SYDNEY (Reuters) - Cricket Australia will draw up a “charter” governing player behaviour in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that has rocked the nation over the last fortnight, chairman David Peever said on Friday.
Making his first public appearance since the incident which led to lengthy bans for the test captain and vice captain, Peever said the process of producing the “charter” would go alongside the previously announced independent review.
“Cricket Australia will initiate a separate player-driven process to consider a “charter” that sets out standards of behaviour and expectations of Australian men’s teams,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“It is anticipated that this process will include assessments as to whether changes to codes and standards governing player conduct are required.”
The culture of the Australian cricket team has come under intense scrutiny since batsman Cameron Bancroft was spotted by cameras trying to scuff up the ball with a piece of sandpaper during the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.
The fallout from the saga has been significant with Steve Smith and David Warner being stripped of the captaincy and vice captaincy as well as handed one-year bans.
Coach Darren Lehmann has resigned and Bancroft was suspended for nine months. All three players made emotional apologies upon their return to Australia and have since accepted their bans.
Cricket Australia have also come under fire during the crisis but Peever said he was not considering his own position, nor would the board be reviewing the conduct of long-standing chief executive James Sutherland.
“Speaking on behalf of the board, this has happened on our watch, we accept responsibility. The review will help us understand what that means,” he added.
“James Sutherland’s position is not under review, he continues to have the full support of the board... James is an outstanding executive who again in this crisis has done an outstanding job.
“We’re all going to come under the microscope... but circumstances like these are not the time for witch hunts. I know people in these circumstances call for everyone to be sacked. Clearly, that isn’t going to solve any problems.”
Former test batsman Rick McCosker will lead a panel of two current and two former players in drawing up the charter, which is expected to address issues such as sledging of opponents as well as outright cheating.
Who will lead the independent review has yet to be decided, Peever added, but Cricket Australia are determined not to hurry the process.
“The board is committed to the review being completed as expeditiously as possible, but we are also committed to getting it right,” he said.
“We will therefore take whatever time is necessary to ensure we fully understand the expertise required to conduct such a review.”
Cricket Australia suffered a hefty financial blow as a result of the cheating with one major sponsor, Magellan Financial Group, pulling out of a multi-million three-year deal after just a year.
Peever, the former managing director of mining giants Rio Tinto, said he did not, however, think the crisis would lessen the value of the rights to Australian cricket during the ongoing negotiations over a new broadcasting deal.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly