Review blasts Cricket Australia's win-at-all-costs approach

Heather Diaz
October 31, 2018

ACA President Greg Dyer and Chief Executive Alastair Nicholson made the call yesterday after Cricket Australia released a report into the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year in South Africa.

Longstaff's findings are couched in unusually powerful terms.

Cricket Australia have been branded as "arrogant" and "controlling" and accused of treating its elite players like commodities, allowing "alpha-male" egos to develop a win-at-all-costs approach, according to a wide-ranging report on Monday. "And the disappointing thing was, when that happened, we didn't play our best cricket".

Cricket insiders have pointed out that potential legal action would not help improve the already dire relations between the ACA and CA, although Dyer maintains there has been a "thawing" in the toxic relationship of last year's pay dispute.

Smith, Bancroft and fellow conspirator David Warner initially thought the fuss would blow over quickly.

Australia's former bowling coach Craig McDermott joined ex-coach Darren Lehmann in arguing that Cricket Australia must soften the bans.

"A culture of disrespect for the opposition, as seen in the common practice of abusive sledging, runs through Australian domestic and worldwide cricket, to a degree not practiced by other nations".

Peever was also faced with blanket condemnation in the pages of Australia's newspapers on Tuesday, the main charge being that he had extended his reign as chairman after the ball-tampering scandal while heads around him rolled.

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"We're not saying that what they did was right", Mr Nicholson said.

But the ACA says it's now apparent those bans were excessive, given CA has been identified as partly to blame for promoting the culture that led to such poor behaviour.

To coincide with the report's release, CA released a "players pact" calling on cricketers to respect the game's tradition and "make Australians proud".

CA has begun to address some of its perceived shortcomings ahead of the review.

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

Tim Paine, who was promoted to team captain after the scandal, said he is not surprised by the report's findings.

The review warned that the ball-tampering incident should not be seen as an aberration or the failure of a handful of players.

The review found grave issues surrounding Cricket Australia's shift towards a corporate business at the expense of traditional cricket values and the playing of the game. I think the reflection of the public on how we behaved sat uncomfortably, but at the time - when you're out in the middle - we just got caught up in the heat of the battle a few times. It was just something that people couldn't understand you know and it was a shock to all of Australia and we reacted accordingly. "It's good to see some diversity on the board - some women on the board, some people who aren't from the cricket family so to speak - but I think that's missing at the moment, that the dyed-in-the-wool cricket people need to stand up and take back their sport".

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