A 145-page report about the culture and state of Australian cricket in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year has accused the country’s cricket board of being “arrogant” and “controlling”.
In its report, Australia’s Ethics Centre, an independent body, made 42 recommendations – 10 for Australian cricket, seven for the men’s national team, and the rest for Cricket Australia, reported The Guardian.
The recommendations include the setting up of a three-person ethics commission, which would hold everyone in Australian cricket “accountable to the ethical foundations for the game”; setting up a mechanism for consulting with fans; give umpires the power, after one informal warning, to send off players in Test, Sheffield Shield and grade matches; decoupling vice-captaincy from being the heir apparent to the captaincy; and an amendment to Cricket Australia’s anti-harassment code so that the definition of harassment includes sledging.
All recommendations save one have been either accepted by Cricket Australia or are under consideration. The one recommendation that Cricket Australia did not accept asked Test and ODI players to be excused from T20 internationals to play at least two Sheffield Shield games and one grade game per summer.
The Ethics Centre in its report accused Cricket Australia of having played a part in the ball-tampering scandal. “Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands,” the report said. Only Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, the three cricketers involved in the scandal, are mentioned by name in the report. All three cricketers are currently serving bans.
The report said, “The most common description of CA is as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’. The core complaint is that the organisation does not respect anyone other than its own. Players feel that they are treated as commodities. There is a feeling amongst some state and territory associations that they are patronised while sponsors believe their value is defined solely in transactional terms.”
The review also resulted in the drafting of a “Players’ Pact”, which was released by Australia captain Tim Paine and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood. Addressing the media, Paine said the Australian players want to be recognised as role models. “We’ll compete hard but fair but always in the spirit of the game,” he said. “To sit here and blame people isn’t going to help anyone. This is about the future.”
Cricket Australia’s chairman David Peever described the ball-tampering scandal as “extremely regrettable” and one that caused “great distress across our country”. He said, “It has been a difficult and confronting time for everyone involved in Australian cricket, and for that I am sorry. Mistakes have been made, lessons have been learnt, and changes are and will continue to take place.”
He added, “While at times difficult to read and in some instances, difficult to agree with what has been implied – CA respects the findings of the review and what needs to be done to restore faith and prompt change.”