LISTEN TO ROBERTS' FULL SPEECH
By SYBILLA GROSS
Australian cricket has made substantial progress in rebuilding trust and integrity in the wake of last year’s ball tampering scandal in South Africa, according to Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts.
He said the Australian team was now "very clear” about what they stood for after one of the most turbulent years in the history of the sport.
Roberts spoke at a Melbourne Press Club media lunch on 28 March and joined a Q&A session moderated by leading sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley.
He said his primary goal was to "rebuild public trust" in the organisation and the players, acknowledging the magnitude of shock and dismay felt by many Australians following the infamous incident a year ago that saw captain Steve Smith and players David Warner and Cameron Bancroft given lengthy suspensions.
Robert told the packed audience that "extensive efforts" had been made to win back this trust, including setting up an 'Anonymous Integrity Hotline' for concerned individuals, and that encouragingly, no complaints had been filed.
Public doubt hanging over the team's ability to work towards unity was also addressed, as questions were fielded to Roberts from the audience, with particular reference to the patchy relationship between Warner and the rest of the national team.
"What we're focused on is doing everything we can to support Dave, Steve, Cameron and all of the other support staff with this integration... to build harmony rather than to disrupt the harmony that is building," he said.
When asked about former Cricket Australia director Mark Taylor's recent allegations that the ball-tampering incident was, in fact, not a one-off event as was repeatedly emphasised by the players at the time, Roberts wrote off the assertion as mere "innuendo".
"We're not going to jump at shadows,” he said.
According to Roberts, the success of the Australian women's team and the positive steps forward in terms of cultural change for the men were equal triumphs of the organisation in the past 12 months.
"Sir Donald Bradman once said it’s our duty to leave the game in a better state than when we were first involved."