Cricket Australia’s players’ pact revealed, slams culture and sledging
David Warner and Steve Smith are two of three Australian cricketers named in the review. @Getty

The much-anticipated players’ pact that will guide the behaviour of the Australian cricket team has been revealed by Cricket Australia (CA) Monday, following an exhaustive review by the Ethics Centre into CA’s failures which has resulted in 42 recommendations to the ruling body.

Of the 42 recommendations, 10 are for Australian cricket, seven specifically for the men’s team and the rest for CA.

The review states that Australian cricket “has lost its balance and stumbled badly” and that its cricketers live in a “gilded bubble – disconnected, for much of the year, from families, friends and the grounding influence of community” but does not find any harm done to the heath of Australian women’s cricket. The report also found that CA is viewed as an ”arrogant and controlling” body that does not live up to its values.

The Ethics Centre was commissioned to review CA in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal that erupted during the Cape Town Test match in March, and which saw former captain Steve Smith, former vice-captain David Warner and Test opener Cameron Bancroft handed bans from international and state cricket.

Telling, the only three current Australian cricketers mentioned by name in the Ethics Centre report at the Smith, Warner and Bancroft. The 14th review recommendation is that the vice-captain’s role be “de-coupled” from him being the next in line for the captaincy. This comes two days after Warner, while playing for his club Randwick-Petersham in a Sydney grade match, briefly left the field  because of a comment from Jason Hughes, elder brother of the late Australia batsman Phil Hughes, which Warner’s partner Candice later said was “very hurtful”. Warner has a reputation of being a notorious ledger himself.

“Over recent years, David Warner and Steve Smith have attracted the highest number of Code of Conduct breaches for international matches,” the review said. “However, in the last two years, both men have been honoured – suggesting that poor behaviour is not considered to be linked to the concept of poor performance.

The 145-page document that was created by the player-led review panel headed by former Test opener Rick McCosker and with inputs from current Test skipper Tim Paine, current head coach Justin Langer, Racheal Hayes, Shane Watson, Pat Cummins and George Bailey was drawn up last month after an informal meeting.

“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,” the pact declares.”Compete with us. Smile with us. Fight on with us. Dream with us.”

Among the key recommendations are the establishment of the Australian Cricket Council, a consultative body to meet twice a year, and a three-member ethics commission to hold everyone in Australian cricket “accountable to the ethical foundations for the game”; that CA accept its share of responsibility in the circumstances that preluded the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal; that selectors take into account a player’s character and skills when naming squads; that CA implement a system to consult with fans; that player awards such as the Allan Border Medal take into account character and behaviour and not just performances; that umpires be empowered to send off players across Test, Sheffield Shield and grade cracker after one informal warning; that players with CA contracts be encouraged and enabled to be actively involved in Shield and grade cricket; and that Test and ODI cricketers be excused from playing Twenty20 internationals in. Order to play Shield and grade cricket – though his recommendation was the only one which CA rejected.

“I think potentially for a little bit, we got a little bit wrapped up in our own self-importance,” Paine said at a media conference.”We know what’s right and we know what’s wrong. We know what Australian cricket expects of us. And we’ll be holding each other accountable,” he said.

“So 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 know where we sit on that and how far we go and where we don’t go.”