Should the ban on the Smith, Warner, Bancroft be lifted?

Ross Greenwood speaks to Australian Cricketer’s Association President Greg Dyer wants the bans lifted on the three cricket players following the report released yesterday into the South Africa Ball-tampering incident

Introduction: Should the ban on the Smith, Warner, Bancroft be lifted?

Ross Greenwood: The situation in regards to Cricket Australia becomes even more of a high stakes scam. As we told you last night, the report that was handed down by Simon Longstaff, noted ethicist not only laid the blame at the culture of Cricket Australia but also to its board and its management.

The interesting part about this is last night and repeatedly the chairman David Peever said he would not resign, that he had no reason to resign. Notwithstanding the fact that he was only re-elected to his position for three years, just weeks before this report was due to be handed down which seem to be an unusual set of events, shall I say.

Kevin Rudd, the former prime minister today tweeted. Let’s get this straight. Cricket Australia under David Peever is overseeing the destruction of the international image of our national game, but Peever gets reappointed as chair last week, three days before the releasing of the damning Longstaff report with a hashtag Peever should resign. So that’s Kevin Rudd getting involved in all of this.

Then you got the Australian Cricketers’ Association that represents the players. There were pieces that I signed, that the gulf between players and management at Cricket Australia could not be greater. The wage was driven between them during the that we documented here on this program.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association has said today, “The message to Cricket Australia is a simple one. These contrite men which is Steve Smith, Dave Warner, Cameron Bancroft who have been banned from the game, these contrite men have been punished enough. Let them play.”

It’s interesting to say that the president of the Australian Cricketers’ Association is Greg Dyer. He’s good with his time on the program. Many thanks, Greg.

Interview with: Greg Dyer, President, Australian Cricketer’s Association

Greg Dyer: Hi, Ross. How are you?

Ross Greenwood:  Good, thank you. Do you believe those statements that the gulf between the players and the management is as wide as it seems to be?

Greg Dyer: Certainly the relationship needs improvement. There is no question about that. We’re up to that if we can achieve it. I’ve been saying for the six years that I’ve been the president of the ACA, in fact that we need a better working relationship, a much better all-round relationship between the two boards and then them through into the executives of the two groups. It’s been something that just hasn’t been on the priority list for Cricket Australia and the respective chairman that I’ve been dealing with.

It’s disappointing to me that third-party independent voices had to come out and say, “I guess what we’ve been seeking to achieve for some time now.”

Ross Greenwood:  Were you at all surprised by any of the recommendations or content inside the report by Simon Longstaff?

Greg Dyer: No. None of it was really a surprise to us, it’s a damning report. I guess we were singled out as being probably the most strident critic of Cricket Australia. I guess what I’ll say to that is well, some of that strident criticism has certainly been vindicated by the Simon Longstaff report. Now, hopefully we’re not such a voice in the wilderness, if you like.

Ross Greenwood:  Just a strange one for you. Were you surprised that the Australian Cricket captain Tim Paine came and fronted a media conference in regards to this last night, alongside the Chairman David Peever even though at the time when many of the events led to this inquiry, he was not even part of the Australian cricket squad?

Greg Dyer: Well, I guess he’s the current captain and so the release of the player’s pact was something that Tim participated in. I was frankly a bit concerned that the two things were joined out together. I thought that the players had had their turn, if you like, and had taken full responsibility. That’s been very clear. They’re contrite, as you pointed out. They really are aware of their responsibilities and their attitude has changed. I think that’s visible in the way in which they’re playing the cricket right now. I wanted to see the Longstaff report passed and published in full and before the AGM where the state associations have some important decisions to make.

Unfortunately, it was done in a very different way. It was done with the two documents coming out together and as you pointed out two or three days after the AGM, which I think is really disrespectful to the state associations, frankly. I’m sure that one or two of them are really, you pardon, but I’m quite peeved by that.

Ross Greenwood:  The other point also that you observed and it does seem really to be a significant contradiction in terms of the punishment that’s been handed out to these players is in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal which the players have admitted in South Africa. The international cricket body, the International Cricket Council said that the maximum penalty for ball-tampering in the future would be six games or six test matches, say.

In that case, is surely not the penalty that’s been handed out to Steve Smith, Dave Warner, Cameron Bancroft over the top in comparison with what the International Cricket Council’s decided is sufficient?

Greg Dyer: Absolutely. It’s worth noting that the guards have already served the ICC sanction. The penalty imposed by the ICC has already run down. The additional sanction is entirely at the prerogative of the Australian Board, the Cricket Australia Board. We might have pointed at the time that we thought that their sanctions must disproportion, disproportion that it reminds though and I’d make the point that that the players have topped so far 100% of the accountability for it and I. They haven’t made any move to have that reduced personally. There is the court of sway.

Nobody in the administration has had any accountability around it up until this point in time. There is a disproportionate element to battle those conditions in my view.

Ross Greenwood:  One great concern I have about the report is the identification of the “win-at-all-costs” culture of Australian Cricket. Now I think that almost goes with that saying because you want to play aggressive cricket and you want to win. You want to win within the rules, there is no doubt about that, but you still want to win. You’re not playing it for second place. You’re not playing it for its own draw, are you?

Greg Dyer: Australian Cricket is always going to be competitive and aggressive on the field. We’re going to be out there to win, there is no doubt about that. I guess what Dr. Longstaff has pointed out is that we’ve done that at the expense potentially of the spirit of the game sometimes. I’ve personally been concerned that an increasingly aggressive stance for some of the players after a long period of time. Let’s be clear about it, it culminated in what happened in Newlands but what Dr. Longstaff has also said is, that culture was evident. It was foreseeable and the organization, that is Cricket Australia should have seen what happened in Newlands coming.

Ross Greenwood:  The other thing, was it indicative of the interest of the current group of players, that just 14 of the current 48 players completed the survey that was sent to them?

Greg Dyer: Important point to make about that, it is a bit of chicken and the egg. Clearly, there is discord between players and Cricket Australia and between the ACA and players. There was some concern that the individual responses to the Longstaff survey may not have been done on a confidential basis, on a purely anonymous basis. I think there is an element to that, that the players were less than comfortable in responding to the survey.

They were not less than comfortable in responding to the survey that ACA did in order to prepare a submission to the Longstaff report. Any implication or information that the players lacked diligence or weren’t interested enough to respond, I think is wrong. As I say, there is a bit of chicken and the egg. If the culture was better and the relationship between players and ACA was better, there might well have been a different response to that.

Ross Greenwood:  The chairman of the Australian Cricketers’ Association Greg Dyer and president, I should say, many thanks to your time as always.

Greg Dyer: Cheers, Ross.

Ross Greenwood:  You got the latest on cricket. You can see the gulf that is there between the players and Cricket Australia. As many people ask, if David Peever stays on, really is a significant question.


Image source: 2GB

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