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My family is more important to me than cricket.
Over the course of the past nearly five years since the events that occurred during the Third Test in Cape Town, even with all the humiliation and attacks that they have had to endure, I have enjoyed the unwavering support and love of my wife Candice and my three daughters, Ivy Mae, Indi Rae, and Isla Rose. They are my world.
Since that Test and even though my ban from leadership roles may never be lifted, I have taken it upon myself to reform, to rehabilitate and to transform my approach to the game.
I have served and been subject to a crushing, unprecedented, penalty that has horribly impacted me and my family for the past nearly five years without the prospect of any relief until now.
On 21 November 2022, the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel (the Code of Conduct) was amended to permit players to apply for a modification to Long-Term Sanctions.
With the announcement of the amendment to the Code of Conduct, I held the hope and was encouraged, that I would be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate to the Review Panel that I have demonstrated my deep regret and remorse; and that my rehabilitation and transformation are profound.
With the encouragement of administrators and colleagues and in accordance with the rules under the Code of Conduct, on 25 November 2022 I submitted an application to Cricket Australia for a modification to my life-time ban from leadership positions in cricket. I did so in good faith on the understanding that regular established procedures under the Code of Conduct would be followed.
I hoped I would be given the opportunity, under the established practice and procedure of the Code of Conduct that is reflected in the amendments, to demonstrate that I have satisfied the necessary requirements for a modification to my ban and that I might be permitted to see out the balance of my career without the yoke hanging around my neck and further anguish for my family.
However, despite my opposition and that of Cricket Australia, on Tuesday last week Counsel Assisting the Review Panel and the Review Panel took it upon themselves to concoct an irregular procedure (overturning presumptions and previous practice) for the determination of my application and establish a novel approach that would negatively impact the health and welfare of my family and the interests of the Australian cricket team.
In his submissions, Counsel Assisting made offensive and unhelpful comments about me that had absolutely no substantive purpose under the Code of Conduct.
Regrettably, the Review Panel acted contrary to the submissions of Cricket Australia and my lawyer and appeared to adopt virtually entirely the position of Counsel Assisting.
In effect, Counsel Assisting, and, it appears, to some extent the Review Panel, want to conduct a public trial of me and what occurred during the Third Test at Newlands. They want to conduct a public spectacle to, in the Panel's words, have a "cleansing". I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket's dirty laundry.
The Rules of the Code of Conduct in relation to applications such as mine are clear. Article 10.7 states that the hearing is not an appeal of the original decision or a new review of the offence.
Counsel Assisting the Review Panel appeared to be determined to revisit the events of March 2018 and the Review Panel appears determined to expose me and my family to further humiliation and harm by conducting a media circus.
I note that the engagement of Counsel Assisting was terminated. Nonetheless, following the curiously irregular position adopted by the Review Panel, and in the interests of my family and Australian cricket, last Thursday I submitted a request for the Review Panel to revisit their procedural decision and at least apply a protocol that is consistent with established practice and procedure under the Code of Conduct. That request had the support of Cricket Australia.
Having had nearly a week to consider that proposal, today the Review Panel has decided to ignore the request in any meaningful way and has provided a dismissive rejection of the substantive matters. It appears that the Panel has given no more than passing consideration to issues of player welfare and the interests of Australian cricket and is instead determined to conduct a public lynching.
Regrettably, I have no practical alternative at this point in time but to withdraw my application. I am not prepared to subject my family or my teammates to further trauma and disruption by accepting a departure from the way in which my application should be dealt with pursuant to the Code of Conduct.
Some things are more important than cricket.