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Damning stat killed Smith return

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 29: Australian Test Captain Tim Paine presents the player review during a Cricket Australia press conference following the commissioned review into the incidents that occurred earlier this year in South Africa at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 29: Australian Test Captain Tim Paine presents the player review during a Cricket Australia press conference following the commissioned review into the incidents that occurred earlier this year in South Africa at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

AUSTRALIAN cricket's ball tampering trio were hung out to dry by their teammates in Cricket Australia's independent cultural reviews released Monday, according to cricket commentator Robert Craddock.

The redacted 145-page report chaired by Dr Simon Longstaff and The Ethics Centre was released on Monday, painting a damning "arrogant" and "dictatorial" culture across Australian cricket.

The report, released almost seven months since banned opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was sprung carrying sandpaper in his pocket during Australia's Cape Town Test against South Africa, reveals a stunning lack of respect from the Australian cricket team towards all other stakeholders in Australian cricket.

The method behind The Ethics Centre's review shows a complete lack of regard from members of the Australian cricket team towards the entire review process.

Current Australian cricketers made up just 14 of the 469 total surveys returned to The Ethics Centre - which formed the basis for the review's conclusions into the toxic culture within Australian cricket.

The players only have themselves to blame.

Test Captain Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood were left to defend the Aussie cricket team.
Test Captain Tim Paine and Josh Hazlewood were left to defend the Aussie cricket team.

The review's methodology shows just 14 of 48 current Australian cricket players completed the survey. Just three of nine former players submitted their surveys.

The poor response rate shows a complete disconnect between the Cricket Australia executive and Australian cricket players. The relationship between administrators and players was strained to breaking point during the recent pay dispute before the parties signed off in August, 2017, on the richest ever Collective Bargaining Agreement seen in Australian cricket.

Commentators have previously declared the divide created during the dispute is still yet to be entirely healed.

The astonishing lack of responses to surveys issued to players may simply have been a silent protest into the administrations intervention into the Aussie cricket team's dressing room.

If so, it has had the exact opposite effect, according to Craddock.

He said the failure of the current players to mount a case in support of banned captain Steve Smith and ball-tampering architect David Warner through their surveys killed any chance of their suspensions being reviewed.

David Warner won’t be back any time soon.
David Warner won’t be back any time soon.

"They did a hell of a lot of interviews, but significantly the player response was down," Craddock told Fox Sports News.

"Only 14 of the 42 players who were sent a survey filled it in. That didn't help Smith and Warner in their bans. The response from the players who did respond was that the bans were appropriate, generally.

"Had their been a landslide of protest about their bans it could have really helped those two."

Cricket Australia chairman David Peever said during the press conference on Monday that there will not be any softening of the bans handed down to Smith, Warner and Bancroft.

Despite the survey response rate indicating a real breakdown of respect for the "spirit of the game" within the Australian cricket team's dressing room, captain Tim Paine on Monday declared his team wants to restore pride in the iconic baggy green cap.

"We got a little bit wrapped up in our own self-importance…it's not our cricket team, it's Australia's cricket team," Paine said.

"I think for a little while we lost that. This coming season is more about giving back to our fans, getting outside of our bubble and trying to grow the game a little more and think more of others.''

Meanwhile, Peever has come under fire for refusing to announce his resignation during the Longstaff Review press conference.

Peever and the board of directors are the only pillars of Australian cricket left standing since the Cape Town scandal erupted with captain Smith, coach Darren Lehmann, CEO James Sutherland and high performance manager Pat Howard (who has announced his departure following next year's Ashes in England) all moving on.

"I am not embarrassed, I am not embarrassed at all," Peever said on Monday when asked if he should resign.

"I accept responsibility for what happened in South Africa but I am also very confident we are well positioned to move forward from here."

The Longstaff report highlighted concerns about the "commercialisation of cricket", a win-at-all-costs mentality, "multiple instances of disrespect running through CA", the "normalisation of verbal abuse in Australian men's cricket" and that the "incidence of verbal abuse extends beyond player behaviour".

Topics:  cameron bancroft cricket australia david peever david warner sandpapergate sportopinion steve smith