Australia Test captain Tim Paine insists the independent review launched in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal and subsequent new ‘Players’ Pact’ will act as a ‘line in the sand’.
There was international outcry after Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to change the condition of the ball during a Test against South Africa in March.
The resulting fallout saw Bancroft, Ashes-winning captain Steve Smith and experienced opener David Warner all axed from the team and handed extensive suspensions from both international and Australian domestic cricket.
Tim Paine says Australian cricket has drawn a ‘line in the sand’ after the ball-tampering scandal
Cameron Bancroft was shown tampering with the ball during a Test Match with South Africa
Nearly 470 people were consulted for the review, conducted by not-for-profit organisation The Ethics Centre, the findings of which were released by Australian cricket’s governing body on Monday.
As part of the 42 recommendations from the 145-page document, a share of the blame for the ‘larger picture’ of the ‘win-at-all-costs’ culture was laid with the governing body.
On the leadership of Cricket Australia, which has since changed following the departure of chief executive James Sutherland and head coach Darren Lehmann, the report addressed a responsibility ‘for the circumstances that gave rise to the ball-tampering incident… not as a matter of direct, personal culpability, but as a demonstration of responsible leadership and accountability’.
Bancroft and Steve Smith admitted to ball-tampering in a press conference
Vice-captain David Warner was also revealed to have been involved in the decision to tamper
Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said the fiasco had been a ‘difficult and confronting time for everyone involved’, but insisted lessons had been learned, with changes continuing to be made.
One of the outcomes from the review was the establishment of a ‘players’ pact’, which aims to restore faith in the national team.
It reads: ‘We recognise how lucky we are to play this great game. We respect the game and its traditions.
‘We want to make all Australians proud. Compete with us. Smile with us. Fight on with us. Dream with us.’
Paine succeeded Smith as Test captain, and maintained everyone’s focus was now on the road ahead.
Paine took over as skipper and says the players’ pact will make sure it doesn’t happen again
The Aussies’ aggressive approach on the field has now changed, after it went too far
A Players’ Pact has been introduced which Paine and vice-captain Josh Hazlewood both back
‘This represents a commitment from Australian players to adhere to a set of overarching standards,’ Paine said at a press conference.
‘This is a line in the sand for us as players and we are very much looking forward to focussing on the future of the game, playing with pride and making Australians proud.’
Paine added: ‘We know what’s right and we know what’s wrong. We know what Australian cricket expects of us and we will be holding each other accountable.
‘If it does happen or it does start to get out of control it won’t just be me it will be a number of guys (who address the issues). We know where we sit on that and how far we go and where we don’t go.’
Chairman David Peever addressed the media
Peever, meanwhile, accepted the episode had been ‘extremely regrettable’ and Cricket Australia’s response had been ‘necessarily tough’.
Some of the responses, Peever said, had been ‘at times difficult to read and in some instances, difficult to agree with’, although Cricket Australia respected the review’s findings.
Smith and Warner were both given a 12-month ban, with Bancroft suspended for nine months.
There will be no change to those sanctions, which Peever said had been ‘imposed by the board after a very full and thoughtful process.’