On the eve of the public airing of Cricket Australia's cultural dirty laundry, the Board director Mark Taylor has declared that the state associations are welcome to decide on whether they want to dismiss the Board now that they have been given access to the reviews commissioned in the wake of the Newlands scandal.
Numerous questions were raised about the timing of events around CA's AGM last week, as state chief executives and chairmen sat through a full day's conference on Wednesday and the AGM itself on Thursday before they were shown the reviews conducted by Simon Longstaff and Rick McCosker.
At the AGM, David Peever was re-elected as chairman for a second consecutive three-year term, becoming the first man to do so since Denis Rogers from 1995 to 2001, and later said that the states had not seen the reviews yet because they had not been finished until Tuesday.
Speaking to Channel Nine on Sunday, Taylor, who after the retirement of the Tasmanian's Tony Harrison has become comfortably the longest-serving director, said there was nothing stopping the states exercising their constitutional right to make change at the top. This would involve calling for a vote, by which any directors, including the chairman, may be stood down by a two thirds vote of state delegates.
"I've heard that debate quite a lot of the last 10 days, and people are going to say that's what we should have done," Taylor said. "At the end of the day, the CA constitution still allows states and territories to get together if they think there's a need for a change at Board level, and that's me included, to do that.
"Whether it happens at an AGM or any time after, they are still more than within their rights under the constitution to do so. We've all been waiting to get this review out and I think tomorrow I'm very much looking forward to it, because I think all of us have had too much negativity around the game. Tomorrow is an opportunity to get it out there, people can make their own conclusions, and we can get on with thinking about the game next Sunday, the first men's game here in Australia."
Since extensive governance reform in 2012, CA has been led by nine independent directors, rather than the 14 state-appointed delegates that held sway for more than a century beforehand. State chairman have a say in the process of selecting directors via a nominations committee, but there has at times been friction over the degree to which CA have presented names for nomination rather than receiving them from the states.
Equally, there is fear about ramifications among the states, either individual or a collection, should they attempt to force change at Board level. Under CA's financial model, also changed in 2012, each state gets a guaranteed financial grant annually, but CA makes final decisions on the scheduling of matches and also the use of discretionary funding over and above the basic grant - NSW, Victoria and Queensland, the three most populous states, have been notable recent beneficiaries of extra funding to strengthen community cricket.
The Longstaff and McCosker reviews are set to be released publicly on Monday, and Taylor said their content would make for confronting reading. He also added that there were no fewer than 41 recommendations made for how CA needed to improve as an organisation, and forecast that a focus on improving relationships would be critical.
"I've seen the review. It'll be hard-hitting, confronting for CA and anyone who loves the game of cricket. [There are] 41 recommendations I think in the review," Taylor said. "In it, Simon Longstaff from the Ethics Centre, he talks about the review being needed to be read as a whole, so don't just take up the bits that are good for you.
"There's opportunity for everyone to have their say, hopefully their final say about what we should do, to move the game on. there's no doubt there's a mandate in these reviews for CA to make some change to get better at what we do, and also most importantly to get on with how we do business with people. We've got to get that better, there's no doubt about that."
Commenting on the banned batsman David Warner's walk-off from a Sydney club match after being subjected to personal sledging by Jason Hughes, the brother of the late Phillip Hughes, Taylor said he harboured genuine concerns for the future, given how many people are "talking down" the game. Especially on the eve of a summer in which Australia must cope without Warner, Steven Smith ad Cameron Bancroft, while also ushering in the first year of a new AUD 1.18 billion broadcast deal.
"I'm concerned about the whole mood around the game. Even in grade cricket now with people walking off the field, I don't enjoy seeing that," Taylor said. "Yes David and I have had disagreements about the way things have bee handled in the past, but sooner or later, everyone in cricket's got to get over it, we've got to start moving on.
"This is a terrific game, but I can't get over how many people are talking it down at the moment, and gee it worries me, it really worries me, because I think the vast majority of people out there just want to go to the game, just want to play it. I hear that from the players a lot, I hear that from the spectators. People need to start getting over themselves, their own little agendas they might have in the game, and start thinking about what's good for the game."