An independent review ordered by Cricket Australia in the aftermath of the ball tampering saga in the Newlands Test earlier this year has come down heavily on the cricket board, saying it has ‘lost its balance and has stumbled badly’, Cricbuzz reports.
The malpractice of altering the condition of the ball led to 12-month bans for captain Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner, along with a nine-month suspension for Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the tampering. “With the exception of CA’s own Board and senior executives, the broad consensus amongst stakeholders is that CA does not consistently ‘live’ its values and principles. CA is perceived to say one thing and do another. The most common description of CA is as “arrogant” and “controlling”
“Australian cricket has lost its balance … and has stumbled badly. The reputation of the game of cricket, as played by men, has been tainted. Women’s cricket remains unaffected,” the review stated. “The leadership of CA should also accept responsibility for its inadvertent [but foreseeable] failure to create and support a culture in which the will-to-win was balanced by an equal commitment to moral courage and ethical restraint.”
“While good intentions might reduce culpability – they do not lesson responsibility … especially not for those who voluntarily take on the mantle of leadership. In our opinion, CA’s fault is not that it established a culture of ‘win at all costs’. Rather, it made the fateful mistake of enacting a program that would lead to ‘winning without counting the costs’.
“It is this approach that has led, inadvertently, to the situation in which cricket finds itself today – for good and for ill.
It has also given rise to a series of ‘shadow values and principles’ – a set of implicit norms that are often driving conduct that is at odds with the requirements of CA’s formal Ethical Framework, How We Play, and The Spirit of Cricket.”
The 145-page dossier, released on Monday, was Ethics Centre’s independent review of Cricket Australia, put together by Dr Simon Longstaff, that also included a player review carried out by former Test cricketer Rick McCosker.
The review put forth 42 recommendations for the board, 34 of which have been taken on board now – or are already in place.
“One of the most significant findings of this review is that the perceived causes of the ball-tampering incident at Newlands significantly overlap with the perceived current state of cricket in Australia. That is, the evidence suggests that Newlands was not an aberration – a cultural ‘outlier’. Rather, it is an extreme example of a latent tendency growing out of the prevailing culture of men’s cricket in Australia – especially (but not exclusively) at the elite level.”
“In particular, the implementation of the Argus Review’s recommendations has led to people feeling as if they are merely means to an end.
“Those who wear ‘the baggy green’ live in a gilded bubble – disconnected, for much of each year, from families, friends and the grounding influence of community.
They see themselves as being part of a machine that is fine-tuned for the sole purpose of winning.
The tendency amongst players is grudgingly to accept this as a by-product of being a professional sportsman. Some love it all, at least for some of the time. Most resent being seen as a product or asset,” the review said.