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James Sutherland to quit as Cricket Australia Chief Executive in 2019

James Sutherland to quit as Cricket Australia Chief Executive in 2019
June 6, 2018
Sport /

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland has announced that he will step down, giving 12 months' notice of resignation from the position he has held for 17 years.

Announced the move at a media conference in Melbourne today, Sutherland announced his intention to leave Cricket Australia, which he joined in 1998 in order for the organisation to plan for a successor.

He denied that his resignation had been hastened by the ball-tampering scandal surrounding Australia’s tour of South Africa in March.

Commenting on his resignation, Sutherland advised "I feel very comfortable that this is the right time for me and a good time for the game.

"It is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. We have had some big, big things to deal with over the course of the last 12 months.

"After nearly 20 years at Cricket Australia and 17 years as Chief Executive, the time is right for me and my family, and I think the time is also right for cricket."

During his tenure, Sutherland oversaw the introduction of day-night Test matches and the highly successful Twenty20 series Big Bash League.

Among recent achievements, he cited a new strategy for Australian cricket, a lucrative television rights deal and a pay agreement for male and female cricketers.

However, over the past year he has presided over what has arguably Australian cricket's most tumultuous period.

The pay agreement in 2017 descended into a messy dispute that saw cricketers threatening to boycott matches.

He also faced scrutiny over his response to the ball-tampering scandal during the recent tour of South Africa which saw Test caption Steve Smith, former vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft given lengthy suspensions for the tampering.

Coach Darren Lehmann also stood down after the incident, despite being cleared of wrongdoing.

Some observers had suggested that Sutherland was slow to respond to the crisis, and that as Chief Executive he should also accept blame for team culture.

Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever paid tribute to Sutherland's performance in the role, commenting "James has done an incredible job and has always carried himself with integrity, humility and dignity, apart from knowing the game of cricket inside out.

"He is, without doubt, the best sporting administrator in Australia and the best in world cricket.

"James has been instrumental in driving change around the game to make it even stronger for future generations.

"When he leaves the game, he can most certainly say it's much stronger for him having been here."

Asked how Cricket Australia would approach the search for a successor, Peever added “we must find the best person for the role and in order to do that we must build the most competitive field to select from … we will probably have a little bit of bias towards an Australian, but I don't want to put constraints on it.” 

Image: James Sutherland announces his intention to leave Cricket Australia.

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