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Cricket Australia Publishes Culture Review Recommendations

By Zac Zahner

42 recommendations, 42 general if not banal responses. How will culture be improved by a focus on ethics?

My wife hates cricket, says it’s boring and takes too long. I wholeheartedly disagree with her, I “love it”! But reading the recommendations from the supposedly comprehensive review was boring and took too long. I would have thought that the consultants could have bowled with a bit more fire and zip à la Thomson, Lillee and Johnson. A good number of the recommendations bordered (and we are not talking about Allan here) on motherhood statements, but we can let that go through to the keeper for the moment.

There was little in the recommendations that was earth shattering – CA Board and players need to focus on ‘ethics’. Yes, the Board agrees to focus on ethics even creating a new committee and adjusting its board paper template to include ethics. That’s great, but really what is ethics as far as the Board or players are concerned.  The actual report speaks of the rife culture of winning at all costs. It paints a picture of players and officials doing anything necessary to win and to degrade their opponents. The recommendations speak of ethics and transparency and don’t seem to reflect the findings of the toxic culture. In fact there was only mention of ethics and the word culture was notably missing (it was used 3 times in the 42 recommendations).

Ethics are just one part of the overall culture and without a positive cultural foundation the ethics will just fall by the wayside. As we have seen in the Banking Royal Commission, culture can be constructive or very destructive and I cannot see where the poor culture of CA or of the Australian Cricket team has really been addressed in these recommendations. The CA Board has really missed the chance to use appropriate measurement tools to determine what the true culture is currently and what is the culture they want (this is where I say why didn’t they come to eG!). Will the Board truly be able to measure any improvements from where they are now?

The recommendations allow the big show to go on, the Board can say things are being done and now the whole issue can be put to bed just in time for a summer of cricket. I think this report looks like the whole team got bowled for a buck … sorry a duck, and I find it difficult to see where real cultural change will come from.