Pat Cummins has denied he put pressure on Cricket Australia to end their $40 million sponsorship with energy company Alinta.
CA’s decision to announce Cummins as the 27th ODI captain on Tuesday morning was somewhat derailed by the revelation Australia had made the decision to part ways with their major sponsor.
A report from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Agedetailed that Cummins “fronted” CA CEO Nick Hockley to raise “ethical objections” to their contract with the energy company.
CA is said to have denied they made the decision to farewell Alinta on the recommendation of Cummins.
On Tuesday, Cummins too denied he was the reason behind the mutual departure.
“No, not at all,” Cummins told reporters in Brisbane.
“Nick, the CEO and I, have a really good relationship, we talk about lots of things.
“But no, I’ve been a big supporter of all our partners over the last few things.”
Asked directly whether the report was a fabrication, Cummins said it “probably stretched exactly what happened.”
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The report said “some Australian players were privately less than enthused” by having to appear in Alinta advertisements.
Cummins confirmed he won’t appear in any advertisements featuring Alinta this summer, before the contract ends.
The 29-year-old is a climate change supporter and earlier this year organised a Cricket For Climate forum in Sydney, which will see 4000 cricket clubs introduce solar panels to help reduce the sport’s footprint on the environment.
Cummins, who was calm and did not shy away from answering any questions, said it was a balancing act for organisations with who they partnered with, but the Australian skipper said he supported CA’s stance.
“I think it’s always been a balance,” he said.
“We’ve seen certain players make decisions based on certain religions or certain foods, they won’t partner with specific partners.
“But we really thank all our partners for everything they do for Cricket Australia and grassroots, supporting the game, and we know our responsibilities and we try to do our best.”
CA’s decision to call time on their partnership with Alinta comes after the Diamonds expressed issues with wearing uniforms emblazoned with the Hancock Prospecting brand. It came after players expressed solidarity with squad member Donnell Wallam, a Noongar woman who has raised concerns about the company’s record on Indigenous issues.
Rugby Australia has also come under fire for their partnership with Santos, with new senator and former Wallaby David Pocock asking questions around the energy company’s desire to get into international sport.
Diamonds sponsorship drama escalates | 00:44
The International Cricket Council has also unveiled a sponsorship deal with the Saudi state oil company Aramco on the eve of the T20 World Cup.
Cummins distanced himself from the decision, saying it was an ICC call.
“Yeah I know they’re a tournament sponsor,” he said. “It’s obviously far away from decisions us players make, it’s an ICC decision.”
Cummins confirmed he was not told by the ICC they would be partnering with the oil company and said players were at “an arm’s length from their decision making”.