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Cricket Australia boss to stand down

Cricket

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has resigned, denying the sport’s recent ball-tampering crisis was the catalyst that ended his 17-year tenure.

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Sutherland has given 12 months’ notice, with the former first-class cricketer to continue in the post until his replacement is found.

Sutherland was appointed in 2001 as Malcolm Speed’s successor at the then Australian Cricket Board, overseeing plenty of highs and lows in a remarkably long tenure for a CEO of a major sporting body.

Instrumental in the formation of the successful men’s and women’s Big Bash Leagues, he more recently proved a circuit-breaker in last year’s ugly pay dispute and helped sign the lucrative new broadcast rights deal in April.

However, Sutherland’s tenure has also featured a handful of scandals involving the national team – including two that led to the exits of coaches Mickey Arthur and Darren Lehmann.

The 52-year-old insisted in Cape Town two months ago that he had no intention to stand down in the wake of Australia’s premeditated plan to cheat by scuffing the ball with sandpaper.

Public heat was turned on Sutherland over the unprecedented saga which led to skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner being banned for 12 months and prompted on-going reviews into the culture at CA and in the team.

But Sutherland, flanked by chairman David Peever in Melbourne this morning, told reporters his departure plan had been in the works for years.

“It (the ball-tampering saga) hasn’t had a bearing on my decision. David and I have been talking about this for two years,” Sutherland told reporters.

“It’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time.

“It’d be silly for me to say anything other than I want to continue in the role (in the immediate aftermath of public outrage that followed the cheating scandal).

“After nearly 20 years at Cricket Australia and 17 years as chief executive, the time is right for me and my family.”

Sutherland thanked Peever and his five predecessors for “having the confidence in me, and their friendship, support and counsel”.

“My successor will have a strong and stable platform to lead our sport,” Sutherland said.

“My overwhelming feeling today is a sense of gratitude. I feel fortunate.”

Peever, who confirmed he will serve another term as chairman, thanked Sutherland for his “wonderful service to the game”.

“When he started in the role he was younger than then captain Steve Waugh. He carries himself with humility and dignity,” Peever said.

“The whole time I’ve been chairman, we’ve been talking about what the best time is.”

Peever revealed Sutherland was close to resigning after the 2017-18 Ashes success but the pair agreed he should stay on until negotiations with new TV partners Fox Sports and the Seven Network were complete.

– AAP

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