Cricket Australia releases findings after 'extremely regrettable' ball-tampering scandal

Cricket Australia releases findings after 'extremely regrettable' ball-tampering scandal

An independent review of Cricket Australia has delivered a scathing report on the governance and culture of the organisation.

The review says Australia's elite male players are highly paid but live in a "gilded bubble" disconnected from the "grounding influence of the community".

They see themselves as being part of a "machine that is fine-tuned for the sole goal of winning", the review said.

The ball-tampering revelations plunged Australia's team into crisis earlier this year.

Steve Smith and David Warner were involved in formulating a plan to tamper with the ball to gain an advantage.

"A constant complaint from players who contributed to this review is that they are treated as if they are assets of the game - commodities of variable value", the report said. "It's not our cricket team, it's Australia's cricket team, and I think for a little while, we lost that".

"We know what's right and we know what's wrong".

He likened cricket's relentless pursuit of victory to the Australian banking sector's drive for excessive profits, which has led to revelations that dead people were charged for services that were never provided. "As it happens, this fits with the opinions of keen observers of Australian cricket who report, with considerable regret (and perhaps the benefit of hindsight), that the events in Newland were "disappointing but not surprising".

The report, commissioned by CA after the ball-tampering affair, noted "responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands".

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Every recommendation has either been accepted by CA's board or is under consideration, with the exception of a request that Test and ODI players are excused from playing Twenty20 Internationals to ensure they are available for at least two Sheffield Shield games and one grade game per summer.

CA reverted "to bully tactics or worse, ostracising" when situations went "against them", according to one unnamed insider.

The report states that in some cases players are required to "play the mongrel", with the risk of becoming that person.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has taken aim at former Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann for his role in Australia's cultural demise, after an external review by the Ethics Centre found the national team guilty of "winning without counting the costs".

Among 42 recommendations outlined by the review are the desire for Australian cricket to establish an ethics commission to oversee the ethical health of the game in Australia, and also the formation of the Australian Cricket Council to create a forum for frank discussion among the chairs of CA, the state associations, the ACA and the Cricket Umpires Association. "So the sanctions stand", said Peever.

But Cricket Australia chairman David Peever has rejected the calls, saying the sanctions were "imposed by the board after a very full and thoughtful process".

"We've learned many lessons and of course there has been a lot going on since then".

A loss of recognition of the spirit of cricket is also demonstrated at the corporate level, as underlined by the use of the term "smashing the boundaries" in the "How We Play" element of the strategy.

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