Australia news October 24, 2013

Sutherland to stay even if Ashes lost 5-0

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James Sutherland's 12-year-old tenure as chief executive of Cricket Australia is so secure that not even a 5-0 defeat to England at home in the forthcoming Ashes series would be enough to remove him, the CA chairman, Wally Edwards, has said.

Following an AGM in Melbourne, CA laid out a strong financial position, to the point that the game's governors have set up a future fund that will peak at A$70 million in reserves. Edwards launched a fierce defence of his chief executive, with Sutherland himself rebuking Ricky Ponting's contention that the organisation lacked vision and ignored requests for greater forward thinking when the national team was strong.

Edwards confirmed that Sutherland was under contract until June 2015 following that year's World Cup, and that nothing would stop him from seeing out that term. "We want to see continued improvement," Edwards said. "If we lost the series 5-0, James Sutherland will still be the CEO of Australian cricket, and James is contracted through to June 2015 after the World Cup, and there will not be any changes in that situation, regardless of the way we perform on the field this summer.

"I don't know where the stories are coming from but they're not real in our world. I can reaffirm there is absolutely no discontent whatsoever with James' performance, and I'm bewildered where the story's come from, but you would understand that better than me. We're very confident where we're going. We have a solid plan and it's not just a plan for a quick fix, it's a plan for continued high performance of our men's and women's sides."

Sutherland defended his own position and that of the team performance manager Pat Howard, following comments by former coach Mickey Arthur that both men, alongside the captain Michael Clarke, would be under enormous pressure for their jobs should the Ashes be lost. But he saved his most pointed responses for Ponting's contention that CA had not responded to the requests of coaches and players to buttress the national team against coming storms when Australia was still the world's undisputed No.1.

"Over six years up to that time [2012] we grew from $39 million dollars to $75 million of investment in high performance and elite teams, which includes player payments," Sutherland said. "Take player payments out of that, $7 million grew to $19 million in and around the team. That is not the sign of an organisation that is failing to invest in high performance activities.

"Ricky Ponting had no budget responsibility, and he didn't have any sort of view as to what the budget was. He wouldn't know. There might be things along the way he is looking for. In that same period the number of staff with the Australian team doubled. I'm not getting into a tit for tat conversation about Ricky Ponting. We will have our own private conversations as we have, and we understand each other very well. We are on very good terms."

When questioned on what goals were set for the improvement of the national team over the coming summer, Sutherland said that while he was naturally intent on ensuring that the Ashes be regained, there was a bigger picture to be aware of. Edwards and Sutherland have overseen major governance reform in Australian cricket, while also attempting to ensure the game is as well placed as possible to fight for talent and support in what the chief executive regards as the world's most competitive sporting landscape.

"It's not just about the team," Sutherland said. "What I am responsible for and what the management of Australian cricket is responsible for, which includes the state and territory cricket associations, is the strategy for Australian cricket, and delivering on all of those things. We've got an increasingly complex business in a highly competitive market. There's no other country in the world that has as much competitiveness for sport entertainment and elite talent as what there is in Australia.

"Therefore our strategy and the delivery of that strategy is incredibly important. We can only achieve the potential for our sport if we have all the moving parts going in the same direction. That's why the unification process for Australian cricket that we are going through right now is so important.

"We are very confident that with Wally as chairman and him working closely with state boards, and me working closely with the management teams of state associations, that we're going in the right direction. And I include cricket performance as well. This is not just business speak. This is talking about state associations taking responsibility for the development of cricket, [so] that [they] are ready to play cricket for Australia and win cricket matches."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | October 26, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, do England look certain to win? After the last Ashes performance, I'd say it's up for grabs. As for empty stadiums, obviously you don't recollect the way Lord's and the Oval were prior to 2005 when against Aus you could walk in on day 1 and get a ticket on the gate for about £10!

  • POSTED BY on | October 26, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Sutherland should go even if we win 5-0!!

  • POSTED BY johnnybox on | October 26, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    Dear Wally. So you "don't know where all those stories are coming from but they're not real in our world". My goodness. Your world must be at the beach because your head is obviously in the sand. Even blind Freddy can see that the only thing that appears of any importance to CA and especially its CEO is the financial statement.

  • POSTED BY shirl on | October 25, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    I am nervous "we grew from $39 million dollars to $75 million of investment" that is not even real solid money, it is figures & judgements on players that are not performing well.....This is the basis to keep the heads of CA???? Judging the state of Australian Men's Cricket on fake dollars instead of solid victories and successful world standing is just awful. Said before, say agin, dump them all & bring in young blood.....

  • POSTED BY Sigismund on | October 25, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    This guy is so obviously a major part of the problem. He may even be the architect. I am utterly baffled as to why he hasn't yet been hounded out; what's up with you Baggygreenlanders? Whatever happens, it is going to be a while before Australia has a team of serious quality again - but this is more important than that. These fellows are enemies to the Game in Australia; they are literally pimping it out. You need to remind them that the blessed Game "ain't their ho".

  • POSTED BY NAP73 on | October 25, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    So I have to wait until mid-2015 before I start following and watching the Aussie cricket team in earnest again. Oh well, at least I have a more definitive date now. I am amazed at how management lives in fantasy land all the time. Short term profit does not breed sustainability. Then again, many companies do the same thing.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 25, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    It's that time of the year again, when England look certain to beat Australia in the Ashes in their own back yard, and Australia squirm, this time pretending it'll all be ok if they lose 5-0. No amount of wriggling will save them from yet another Ashes defeat it seems, this time with all the Australian press corps looking on. It's going to be another emty stadium affair (as is traditional in sport over there when the national team loses). Who could forget all those rows of seats empty last time as Oz support melted away like n ice cream in the middle of summer. I hope there's more support this series.

  • POSTED BY Rocketman1 on | October 25, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    Well done James. You running of a business is excellent and your financial skills are clearly reflected on your balance sheet. Does Cricket Australia have an Operations Manager? They clearly need one with the way their employees (players) are managed and the way they perform.

  • POSTED BY Skittled on | October 25, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    CA= Complete arrogance and disdain for fans. They better put all that money aside and use it to purchase some fans when they all stop watching. I'm not going to watch at the Gabba this year, will watch a bit on TV but my level of interest is waning

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | October 25, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    To think we thought the problem stopped at him, seems clear now that it extends beyond even the Chief Executive and is a pervasive weakness in governance. What also doesn't make sense is how the national coach can then be so easily sacked given the leniency on the executives? Ridiculous... feel ashamed as an Australian to have such a group of individuals administration our country's cricket interests.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | October 26, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge, do England look certain to win? After the last Ashes performance, I'd say it's up for grabs. As for empty stadiums, obviously you don't recollect the way Lord's and the Oval were prior to 2005 when against Aus you could walk in on day 1 and get a ticket on the gate for about £10!

  • POSTED BY on | October 26, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Sutherland should go even if we win 5-0!!

  • POSTED BY johnnybox on | October 26, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    Dear Wally. So you "don't know where all those stories are coming from but they're not real in our world". My goodness. Your world must be at the beach because your head is obviously in the sand. Even blind Freddy can see that the only thing that appears of any importance to CA and especially its CEO is the financial statement.

  • POSTED BY shirl on | October 25, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    I am nervous "we grew from $39 million dollars to $75 million of investment" that is not even real solid money, it is figures & judgements on players that are not performing well.....This is the basis to keep the heads of CA???? Judging the state of Australian Men's Cricket on fake dollars instead of solid victories and successful world standing is just awful. Said before, say agin, dump them all & bring in young blood.....

  • POSTED BY Sigismund on | October 25, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    This guy is so obviously a major part of the problem. He may even be the architect. I am utterly baffled as to why he hasn't yet been hounded out; what's up with you Baggygreenlanders? Whatever happens, it is going to be a while before Australia has a team of serious quality again - but this is more important than that. These fellows are enemies to the Game in Australia; they are literally pimping it out. You need to remind them that the blessed Game "ain't their ho".

  • POSTED BY NAP73 on | October 25, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    So I have to wait until mid-2015 before I start following and watching the Aussie cricket team in earnest again. Oh well, at least I have a more definitive date now. I am amazed at how management lives in fantasy land all the time. Short term profit does not breed sustainability. Then again, many companies do the same thing.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | October 25, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    It's that time of the year again, when England look certain to beat Australia in the Ashes in their own back yard, and Australia squirm, this time pretending it'll all be ok if they lose 5-0. No amount of wriggling will save them from yet another Ashes defeat it seems, this time with all the Australian press corps looking on. It's going to be another emty stadium affair (as is traditional in sport over there when the national team loses). Who could forget all those rows of seats empty last time as Oz support melted away like n ice cream in the middle of summer. I hope there's more support this series.

  • POSTED BY Rocketman1 on | October 25, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    Well done James. You running of a business is excellent and your financial skills are clearly reflected on your balance sheet. Does Cricket Australia have an Operations Manager? They clearly need one with the way their employees (players) are managed and the way they perform.

  • POSTED BY Skittled on | October 25, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    CA= Complete arrogance and disdain for fans. They better put all that money aside and use it to purchase some fans when they all stop watching. I'm not going to watch at the Gabba this year, will watch a bit on TV but my level of interest is waning

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | October 25, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    To think we thought the problem stopped at him, seems clear now that it extends beyond even the Chief Executive and is a pervasive weakness in governance. What also doesn't make sense is how the national coach can then be so easily sacked given the leniency on the executives? Ridiculous... feel ashamed as an Australian to have such a group of individuals administration our country's cricket interests.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | October 25, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    Australia had some great leaders for a while. AB, Taylor, Waugh, with Bobby Simpson and Marsh as coaches. These were men you could look up to you, even if you didn't like them. I'm afraid Ponting, Nielsen, Clarke and Arthur just weren't made of the same stuff to put it politely. In other words, we have a leadership crisis in Australian Cricket that has been developing over the last decade or so. Sutherland and the CA board are good examples of it. Putting the romance of the game aside, even from a business stand point the fact that they are taking no responsibility for the rapidly declining quality of their product is absolutely disgraceful.

  • POSTED BY scarab666 on | October 25, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    So.....it'll be at least 2016 before we see any improvement in Australian cricket. How arrogant is this CEO James Sutherland......for a start, in order to make money you need a great product and that means our cricket players, which he neglected to build upon. He cashed in on the T20 craze way too late and in doing so missed the boat. As for high performance, this is a joke in its implementation and so far has delivered little in the way of batsmen and the bowlers are undisciplined and breaking down constantly........

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | October 24, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    If my maths is correct it appears player payments have doubled from 2006-2012. So it looks like CA have given us a new generation of underperforming and overpaid cricketers.

  • POSTED BY whoster on | October 24, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    If I were an Aussie, I'd be horrified at the way Sutherland cites money as the answer to building a strong side. Having stacks of money ensures having lots of coaches, back-room-staff, facilities etc. - but that doesn't automatically mean they'll become a better Test side. Sutherland hardly exhibits confidence and authority when he talks, either. I remember his press conference in England when Mickey Arthur was sacked - he didn't have a clue what to say. As for Wally Edwards saying his job's safe even if the Aussies lose 5-0 - I'd imagine the Aussie public will be extremely annoyed and angry at hearing that.

  • POSTED BY 64blip on | October 24, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    Sport is in part about competition: to have winners there must be losers. So when the boot finally appeared on England's foot I didn't feel sorry for the Aussie fans. But this? In a way it just echoes all the boardrooms around the globe in the 21st century: the buck stops a long way from here. If there's a decline it's being 'managed' admirably by the board and they are putting the necessary steps in place to secure the future. To see this amount of arrogance displayed is exceptional however.

  • POSTED BY Bonehead_maz on | October 24, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    "Take player payments out of that, $7 million grew to $19 million in and around the team.......... In that same period the number of staff with the Australian team doubled." Can we get Mike Brearley to run CA ? Might make even more money LOL

  • POSTED BY Tlotoxl on | October 24, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    ROTFLMAO.

    As an English fan I was mildly concerned about the tour but you know I am now confident of matching or bettering last Ashes in Aus.

  • POSTED BY makeshift on | October 24, 2013, 17:40 GMT

    Is this the same Aussie- They have already conceded defeat 5-0 before even the series have started

    What a shame!!!

  • POSTED BY StrangeWays on | October 24, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Lol... So you got the money... Perhaps you can use it to buy a team.. If cricket was soccer you could buy one decent player! Money can't buy you happiness... Ask any aus cricket fan does he want money or to be happy with his team? Pretty sure they'd want a winning team.

  • POSTED BY Showbags88 on | October 24, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    If other codes are any indication, the board coming out and backing someone so strongly in public often means that behind the scenes they are sharpening the knives. And we can only hope this is true as Sutherland has been an absolute godsend for Cricket...................in England.

  • POSTED BY azzaman333 on | October 24, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Let me get this right. Ponting's criticism was that CA was too focused on building a strong financial side of things, regardless of the consequences to the strength of the national team. And Sutherland's defense is that we've built a good financial platform?! Incredible...

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | October 24, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Who is in charge of international fixtures? We have the biggest series coming up, a return Ashes.

    Yes several Shield games to practice, warm up, see which players are in form are an excellent idea. Pity we are playing a pointless ODI series in India and Ryobi cup instead.

    I think the extended BBL instead of Shield games is an excellent idea for the long-term development of cricket, I really do (cough).

  • POSTED BY Biso on | October 24, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Punter might have been right in his opinions. But, it must be admitted that managing a board and planning out it's future will need far different set of skills than Ponting's or for that matter any great player can muster. It is in fact too early to pass judgement. The media is perhaps making it look worse than it actually is. I smell the media twisting statements out of context.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    perhaps we need to get rid of Wally as well if he's going to be a "Wally" & say something like this, after what Ponting had to say the other day about Sutherland the guy should be gone before the Ashes, how blind are CA at the moment? honestly....

  • POSTED BY TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on | October 24, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Ricky is right. The fact that Aus is playing ODI cricket in foreign conditions immediately prior to a home Ashes series, again (!!!), says everything we need to know about CA's and Sutherland's priorities and incompetence.

    Sack Sutherland after the Ashes even if it is a 5-0 win for Aus.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | October 24, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    It's not looking good, but we havn't given them enough time after the Argus review to see where Australian Cricket is really going. After this Ashes, the series in SA, T20 and ODI World Cups we will have a good idea and we can judge them then.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    0-5 seems likely result. Oz can't bat, can't bowl and have no coherent selection policy.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    the fact that CA is vary of 5-0 defeat in ashes at homegrounds no less should tell u the state of australian cricket these days. i find it amusing that some aussie fans are so optimistic about the impending ashes because deep down they know they are a mediocre team nowadays and england will win 4th ashes in a row. anyways,good luck to australia ,hope they be competitve ;atleast for few games.

  • POSTED BY David_Boon on | October 24, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Wow. How pathetic. If it wasn't obvious by their actions, this clown's words have confirmed that all they care about is money. And Pat Howard has done nothing but bring the team down with his high school level management theories. Sutherland is a joke. If all they care about is money I will simply avoid going to the games this summer. And I'll watch them on my computer with a stream from India, their commentators and broadcast quality are far superior to CH9 anyway.

  • POSTED BY Canvey26 on | October 24, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    So it's all about the money then? ok get it now, arise Sir Sutherland

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 24, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    I think they are completely out of their minds to come up with a statement like this. CA is letting us down for sure.

  • POSTED BY Adoh on | October 24, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    If it wasn't so predictably sad, it would be amusing. The defensive stance of Wally Edwards is typical of a text-book leader threatened by the suggestion they have no vision. The text book says they must have vision, therefore they have it, really they do.

  • POSTED BY BatsmanWhoBowls on | October 24, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Too even suggest such an event is pathetic. Australia can win the Ashes, but in the hypothetical circumstance of them losing 0-5, the Australian cricket community, fans, players and former players wouldn't stand for it. The sheer weight of outrage would bury the CEO, Sutherland, Inverarity and every other pen-pusher involved in the disintegration of Australian cricket. People are trying to suggest Clarke's in trouble, but the public tend to sympathize with him; his stats from last year show he's fighting a batting almost by himself (although whether or not his lack of partner is a result of his actions is obviously debatable), and unlike other captains whose teams lost consistently (ie, Kim Hughes), he's not a part of the collapsing batting lineup.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Many of us have names which are misnomers. Career of Marcus North went south. That of Tim Southie went north. So, I am not surprised that acceptance of Suther(n)land , as CA's leader will continue to fly in the Northern direction, instead of just remaining in the southern lands.

    Similarly, will Inverarity ("Inverse") continue to invariably lead the selection process, even if the performance of many he may chose may turn out to be 'inverse' to the expectations?

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    If we lose 5-0, there may be a public revolt and they wouldn't get a say in the matter :P

  • POSTED BY PutMarshyOn on | October 24, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Unbelievable. So the defence is that CA has plenty of money. Excellent.

  • POSTED BY Adoh on | October 24, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    All the focus is as Ricky suggested, on making money. When will the dawn break and the realisation sink in that governance never made a good team. It's the desire to be a national hero that drives young talent. When the focus is on the money, our losing team will not produce heros.

  • POSTED BY adamtwittey on | October 24, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    This affirmation really confirms what Cricket Australia's priorities are at the moment. Especially, the defence of Pat Howard - "team performance manager" - is just illogical. The team performance has been terrible, undeniably. Players have been sacked, the coach has been sacked and now it's the time for Howard's position to be looked at critically. If that critical review isn't undertaken, then the blame must lie with Sutherland. Sutherland's claims may be right in that there are more new fans being brought to cricket through the Big Bash, but the Big Bash is becoming less and less about the cricket. One could easily argue that these new fans don't really enjoy the cricket. There may be new faux-fans being brought to the "cricket", but the real fans are the ones who are being let down.

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  • POSTED BY adamtwittey on | October 24, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    This affirmation really confirms what Cricket Australia's priorities are at the moment. Especially, the defence of Pat Howard - "team performance manager" - is just illogical. The team performance has been terrible, undeniably. Players have been sacked, the coach has been sacked and now it's the time for Howard's position to be looked at critically. If that critical review isn't undertaken, then the blame must lie with Sutherland. Sutherland's claims may be right in that there are more new fans being brought to cricket through the Big Bash, but the Big Bash is becoming less and less about the cricket. One could easily argue that these new fans don't really enjoy the cricket. There may be new faux-fans being brought to the "cricket", but the real fans are the ones who are being let down.

  • POSTED BY Adoh on | October 24, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    All the focus is as Ricky suggested, on making money. When will the dawn break and the realisation sink in that governance never made a good team. It's the desire to be a national hero that drives young talent. When the focus is on the money, our losing team will not produce heros.

  • POSTED BY PutMarshyOn on | October 24, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Unbelievable. So the defence is that CA has plenty of money. Excellent.

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    If we lose 5-0, there may be a public revolt and they wouldn't get a say in the matter :P

  • POSTED BY on | October 24, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Many of us have names which are misnomers. Career of Marcus North went south. That of Tim Southie went north. So, I am not surprised that acceptance of Suther(n)land , as CA's leader will continue to fly in the Northern direction, instead of just remaining in the southern lands.

    Similarly, will Inverarity ("Inverse") continue to invariably lead the selection process, even if the performance of many he may chose may turn out to be 'inverse' to the expectations?

  • POSTED BY BatsmanWhoBowls on | October 24, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Too even suggest such an event is pathetic. Australia can win the Ashes, but in the hypothetical circumstance of them losing 0-5, the Australian cricket community, fans, players and former players wouldn't stand for it. The sheer weight of outrage would bury the CEO, Sutherland, Inverarity and every other pen-pusher involved in the disintegration of Australian cricket. People are trying to suggest Clarke's in trouble, but the public tend to sympathize with him; his stats from last year show he's fighting a batting almost by himself (although whether or not his lack of partner is a result of his actions is obviously debatable), and unlike other captains whose teams lost consistently (ie, Kim Hughes), he's not a part of the collapsing batting lineup.

  • POSTED BY Adoh on | October 24, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    If it wasn't so predictably sad, it would be amusing. The defensive stance of Wally Edwards is typical of a text-book leader threatened by the suggestion they have no vision. The text book says they must have vision, therefore they have it, really they do.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | October 24, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    I think they are completely out of their minds to come up with a statement like this. CA is letting us down for sure.

  • POSTED BY Canvey26 on | October 24, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    So it's all about the money then? ok get it now, arise Sir Sutherland

  • POSTED BY David_Boon on | October 24, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Wow. How pathetic. If it wasn't obvious by their actions, this clown's words have confirmed that all they care about is money. And Pat Howard has done nothing but bring the team down with his high school level management theories. Sutherland is a joke. If all they care about is money I will simply avoid going to the games this summer. And I'll watch them on my computer with a stream from India, their commentators and broadcast quality are far superior to CH9 anyway.