Cricket Australia’s response to five key recommendations from the Ethics Centre
The recommendations are designed to improve the culture within Australia’s cricket team. (AP: Themba Hadebe)
The Ethic Centre’s independent review of Cricket Australia made 41 recommendations to help ensure the ball-tampering scandal would not happen again.
Most of these recommendations centre around the lack of focus paid to the spirit of the game in the pursuit of winning matches.
Cricket Australia (CA) chairman David Peever said although the events that led to this report were regrettable, they resulted in an opportunity to conduct a wide-ranging review and make key changes to ensure it did not happen again.
Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said there was a silver lining to the ball-tampering scandal. (AAP: Penny Stephens)
“I and the board … would have preferred that the events in South Africa didn’t occur. But they did, and the silver lining is that it’s precipitated this work and a chance for us to have a good look at ourselves,” he said.
“We’re very committed to taking this opportunity at this point in time to use the recommendations of the review to make the game much better.”
We selected five of the key recommendations from the Ethics Centre report and how CA responded to each of them.
Honours — such as the Alan Border Medal — take into account a player’s character and behaviour as well as their performance in batting and bowling (akin to the Brownlow Medal for best and fairest in AFL).
In line with this, players who have been penalised for poor on-field behaviour should not be eligible as recipients for major awards.
Additionally, the status of the Richie Benaud Spirit of Cricket Awards should be elevated.
Cricket Australia’s official response it that they will review the criteria for national honours and will work to enact this recommendation with the state associations and Australian Cricketers Association (ACA).
“We need to work through with key constituents, including the players and the ACA, but the intent is clear, that we need to move towards more of a best and fairest approach,” Peever said.
Steve Smith won his second Allan Border Medal in February, just one month before being banned from the Test team for 12 months. (AAP: David Crosling)
In Test, Sheffield Shield and grade matches, following at least one informal warning, umpires be empowered to exclude players from the field of play, for set periods of time and with immediate effect, as a penalty for:
8.1 Continuous abusive sledging (after one warning)
8.2 Deliberate breaches of the laws of cricket, or
8.3 Deliberate conduct inconsistent with the spirit of cricket (after one formal warning).
This recommendation is slightly more difficult to implement.
Cricket Australia has no say on rules for the whole of international cricket. As custodians of the rules, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), based at Lords, will have the final say on any new laws being voted in by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Should Cricket Australia go rogue and implement these rules in domestic competitions, the games could be at risk of losing their first-class status.
However, Cricket Australia have said that they will consult the state associations, as well as umpires and umpires on the matter.
The role of vice-captain be “de-coupled” from that of “heir apparent” for the captaincy.
The captain should be able to rely on the loyal support of the vice-captain.
Rivals for the role of captain should be given leadership development and opportunities to demonstrate leadership in other roles (e.g. by captaining sides in different forms of the game).
This is another recommendation Cricket Australia are keen to implement and have said they will review selection policies and consider further leadership training for players in contention for a leadership position.
The vice-captaincy role will no longer be considered the “heir-apparent” to the captain. (Reuters: Rogan Ward)
Players on CA contracts be encouraged and enabled to maintain active involvement with Sheffield Shield and grade cricket.
Except when playing major series abroad, players on CA contracts should be made available to the relevant state and territory associations, if selected, to play a minimum of two entire Sheffield Shield matches and one grade match per Australian cricket season.
This is another recommendation that Cricket Australia has put under consideration — not committing to a set number of matches but keen in principle to make players available to their club and state sides.
Not only do CA have to ensure that the best team is selected for international cricket matches, in line with the selection policy and the new Players Pact, they also have to take into account fitness and workload concerns of players.
Members of Australian Test and One Day teams be excused from playing International T20 cricket to the extent necessary for them to play Sheffield Shield and grade cricket as per recommendation 15.
This is the only recommendation that CA dismissed outright.
CA said they will continue selecting the best possible team for all forms of international cricket, including twenty20 internationals.
They say that not doing so risks devaluing that particular format.
The top players will still be expected to play Twenty20 cricket. (AP Photo: Eranga Jayawardena)
Selectors be required to take account of a player’s character as well as their skills as a cricket when making a selection.
Of the 24 recommendations directed specifically at CA, 17 make reference to behaviour or ethics of the players, or the board of directors.
This recommendation is interesting, in that there is a perception that higher profile players have been allowed to get away with bad behaviour due to their importance to the team’s success.
Regardless, CA said they will review the selection policy, and in future will select players in line with the Players’ Pact.