Sandpapergate review continues with ethics specialists being called in by Cricket Australia

By Adam Ellis

Six weeks on from the ball-tampering saga that led to the suspensions of Test captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Cricket Australia has appointed ethics experts to lead a review into the culture of country’s elite-level cricket.

The Ethics Centre, a business based in Sydney, will build on the initial investigation carried out by the governing body in the wake of the storm created by a strip of sandpaper in the third Test between Australia and South Africa at Newlands.

Looking at more than just the acts of Smith, Warner and Bancroft, the review will look into the culture, organisational and governance issues within Australian cricket.

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said: “We understand and share the disappointment of fans and the broader Australian community about these events. The board is determined to do all we can to prevent such events from ever happening again.

“We have full confidence that Simon (Longstaff, The Ethics Centre’s executive director) and his team, along with Rick (McCosker, the former Australia Test batsman exploring the option of a player charter) and the player panel will be able to fully review and identify recommendations for improvement.”

As head of the player panel, McCosker, remembered for going out to bat again after suffering a broken jaw off a Bob Willis bouncer in the 1977 Ashes series, will be joined by current Test stars Tim Paine and Pat Cummins, Rachael Haynes, players’ union representative Shane Watson and former Hampshire captain George Bailey.

Peever added: “The reviews will commence immediately, and we fully anticipate being able to begin implementing findings before the start of the 2018-19 cricket season.”

Handed bans ranging from nine to 12 months, Bancroft and leadership duo Smith and Warner are yet to place a match since the Cape Town Test on March 22, but Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland did leave hope for a return to the side for all three players.

Speaking to Melbourne-based radio station SEN on Tuesday, Sutherland responded to a question on whether David Warner could ever play for Australia again.

“Absolutely, I think everyone deserves their chance and their own personal redemption story is very much in their own hands now. Each of them have to go about that during the time they’re out of the game and prove that their worthy and prove to the Australian selectors that they should want them back. They deserve that opportunity.”

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