Ross Taylor sacking fiasco gets messier

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: New Zealand Cricket chairman Chris Moller.

Everything starts on time. Chris Moller looks shorter and older than the last time he appeared.

He spends 10 minutes reading from a prepared statement then invites questions but none on the captaincy.

Moller has brought his own bat and ball. It is on his terms. He talks about constitution, many in the room want an execution.

Apart from a genuine apology to Ross Taylor and a concession that the board would be "better" with suitable former players on it, Moller seemingly can't see what all the fuss is about.

"No heads are going to roll," he says. "There are no capital offences. Capital, I mean hanging offences in all of this.

"Yeah, the ball has been dropped, absolutely. Could we have done things better? Absolutely. Are we going to learn from those mistakes? Well, we hope so.

"Is there any reason to have their heads [coach Mike Hesson and chief executive David White] taken off, no. And that is a board decision, sorry, that is a decision the board has made."

Moller is running the ship so tightly that he is asking his own questions and answering them.

Media man Ellery Tappin calls time after 20 minutes - he must have a plane to catch.

Moller says there will be "no one-on-one interviews" so anyone with anything to get off their chest should do so now.

Moller is chairman of four boards but denies he is distracted by his workload. The evidence suggests he might be.

John Wright has gone, John Buchanan is still there. Hesson is in too high and Taylor is on the sideline.

"I often say to people, compared to being [chief executive] of the New Zealand Rugby Union my workload is dramatically less and it is dramatically less because I have good [chief executives]," Moller says.

Moller's silence till now has raised eyebrows. His defence - he wanted to first hear from Hesson at Monday's board meeting.

"Some people are criticising me quite heavily for being too involved in the management of the organisation.

"The chairman having his hands in the gearbox. I think David would confirm that is not the case and therefore it was important I move through these issues."

The press conference comes to a comical end. Martin Crowe has thrown in the towel as a selection spotter but White and Moller deny it is related to the axing of Taylor.

White and Moller sound as though they have been to the Hesson school of communication.

Reporter: "One head has rolled, Martin Crowe has gone, is that to your knowledge?"

White: "I can talk about that. I met with Martin the Friday before this information [Taylor sacking] broke and he resigned as scout prior to that."

Reporter: "Was it for health reasons?"

White: "I'm not going to elaborate. It was prior to this."

Moller: "And can I just clarify that I don't think Martin deciding to resign is ‘heads rolling'."

Reporter: "Martin came out in a Sunday paper saying he was aghast at what was happening and was basically out of there."

White: "I don't want to comment any further but he resigned prior to this issue."

Reporter: "Will Martin Crowe be replaced?"

White: "Yes, we are looking at that, at the moment."

Reporter: "So Martin Crowe's resignation has nothing to do with Ross Taylor's situation."

White: "No, it was prior to this situation."

Moller: "Well, just to clarify, to our knowledge."

Reporter: "Because Martin is close to Ross and would've been privy to what was going on."

Moller: "Exactly and that is why I have made that caveat. All we know is what he told us, when he told us. The real reason why he may have resigned is a matter for you to ask him."

Reporter: "So what day was that again?"

White: "The Friday before last."

Moller: "So can I clarify then, if it helps, that was prior to when the board made the decision that there would be a change in captaincy."

Reporter: "But when Martin spoke to you [White] in that meeting on the Friday did he not mention that the Ross Taylor situation had pushed him over the edge."

White: "It was not the reason for him . . ."

Moller: "Not the reason we were told . . . Let's just be really clear about the words. Sorry, David, I'm not criticising you, David, but from what he told us, well told, David, because I wasn't privy to the conversation, he did not explain that as being the reason. Now if Martin tells you something separate that is not because we knew it and that is part of the problem in all this sort of communication that is going on, that the odd loose word is misinterpreted in a different way by different people."

The Moller show is over. He certainly had his hands on the wheel today.

The Dominion Post