Sport Sutherland resignation 'a few years too late'

15:21  06 june  2018
15:21  06 june  2018 Source:

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Former captain Ian Chappell has welcomed the resignation of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, saying “it’s a few years too late.”

Sutherland has announced plans to step down from the role within the next 12 months, ending a 17-year reign in the top job.

It comes on the back of a turbulent year for the sport, with the long-running pay dispute, the ball-tampering scandal that claimed the scalps of captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and coach Darren Lehman, and most recently match-fixing accusations involving members of the Test side.

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Former Australian captain Ian Chappell. © Philip Brown/Getty Images Former Australian captain Ian Chappell. Chappell says Sutherland stayed in the job past his use-by date.

“I think he’s been in the job too long, quite frankly I think he would have been better off going a few years ago,” the former skipper told Wide World of Sports.

“His departure is a good thing for him and for CA, the only hesitation I’ve got is the replacement will probably be someone who thinks along similar lines.”

“I have no doubt he stayed too long. I always thought four or five years is about the limit for the position of captain of the side, and after that period you need some new thoughts and new ideas. I don’t see that the boss of CA should be any different to the captain.”

With public perception of the Australian side at an all-time low following the suspensions handed down to Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Chappell says those making the decisions must shoulder some of the blame.

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“Everyone is talking about the culture of the team, but for me, the culture of CA has been a bit haywire for a while. I’m not surprised that’s flowed on down to the team. 

“I’ve always felt if things are a bit astray with the administrators off the field, it tends to flow through and things go astray on the field as well.

“In recent years it seemed like decisions were being made with the bottom-line in mind, rather than the best interests of the game.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: James Sutherland will step down as CEO of Cricket Australia. © AAP James Sutherland will step down as CEO of Cricket Australia. While CA is quick to highlight the BBL, WBBL and day-night Test cricket as proof that Sutherland’s time in the job has been a success, Chappell says it’s important to look at both sides of the ledger.

“If he gets the credit for the good things, he’s got to take the blame for the bad things. How the pay dispute ever escalated to the point it did is beyond me, and he’s got to take some blame for the ball-tampering fiasco and the problems with the culture of the Australian team,” he said.

“The ball-tampering scandal was such a big event. James obviously had some strengths as chief executive, but handling press conferences clearly wasn’t one of those strengths. I thought his performance around the ball-tampering drama was poor. Maybe that was the final straw.”

With Sutherland to stay in the position for up to 12 months until a replacement is found, Chappell has questioned why the handover is taking so long.

“It does seem an inordinately long time to find a successor. There’s always talk about succession plans being in place, well if there was a plan in place why does it take 12 months to find someone?”

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