The turmoil in Australian cricket just keeps on getting extended as James Sutherland has decided to step down from his position as Cricket Australia’s CEO. Sutherland has given the board a 12-month notice to find his successor.
The latest setback for Australian cricket comes just a couple of months after the ball-tampering saga. The scandal had resulted in the resignation of head coach Darren Lehmann, while Steven Smith (12 months), David Warner (12 months) and Cameron Bancroft (9 months) were handed lengthy bans.
Sutherland’s resignation will end a spell that lasted two decades. He had joined the board as General Manager in 1998 before replacing Malcolm Speed as the CEO in June 2001.
“My overwhelming feeling today is a sense of gratitude,” Sutherland said. “After nearly 20 years at Cricket Australia, the time is right. I feel very comfortable that this is the right time for me and a good time for the game.”
“In the last 12 months we have laid key foundation stones which have included a new strategy for Australian cricket. A new Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Cricketers’ Association that provides certainty for our male and female cricketers. And just recently, a new domestic broadcast rights deals that will see broader TV coverage and significant increases in revenue flowing into the game.
“As it has been over the last 20 years. It will be a privilege and honour to continue to serve the game over the remaining months that I am in office,” he said.
CA’s chairman David Peever thanked Sutherland for his services, calling him the best sporting administrator in the world. Peever also confirmed that the outgoing CEO would stay on for another term.
“Sutherland is without doubt the best sporting administrator in Australia and the best in world cricket,” he said. “When he leaves the game he can most certainly say it’s much stronger for him having been in it. The game has never been in a stronger position. And now the board will embark on a process to fill some very big shoes.
“This was completely James’ decision …The ball tampering situation has created upheaval but it has helped us understand the passion Australia has for cricket. We must tap into and respect that passion,” he noted.
During Sutherland’s spell, Australian enjoyed one of its best phases in international cricket. They won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007, Champions Trophy in 2006 and 2010 in addition to winning several other series.
Meanwhile, Kevin Roberts is the frontrunner to replace Sutherland. Roberts was the chief negotiator in the ugly pay dispute that had rocked Australian cricket last year. Last month, he took the role of the newly-created role of chief operating officer.