Top-Down Cultural Review Critical

5 April, 2018

By Greg Dyer ACA President

Serious errors of judgement were made by Steve Smith, Dave Warner and Cameron Bancroft during the third Test in Cape Town.

The players have admitted these mistakes and shown an incredible level of contrition.

The ACA regards the integrity of cricket and the spirit of the game as of the highest priority.

As I stated in the media on Tuesday, it is right that there be fair sanction for those involved and it is also right for the culture of Australian cricket, with all of the contributing elements, to be examined in the aftermath.

The decision that these three players made on the proposed sanctions offered are deeply personal to each of them.

Each situation is unique and complex, and the circumstances in front of them are only truly known to them and their loved ones.

Regardless of their decision, the ACA respects their choice and is there to support these players in such a difficult time.

Our role is and has been to provide advice, support and information to these players.

The Culture of Cricket

The sheer enormity of these last two weeks cannot simply conclude now that the last of the sanctions is determined.

The very culture of Australian cricket has rightly been brought into question.

What we outlined earlier in the week is that culture is often defined as a set of shared values which can be described as an organisation’s mindset.

Cricket’s cultural challenge is broader than the culture of a change room. Broader than the behaviours of players.

Organisational culture comes from its leadership, it comes from the top, it can’t be grafted on at the bottom.

Arguably, cricket has become ‘win at all costs, on and off the field’.

We’ve lost something of the spirit of the game in the passion and determination to be successful.

The anguish in the Australian community over these matters is directly attributable to the perception that this spirit has been lost, possibly forever.

Cricket therefore needs to take decisive action to restore its rightful position in the hearts and minds of all Australians.

That’s why we need a far-reaching and comprehensive review of the culture of the game.

Let’s identify all the causes of the tipping point that occurred in Cape Town.

An independent review of the Culture in the Game of Cricket with the power to assess every contributing element and suggest the necessary changes.

The ACA has proposed the following Terms Of Reference that should help shape the Cultural Review in to Australian cricket.

Terms Of Reference

We suggest that an independent person or group of people conducts a review into the culture of cricket in Australia.

That independent person or group of people reports to a cross Cricket Australia and ACA Panel.

The independent person or group of people will report to the Panel by October 1 2018 at the latest.

The Review will:

  1. Assess the state of the current culture of Australian cricket;
  2. Examine the contributing elements to this culture;
  3. Seek contributions from groups including Government, Cricket Australia, State Associations, Grade Clubs, Junior Cricket, and sponsors (past and present) the ACA, former and current generations of players;
  4. Take submissions from the public;
  5. Consider any other matters it deems relevant and
  6. Make recommendations to improve this culture and review their implementation.

Cricket must find virtue in this difficulty. That virtue is the opportunity for change.

The players will play their part in the improvement of the culture of the sport. As partners in the game, that is part of our role and responsibility.

Newly appointed Captain Tim Paine is to be commended for the way he has immediately embraced this opportunity.

And I commend the way women’s team continue to lead by example in their on and off field performances.

Congratulations to Captain Meg Lanning, on her return from injury, and the team on their tour of India which produced many team and personal highlights. You continue to do your country proud.

It is right for all cricket stakeholders to celebrate these examples to restore our great game to the pedestal it belongs.

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
The Australian Cricketers’ Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.