Ball tampering scandal was a ‘serious WTF moment’, says former Cricket Australia CEO
Former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland expressed regret at the ball tampering scandal that rocked the world of cricket earlier this year and called it a ‘serious WTF moment’.
“At a guess it would’ve been about midnight I suppose [that I turned the TV off] but, yeah, I wish I was watching, absolutely. It was a serious WTF moment there. I’d like to think that my judgment and possibly influence would have meant that the media conference would have gone slightly differently,” he told ESPNCricinfo.
The incident, that took place on the second day of the 2nd Test between South Africa and Australia in Newlands and after the incident came to light, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner from international cricket for a year. Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera, was also handed a 9-month ban.
“As we know, that was part of the penalty and the severity of the penalty, was to some extent related or at least was consequential in terms of how that was handled – not telling the truth, or not telling the whole truth. No doubt that homework thing, if I’d been anywhere near that, it would have been a different outcome. I’d like to think in some cases where things have gone awry that that’s true. You can’t be everywhere,” Sutherland said.
“I was heartbroken by the events that happened and I think that in some ways I totally understand that in the heat of battle things can boil over and go awry and there can be regrettable incidents. [But] I think in some ways the issues of Cape Town were a different thing altogether, it wasn’t necessarily a confrontation between two players, that was a premeditated WTF moment that shocked us all. Part of the extent of my disappointment around Cape Town is heightened by what happened earlier in the series, and my feeling that there were warning signals,” he added.
Sutherland announced his intention to call time on his 17-year tenure in the high-profile role as of next year, having given his long-time employers’ 12 months’ notice. However, he has repeatedly denied that the recent ball tampering saga was behind his decision to stand down from his role as the organisation’s chief executive..
“I think that the good thing about the public response to Cape Town is it’s a reminder to everyone as to how important cricket is, what cricket means to the Australian public and the pedestal on which the Australian cricket team is held and the expectations that come with being an Australian cricketer. I think our players, Cricket Australia and everyone in Australian cricket is reminded of that and I think it is a huge compliment to cricket and a really stark reminder to everyone,” he said.
“I said from the outset the game will be better for this, it already is, it is not just in Australia but around the world through various things at ICC and other countries that people are picking up and responding to. But also within our own organisation and within our team, players are committed to seeing Australians being proud of the Australian cricket team and the players and how they carry themselves on and off the field,” Sutherland signed off.
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