Departing Sutherland has sandpaper regrets
Outgoing Cricket Australia (CA) CEO James Sutherland regrets missing the moment Cameron Bancroft attempted to alter the ball with a piece of sandpaper in a Test in Cape Town in March this year.
Sutherland, who stepped down as CA CEO on Thursday after 17 years, was watching the Newlands Test at home but said he switched off the television and gone to sleep before the ball-tampering incident.
The former CEO then also missed the ensuing press-conference when captain Steve Smith admitted that the leadership group decided to tamper with the ball but also attempted to cover up the truth.
Sutherland believes he could have mitigated the fall-out if he had intervened earlier.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Sutherland said: “At a guess it would’ve been about midnight I suppose (that he turned off the TV) but, yeah, I wish I was watching, absolutely.
“It was a serious WTF moment there. I’d like to think that my judgement and possibly influence would have meant that the media conference would have gone slightly differently.
“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.”
After Sutherland and the Australia public got involved, including the country’ prime minister, and an investigation, Smith, vice-captain David Warner and Bancroft were sent home in disgrace and given hefty suspensions.
Darren Lehmann resigned as head coach after the tour and Sutherland himself decided to step down after coming sustained pressure.
The series had already been overshadowed by confrontations on and off the field and Sutherland admitted the warning signs were there before it came to a head with the ball-tampering incident.
Sutherland continued: “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.
“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.
“There were lots of other things going on, and some disgraceful behaviour during the Port Elizabeth Test, provocation by opposition fans but also administrators from the opposition team.”
Sutherland, who has been replaced by internal candidate Kevin Roberts, won plaudits during his long reign for negotiating a lucrative new television rights deal and popularising the Big Bash League, day-night Tests and women’s cricket.
Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch retires from international cricket
The 36-year-old skippered Australia in 76 T20 internationals, more than any other men’s player.
On this day in 2017: Sir Alastair Cook steps down as England Test captain
Cook’s 59 Tests in charge made him the nation’s longest-serving captain at the time.
Hoggard and Bresnan withdraw as ECB racism process ‘has failed everybody’
The case is due to be heard in public by a Cricket Discipline Commission panel at the start of next month.
ECB’s Azeem Rafiq racism investigation has ‘failed everyone’ – Matthew Hoggard
Ex-England player Hoggard has withdrawn his co-operation from the process.
Ex-England and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Hoggard pulls out of racism hearing
Hoggard was charged by the ECB in June.
Jon Lewis keen to take World Cup fight to dominant Australia
England open their campaign against the West Indies on February 11.
Jos Buttler understands ‘complicated’ decision for players to skip Bangladesh
Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Liam Dawson are among those missing the white-ball tour to play in the Pakistan Super League.
Kyle Jamieson returns to New Zealand fold for England Tests but Trent Boult out
Fast bowler Jamison has played for New Zealand since last summer.
Jos Buttler focusing on positives despite England’s series loss in South Africa
There were some standout performances in the series as Jason Roy, Dawid Malan and Buttler all made hundreds.
England hand Rehan Ahmed first white-ball call-up for tour of Bangladesh
Ahmed became England’s youngest men’s Test cricketer when he lined up against Pakistan in Karachi.