Qantas Tour of South Africa

Cricket probe takes multi-lens approach

CA chairman outlines details of two seperate reviews into Australian cricket in wake of ball tampering saga

Andrew Ramsey

06 April 2018, 06:18 PM

Just as myriad elements make up cricket’s Decision Review System to ensure on-field decisions reduce fallibility as much as is practical, Cricket Australia will take a multi-lens approach to scrutinise the processes, policies and personalities that led the game to one of its darkest places.

In revealing the steps that will follow the investigation into the ball-tampering incident that stunned a global sporting community, then the sanctions that have been accepted by the three players deemed to be involved, CA chairman David Peever announced complementary reviews will be launched.

The first, a broad examination of cultural, organisational and governance factors that placed the men’s Test team on a trajectory whereby three of its members – captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft – were found to have cheated will be the subject of an independent inquiry.

The identity of the person chosen from outside cricket administration to head the review is yet to be determined, and neither are its terms of reference drafted.

But CA are calling on individuals and organisations who have embarked on similar forensic endeavours in the wake of watershed events to share their insights and experitise.

To help build a composite picture of the path Australian cricket travelled to reach that seismic impact point in Cape Town, and to project the direction things take from there.

Ball tracking, if you like.

But running alongside that process, and informing the final recommendations it will deliver within a timeframe yet to be detailed other than “expeditiously”, will be a player-focused review that scrutinises the specific effects of on-field factors.

A procedure chaired by acknowledged former Test straight-shooter Rick McCosker who is likely to be working in conjunction with (as-yet-unnamed) past and present players to pinpoint the areas where the game’s aspirations and actualities might potentially diverge.

And to put in place measures to help lessen those risks.

Peever details player impact in wide-ranging review

To identify where players might over-reach (as does the front-foot camera), find themselves in conflict with the game’s laws (hot spot and snicko) and even unwittingly (or otherwise) flout its spirit in the heat of battle (super slo-mo of disputed low catches).

A possible product of this stand-alone process which runs in parallel to the independent review will be a players’ charter to which all senior men’s teams will ultimately subscribe, and which could also lead to a revision of codes of conduct by which all players are bound.

Although today’s announcement stops short of the top-down review of all cricket which the Australian Cricketers’ Association proposed should take submissions from government agencies through to members of the public, Peever confirmed the ACA will be welcome to provide input.

And he confirmed the scope of the independent review will cover the role of CA’s board and administration in the evolution of cultural factors that led to members of the nation’s most high-profile sporting outfit acknowledge they had knowingly cheated.

“I’m speaking on behalf of the board, and clearly this happened on my watch, and our watch, and clearly we accept responsibility,” Peever told a media conference in Brisbane today.

“I think we’re all going to come under the microscope in terms of what is occurring back in the organisation that might have contributed to this.

“But circumstances like this are not the time for witch hunts.

“I know people in these circumstances call for everybody to be sacked - clearly, that isn’t going to solve any problems.

“What we must do now is work on the issues that we have, and we take responsibility for fixing them and making them better.”

Peever pointed to the decision to appoint an independent party to oversee the broad review as evidence that CA were not effectively investigating themselves, and added that neither process was expected to re-examine details of the Cape Town incident that was investigated in the days after it happened.

He also endorsed CA Chief Executive James Sutherland who – along with Peever – has faced questions about his tenure in the wake of the ball-tampering revelations that have drawn opprobrium from around the world, and from Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

“James Sutherland’s position is not under review, he continues to retain the full support of the (CA) Board,” Peever said.

“James is an outstanding executive who again, in this crisis, has done an outstanding job.

“In respect of my own position, I don’t intend to step down and that hasn’t been suggested by the Board.

“It’s our job now to fix this issue, and rectify any lost faith out there in the Australian community.”

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Peever, who joined the CA Board in 2012 and was appointed Chairman three years later – shortly after Smith was confirmed as Test captain and Warner his deputy – noted that while the sanctions imposed on the three players were needed to send a clear message, so they should also be offered the prospect of redemption.

He said that despite Warner being hit with the heftiest penalty in the wake of the investigation by CA’s Senior Legal Counsel and Head of Integrity, Iain Roy, he (Peever) did not believe “it was at all a mistake to make David (Warner) vice-captain”.

And while he noted that the sanctions imposed allowed the three banned players the hope of resuming their international careers, should form and circumstances allow, he also conceded that process has some way to run.

“We, at Cricket Australia and Cricket New South Wales in the case of Steve and David, and the WACA in the case of Cameron, and the ACA will be working well to make sure that we wrap the structures around these young men,” Peever said.

“To make sure they’re able to rebuild their careers and come back strongly.

“But it’s a long journey, their lives have been turned upside down.”

ACA President Greg Dyer tonight reiterated his call for an even wider review into the culture of Australian cricket that examined all levels and structures of the game, and added that the players’ union should be installed as a formal partner in any broad-ranging inquiry.

"CA establishing its own review, selecting the reviewer and then having the findings of the review issued to itself - particularly as it relates to its own corporate culture - is far from transparent,” Dyer said in a media statement issued this evening.

"It is also far from independent.

"We again call for the review to be commissioned by a joint panel made up of both CA and ACA representatives.”