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Upheaval continues at Cricket Australia

Cricket

The bloodletting has continued at Cricket Australia with senior executives Pat Howard and Ben Amarfio given their marching orders.

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Howard, who was in charge of CA’s high-performance unit and intended to depart when his contract expired after the 2019 Ashes, will leave next week.

Former Australia captain Belinda Clark, another member of CA’s executive, will perform Howard’s job on an interim basis until the governing body settles on a permanent replacement.

Amarfio, CA’s general manager of broadcasting, digital media and commercial, is already out the door.

New chief executive Kevin Roberts was under pressure to enact cultural change after The Ethics Centre’s scathing assessment of CA’s corporate culture.

“It is clear that we need to deepen our relationships with fans, players and the broader cricket community,” Roberts said in a statement.

“Everyone at CA is focused on rebuilding and moving forward after what has been a turbulent year.”

The Cape Town cheating scandal has prompted an overhaul at the sporting organisation, which has bid goodbye to coach Darren Lehmann, chief executive James Sutherland, chairman David Peever and two other directors this year.

Howard was appointed manager of team performance in 2011. He was one of the governing body’s most polarising and powerful figures.

The creation of Howard’s senior role, which involved responsibilities including the hiring and firing of senior coaches plus helping conduct a formal investigation of the ball-tampering saga, was one of the key recommendations of the Argus review.

Amarfio joined CA in 2012 and oversaw this year’s broadcast-rights negotiations which resulted in a record $1.2-billion deal but public outcry over men’s ODIs and Twenty20s being shifted off free to air.

CA adopted a combative approach to TV talks that often became heated, as reflected by a leaked email from Peever to Channel Ten’s American owners CBS.

“The tactics (from Ten) are appalling on a number of levels … they are not prepared to challenge their operating model to be anything other than bottom feeders in this market,” Peever wrote.

Amarfio has long rubbed CA staff the wrong way, with the most notable example being a request that his secretary cook and serve him a hot breakfast in his glass-encased office.

Peever and long-serving director Mark Taylor are yet to be replaced on CA’s board.

Taylor nominated Simon Katich as a contender to become a director but the former Test batsman has made it clear he has other pressing commitments.

Taylor’s exit leaves Michael Kasprowicz as the only former first-class or international player on CA’s board, a worrying result given the “commercialisation of cricket“ was among many concerns flagged by The Ethics Centre.

– AAP

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