.”