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Two new High Performance staff announced

Ben Oliver, the man who (with Justin Langer) led the renaissance of Western Australia cricket, will take over as national men’s and women’s team supremo with champion Olympic rower Drew Ginn OAM to oversee Australia’s state and pathway programs.

The dual high-profile appointments, announced by Cricket Australia today, represent a restructure of the previous High Performance role as announced in the wake of Pat Howard’s departure last November.

Oliver will take up the position of Executive General Manager National Teams which also includes oversight of men’s and women’s selection panels.

Ginn becomes EGM High Performance with responsibilities that also include umpire development, talent identification and sports science and sports medicine.

Both men will leave their current positions within Australia cricket to begin their new appointments on July 29, days before Australia’s men’s team Ashes campaign begins and the women’s Ashes series concludes in the UK.

Oliver, who has been General Manager of High Performance with the WA Cricket Association in Perth, will be based at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane and Ginn (Cricket Tasmania’s General Manager of High Performance since 2017) will be based at CA’s Melbourne headquarters.

Oliver played three first-class matches and 16 domestic one-day games for Victoria and Tasmania as an all-rounder from 1999-2003 (and once dismissed West Indies great Brian Lara in a tour match) before injuries saw him direct his talents to cricket administration.

Oliver in action during his playing days // Getty Images

The now 39-year-old began his post-playing life as Cricket Victoria’s regional cricket manager, then became the ICC’s East Asia-Pacific development manager before being appointed CA’s competitions manager in 2008.

In 2012 he took on the High Performance job in Perth when WA cricket was at a low ebb.

During his tenure the WACA celebrated three KFC Big Bash League titles and two Women’s BBL appearances (with the Perth Scorchers), two men’s domestic one-day tournament wins and runner-up in two Shield finals and a Women’s National Cricket League play-off.

He is highly regarded by incumbent men’s team coach Langer and was a former Victoria teammate of women’s team coach Matthew Mott during the pair’s playing days.

Also among his responsibilities will be overseeing the players’ commitment to making Australians proud, and ensuring teams pursue on-field success while competing with respect.

“I have devoted most of my adult life to cricket, in both playing and high-performance roles, and I am extremely proud and humbled to continue that association as EGM, National Teams,” Oliver said today.

“I look forward to working with Justin Langer and Matthew Mott and their national men’s and women’s teams, as well as national selectors and all those involved in team operations and logistics.”

Ginn was a member of Australia’s internationally renowned ‘Oarsome Foursome’ rowing outfit that won Olympic gold at Atlanta in 1996, and won further gold in the coxless pair event at Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

He retired from rowing after winning a silver medal in his fourth Olympics (London 2012) and last year was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Ginn worked as High Performance Manager at Rowing Australia before taking on the role at Cricket Tasmania two years ago.

Since the now 44-year-old moved to Hobart, Tasmania’s men’s team have reached the final of the Sheffield Shield and the BBL (Hobart Hurricanes), and Cricket Tasmania have developed an innovative winter training facility.

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In his new position, Ginn will be responsible for maintaining the pre-eminence of Australia’s domestic men’s and women’s competitions and liaising closely with the high performance programs in states and territories to help develop future players, coaches and match officials.

“I am looking forward to joining Cricket Australia and having the opportunity to work more broadly across the National system,” Ginn said today.

“The past two years with Cricket Tasmania have been immensely rewarding.

“This is a chance to continue the work I have enjoyed locally and to now work closely with many great people involved in leading our domestic, national and youth competitions along with the leaders of our State programs, and those leaders in our Cricket Australia pathway programs, and our sports science and sports medicine areas.”

Ginn (left) alongside fellow rower James Tomkins in 2003 // Getty Images

In announcing the appointments today, CA Chief Executive Kevin Roberts said the recent decision to restructure the former EGM Team Performance role would allow for greater focus and oversight across the myriad responsibilities at national and international level.

“The appointments today of Ben Oliver and Drew Ginn are a significant step forward for Australian cricket,” Roberts said.

“Both are world-class high-performance professionals and people of character and integrity. 

“I am excited to have them on board and optimistic about the positive impact they will have on the game at all levels.”

Roberts also paid tribute to Belinda Clark AO who has been serving as interim EGM Team Performance since Howard’s departure last year.

Clark, the former national women’s team captain, will resume her previous role as EGM Community Cricket at the conclusion of the current ICC men’s World Cup in the UK and the announcement of the men’s Ashes squad.

“Australian cricket owes Belinda a debt of gratitude for the exceptional job she has performed throughout a challenging time for Australian cricket,” Roberts said.

“She is one of our game’s greatest trailblazers and servants at all levels and we are delighted that she will resume her role as EGM of Community Cricket in late August after handing over to Ben and Drew and having a well earned break. 

“It is a critical role and a job she loves.”

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