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Cricket Australia's culture review: the day in ten points

The main points from a day where the problems facing Australian cricket were laid bare

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
Australian Test Captain Tim Paine (L) and Co Vice-Captain Josh Hazlewood present the player review during a Cricket Australia press conference, Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

Australia captain Tim Paine and vice captain Josh Hazlewood present the player review at the CA press conference  •  Getty Images

After a day of some hard truths for Australian cricket, as the outcomes of two reviews were delivered in Melbourne, here is a recap of the main points
- Independent reviews of Cricket Australia and the Australian men's team, conducted by Simon Longstaff and Rick McCosker, found that in chasing higher performance on and off the field, the governing body and its showpiece team lost sight of the spirit of cricket.
- The pursuit of higher performance on the field and more efficient governance off it was linked to the Argus review of team performance and the Crawford/Carter review of governance, both delivered in 2011.
- These reviews helped enhance a CA system that resulted in record financial returns and reasonable amounts of success from weaker national teams than those of the preceding era, but also a developing culture of arrogance and control, both at the national and team performance level and also the governance and stakeholder management level, with state associations, the players' association and corporate partners and broadcasters.
- The spirit of cricket, deemed intrinsic to previous editions of CA's strategy, was omitted from the 2017 edition, replaced by a 'How We Play' statement that talked of "smashing the boundaries" among other things. At the same time a set of guiding principles for the men's national team 'The Australian Way', made no mention of respect for opponents or umpires.
- Survey respondents pointed out that CA has become "arrogant" and "controlling", and that the national team had countenanced forms of cheating as "playing hard to win", while the wider organisation had allowed for instances of bullying under the cloak of "tough negotiations".
- The review stated, "One of the most significant findings of this review is that the perceived causes of the ball-tampering incident at Newlands significantly overlap with the perceived current state of cricket in Australia. That is, the evidence suggests that Newlands was not an aberration - a cultural 'outlier'."
- It went on, "Rather, it is an extreme example of a latent tendency growing out of the prevailing culture of men's cricket in Australia - especially (but not exclusively) at the elite level. As it happens, this fits with the opinions of keen observers of Australian cricket who report, with considerable regret (and perhaps the benefit of hindsight), that the events in Newland were 'disappointing but not surprising'."
- The review goes on to outline a set of "shadow values and principles" that more accurately define CA, as opposed to the ideals expressed in the Australian Cricket Strategy and its 'How We Play' section. These include things like: "COMMAND AND CONTROL, "ONLY RESULTS MATTER", "AUSTRALIA NEEDS US TO WIN, "POPULARITY MATTERS", "INDIVIDUAL FIRST", "COMBATIVENESS AND AGGRESSION IS GOOD", "UNLEASH THE BEAST", "KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN", and "WE'RE GREAT ON DIVERSITY"
- A series of 42 recommendations made by the review include the forming of a permanent Ethics Commission for Australian cricket with three members on the panel, the twice annual meeting of an Australian Cricket Council comprising CA, states, the players and the umpires, and rapid action to improve relations between CA and the ACA. CA has accepted these recommendations.
- Among the recommendations CA has not accepted are the removal of Test and ODI players from consideration for the T20 team to allow them to play more state cricket, and the suggestion that the Minutes of CA board meetings be made public. CA's chairman David Peever has insisted he will retain his position until the state associations tell him otherwise and that the bans of David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft will not be overturned.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig