Climate crusader Pat Cummins pilots one of the world’s most polluting vehicles and is depicted flying first-class.
But he still objects to Cricket Australia signing a sponsorship deal with one of the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, because it was not “in line” with its views on climate change.
Cummins was reportedly concerned that Alinta’s parent company Pioneer Sail Holdings is one of the country’s largest carbon emitters and shared his “ethical concerns” with Hockley, with whom he speaks “quite a bit”.
He explained why he was concerned about a possible new deal with the energy company.
“More than ever before you see players’ personalities, interests and passions come out and have a little more say than maybe in the past,” Cummins told Nine Newspapers on Tuesday.
Test Captain Pat Cummins (pictured with partner Becky Boston) went into battle against Cricket Australia’s biggest sponsor
“I think the most obvious things you can see is who we’re working with. So I hope that when we think about who we want to connect with, who we want to invite to be a part of cricket, I hope that the climate is a real priority.
“I have my own personal views, so when it comes to personal sponsorship, there are some companies I wouldn’t want to join. When we get money, whether it’s junior cricket, grassroots, fan stuff across Australia, I feel a real responsibility that on balance we’re doing the right thing.”
That’s despite Cummins having uploaded a photo of himself in the past enjoying the benefits of first-class travel. A World Bank study recently revealed that the carbon footprint of first-class passengers is up to seven times greater than that of economy.
Cummins has also been photographed driving a Range Rover, which is considered one of the most carbon-polluting SUVs.
Cummins’ comments have sparked outrage and came after Australia’s Diamonds netballers recently refused to wear a team uniform bearing mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s company logo – Hancock Prospecting.
Radio 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham weighed in on the saga, saying sports and politics don’t mix.
He suggested that Cummins stick to being a world class bowler rather than telling Cricket Australia’s marketing department how to do their job.
“The idea of the National Captain personally lobbying his boss to cancel a $40 million sponsorship deal is just absolutely crazy,” Fordham told listeners.
“It’s an energy company, not a bandit!”
Fordham isn’t suggesting that sports stars keep a vow of silence, but they should be careful about what ground they campaign on.
“No industry is immune to criticism,” he ended his diatribe.
Banks, insurance, mining companies, fast food, soda, alcohol, gambling, media companies.
‘If you list them all… there are no more sponsors!’
Pat Cummins has previously been pictured enjoying the benefits of flying first class. In the photo he tested the business class beds in a Qantas A380
One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham joined the outcry, pointing out that Cummins was featured in an Alinta Energy TV advertising campaign for their call centers, where he answered a phone call while doing yoga.
“Wasn’t Pat Cummins in the Alinta Energy ad campaign?” he captioned the ad.
Other critics, including Fordham, also pointed out that Alinta Energy put its reputation on the line when the company signed up as Cricket Australia’s premier partner in 2018.
Australian cricket at the time was in one of its darkest periods in the wake of South Africa’s ball-tampering saga.
Pat Cummins (pictured in December 2021) is photographed in a Land Rover, considered to be one of the world’s most carbon-polluting SUVs
Earlier this year, he teamed up with fellow teammates and led women’s cricketers a new organization focused on reducing the footprint of the sport.
Cricket for Climate was launched with a push to install solar power at 4000 local clubs and that’s just the beginning.
“We’re looking at all the possibilities and we’re excited about what’s to come,” Cummins told reporters in February.
He added that the effects of climate change are real for cricketers.
“A few years ago the smoke from wildfires made it hard to breathe while bowling, you couldn’t see the ball from the sidelines,” Cummins continued.
“We’ve also seen it abroad – Bangladesh, India – where air quality can decline, but also incredible temperatures that literally made playing impossible.
“Even preparing for a wicket requires a really stable climate, so we’re right in the middle of it.”
He has also suggested that smarter game schedules could reduce cricketers’ emissions, and has called for action to offset the carbon footprint of their travels.
Pat Cummins told Cricket Australia that Alinta Energy does not match his personal views