The findings from the cultural review into Australian cricket that was initiated by Cricket Australia in the wake of the Cape Town ball tampering scandal have been released – and the results are damning. The report is highly critical of the culture of both the men’s cricket team and the CA board, and blames the increasingly toxic culture of the team on changes made by the board.
The report says that the ball tampering scandal concocted by David Warner and Cameron Bancroft was not a behavioural outlier, but rather was the result of the continual growth and reinforcement of a culture where the only value was winning, without counting the cost of success.
There has seemingly been little responsibility taken by the CA board, with Chairman David Peever standing for re-election (and winning) last week – just before the release of the review. Peever claimed to take full responsibility for the events in South Africa, but this has clearly not extended to any penalties.
A number of recommendations also address complaints that cricket fans have had for some time. One is that the Australian Cricketers Association (the players union) and CA establish a constructive relationship following last year’s pay dispute.
It also recommends linking bonuses to engagement with cricket fans and grassroots cricket, rather than just on-field success. Awards for top cricketers should take character into account, and umpires need to be given more power to deal with bullying and sledging behaviour.
In terms of leadership the report suggests specialist training for players in leadership positions, and that the position of vice-captain be given to someone who will be able to support the current captain, rather than a rival for the position.
Linking the test team more strongly with grassroots cricket is another priority for the report. It recommends that test players play at least two Sheffield Shield and one grade match each year, even if this comes at the cost of missing T20 matches.