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My two cents on the review into Cricket Australia’s culture

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

The Ethics Centre’s review on the culture of Cricket Australia was published on Monday (29th October), and it has struck fear in me, as well as other Australian Cricket fans. Of course, the way Cricket Australia went about things over the last few years was always in question, and on the back of the events of Cape Town, it is there for the world to see.

But, should winning be the opportunity cost for a change?

No less than 145 pages make up the report, containing 42 culture review recommendations for Cricket Australia. 2018 is a year that has been challenging for Australian Cricket, but could very well be one that we look back on and say ‘that needed to happen’.

However, has the review swung things too far in the opposite direction, headlined by a ‘cringeworthy’ Player Pact?

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What comes of this will be most interesting.

Reading parts of this review has resembled treating adults like they are children at school, and has seemingly put winning further down the pecking order. The review recommends red cards for “abusive” sledging, but what constitutes an abusive sledge? If I comment on the way a bloke plays his cover drive, is that a warning? What constitutes the ‘line’ that even the review struggles to address?

Personally, three big things stand out in a rotten culture, which CA unfortunately was not only ignorant towards, but the cause of. The review, though, is disregarding performance quite significantly.

The first is playing the “victim” card, after being the first to dish it out then cry foul when the same is done in return. Darren Lehmann cried foul earlier this year in South Africa, and the cricketing world laughed at us, after he called for Australia to send Stuart Broad home “crying” in 2013. David Warner walked off the field (bless) in a Sydney Grade Cricket match on Saturday, and we all laughed. A strong culture says that if you are dishing it out, expect it in return and get on with the job. What strong culture says “let’s give it to everyone, but get mad if we get it in return”? It was happening for too long. CA turned a blind eye.

The second is when a man like Mickey Arthur – a fine coach in many respects – wasn’t loving life to the full in the Australian set up. According to the current Pakistan coach, everyone felt they were untouchable. “We are the Australian cricket team. We can do what we want.” The solution for CA was drive the importance of being humble, from the top. They didn’t.

Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft face the media in Cape Town

The third is where there is a complete lack of accountability at executive level. It took a ball tampering incident for CA to wake up, and then they admitted responsibility in creating a poor culture. Then, only a small portion of players and executives actually took time to complete the survey. Why is there a reactive approach? Now, we are all wondering if heads will roll like Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Unfortunately, CA didn’t do anything about this earlier, and we now face a review that risks having Australian Cricket flip upside down.

The result? Hard-hitting sledging to Player Pacts. The public has never asked for this, and Michael Vaughan labeled it as “cringeworthy”. He has a point. What Australia must never lose is the mindset to play hard and win, giving their absolute all in every game. The disappointing performances in the UAE, following the magnificent first Test escape in Dubai, needs more than just a Players Pact to improve the mood of fans.

It was a very tough UAE tour for Australia

Now, we are at risk of seeing Australia not minding if they lose, as long as it’s all rainbows and roses on the field. The review talks about promoting grassroots cricket, but at the expense of the national team, asking for players to sit out matches to go play state and grade games. Promoting grassroots cricket can be done in other ways, such as having national and state players attend training sessions and organise “workshop” like days with kids.

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Cricket should be played hard but fair, and winning should be of utmost importance. Drilling this into grassroots cricket is possible not only by having national players play two Shield and one Grade game a season. This is where the review misses the mark, and where CA needs to be strong about the direction it is heading in.

Now, the Australian Cricket Players Association has made clear of their desire to have the ball tampering bans lifted, as this was part of CA’s ignorance. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, as well as whether heads will roll at the top. Will chairman David Peever resign? Who at the top believes their positions are now untenable?

With this review, it is paramount CA works to improve its culture, but not at the expense of winning.

That is the balance they must strike.

Thanks for reading!

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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