This article explains how the ASM Plus facilitated meeting service could be used to resolve a potentially difficult sporting issue, one that could have very important implications for English cricket and its standing on the world stage.
Cricketing fans amongst us will be all too aware of the prodigious talents of the onetime English batsman, Alex Hales, who is currently racking up a sequence of impressive scores in the 2021 Australian Big Bash league. Over a period of years, Alex Hales was a star performer in the English International one-day cricket team but was dropped following what was determined to be a major transgression. Some less than complimentary opinions on the part of the English cricket managerial set up have been reported and there were particular references to there being a breakdown in trust and the good name of cricket being tarnished. As a result, he has not played any international cricket for over two years and in particular, did not feature in the English team that won the cricket World Cup in 2019.
Doubtless influenced by Hales’ recent impressive performances, at least one commentator has suggested that the time has come for him to be readmitted to the English cricketing fraternity. Opinions may be divided as to whether “the time is right or” but if his readmission is considered to be an option then there will have to be some hard talking. Given their references to lack of trust the England management and selectors will probably look for expressions of remorse and very solid assurances as to future conduct.
What form might discussions take? In the light of past reactions and actions taken by the English management one anticipates that harsh words will be expressed but one sincerely hopes that the emphasis will be on privacy, being unemotive, healing and moving forward rather than conducting some form of pure disciplinary process.
Irrespective of any concerns that the English management might express, one suspects that any process will not be one sided. It is entirely conceivable that Hales might wish to offer mitigation and it could be that criticism will be laid at the management’s door. In the past few years, a not insignificant number of top international players have been disciplined for major transgressions. Opinions may be cast on how some or all of those have been dealt with and in some instances, rehabilitated.
The ASM Plus view is that the appropriate course of action would be for the interested parties to agree to a round table facilitated meeting, to be chaired and moderated by an independent person, preferably a mediator or workplace investigator with no connection whatsoever with the English cricketing set up. This effectively excludes cricketing professional advisers, administrators, trustees, board members, players, managers, coaches, individuals who sit on sporting disciplinary boards or boards of inquiry, commentators, pundits and journalists.
There would be no need for the appointed facilitator to have any particular past or current knowledge of national or international cricket. With the benefit of good prior preparation, the interested parties would be able to address any attendant issues in a confidential, non-confrontational and without prejudice framework that would allow everyone to have their say and importantly, allow Hales to express himself and possibly make his peace with English cricket.
Such a process would not take a long time to organise and particularly as most people are now much more adept at participating in online meetings, considerable amounts of time and money could be saved. An agreed final statement could be proffered to the press and press speculation that can be quite intrusive and divisive would be kept to a minimum. The outcome of any such process cannot of course be predicted but being seen by the outside world to have behaved in a just and fair manner can only help to enhance the stature of English cricket.
Principal Director of ASM PLUS, civil/commercial, workplace, employment, family and educational mediator and trainer with a judicial/legal background. He has knowledge and expertise in dispute resolution in a wide range of areas and disciplines and mediates online.