Why Has Nobody Been Sacked At Cricket Australia?
This is one decision the umpire might need to review.
In the corporate world, heads often roll when companies fail to set an acceptable ethical tone. In the halls of Cricket Australia, that apparently doesn't happen.
At yesterday's launch of the review into CA culture which was spurred by the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said that CA voluntarily commissioned the review because "we wanted to look in the mirror".
The reflection from that mirror -- as outlined in the independent review conducted by The Ethics Centre in Sydney, which represented the views of cricket stakeholders -- was not pretty.
You only had to get to page five to read the first clear inference that the poor on-field culture was a direct result of the tone set in the boardroom.
Page five of the review says:
"The captain of the Australian side, Steve Smith, set aside his suspicions and turned a blind eye to conduct that was, by any measure, outright cheating. Those are the reported facts.
However, below the surface, there is a web of influences -- including of good intentions gone awry -- that made ball-tampering more likely than not.
Responsibility for that larger picture lies with CA and not just the players held directly responsible for the appalling incident at Newlands."
But how? How did the responsibility lie at least partially with the game's governing body?
This emerges as you read through the 147 page document.
On page 11, we learned that:
"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."
On page 38, there was an example of feedback which came from the survey of State and Territory Association staff:
“I saw an example of bullying by a CA employee this year. While I rang the senior manager to express my concerns they were not really addressed, in fact swept under the carpet. The person in question was subsequently promoted to a senior role!"
On page 72 there is this, from an unnamed former senior player:
"CA has become about numbers/commercial and have lost connection with the human element of what they are charged to steward. Relationships have become secondary to the 'deal' whatever that might be and therefore the spirit of the game gets lost."
There was this comment, on page 74, also from a former senior player:
"CA doesn’t show respect a lot of the time and needs to be changed ASAP."
And there was this, from the authors of the review on on page 84:
"Many see CA as an environment where people struggle to say ‘no’ to people in positions of power and influence."
A quote from a state administrator on the same page illustrates the failings inherent in the above point:
"Bancroft should have said no [to ball-tampering], but he had no foundation on which to say no whatsoever."
It's interesting that 20 of the 41 recommendations in the review apply to CA itself, rather than to the national team or to Australian cricket more broadly. To put it in cricket terms, this is a body in need of some throwdowns in the ethical nets. For example, recommendation 22 suggests:
"The Board of CA be subject to the organisation’s Code of Conduct."
On page seven, the executive summary of the report said:
"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."
That, right there, is the crux of all this. Stakeholders who responded to the review have clearly indicated that CA's corporate culture has failed on several levels. So does anyone pay with their job -- or at the very least, a demotion, as Smith and Warner did?
In recent times, there has been high turnover at CA. National coach Darren Lehmann went shorty after the scandal. Long-serving CEO James Sutherland announced his plans to quit shortly afterwards. High performance manager Pat Howard recently said he would step away.
As yet, however, no one who wears a suit to work rather than sporting gear has been sanctioned.
Meanwhile, David Peever was re-elected as CA chairman at last Thursday's AGM.
One of the best questions at Monday's press conference came from a Melbourne journalist who asked why the AGM might not have been pushed back a week or so.
It was a fair point.
Peever called the events of South Africa "a silver lining" which gave Cricket Australia a chance to look at itself.
So it's looking. But how will it act?