Australian cricket cheating plot sparks ethics review

Steve Smith (Getty Images)
Steve Smith (Getty Images)

Sydney - Cricket Australia on Tuesday appointed an ethics guru to review the sport's culture in the wake of the cheating scandal that has rocked "the gentleman's game".

The governing body said it wanted to ensure there was never a repeat of the conduct during the third Test against South Africa in March that tarnished Australian cricket's reputation.

"We understand and share the disappointment of fans and the broader Australian community about these events," CA chairperson David Peever said in a statement.

"The board is determined to do all we can to prevent such events from ever happening again."

During the match in Cape Town, captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft plotted to tamper with the ball using sandpaper, earning themselves lengthy bans.

Coach Darren Lehmann also resigned amid criticism he allowed a win-at-all-costs attitude to flourish that gave rise to the cheating scandal.

CA has acknowledged cultural issues within the team and on Tuesday said Simon Longstaff would conduct a wide-ranging review into the sport.

Longstaff is head of Sydney-based non-profit organisation The Ethics Centre, which aims to promote ethical decision-making in business, government and everyday life.

He is expected to quiz current and former players, administrators, media and sponsors about ethical issues facing the sport before making recommendations.

Longstaff did not comment in the CA statement but said last month that those involved in the scandal had lost their "internal compass".

"(It's) essentially good people making bad decisions with sometimes calamitous effects - tragically so as we've seen in this case," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"It's an inability to recognise the small things that start to change the seeds of some deeper corruption of a core set of values and principles... a type of deviance becomes normalised."

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), which represents players, said it was encouraged that the review took on board most its proposals in its terms of reference.

"Culture starts at the top and we welcome investigation in to all aspects of cricket's culture, organisational structure and governance," said ACA president Greg Dyer.

"There is a desire to see significant and lasting change aimed at improving cricket's culture and governance, and the accountability of those who are responsible for running it."

Longstaff's review will run in tandem with a separate probe announced last month into player behaviour headed by former Test batsman Rick McCosker.

McCosker will work with former players to formulate a charter on player behaviour balancing the demands of elite cricket with public expectations about the way such role models should act.

Peever said CA wanted to implement recommendations from both the Longstaff and McCosker reviews in time for the 2018-19 season.

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