More upheaval at CA as Sutherland resigns

Rob Forsaith
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CRICKET AUST JAMES SUTHERLAND RESIGNATION

Cricket boss James Sutherland says the ball-tampering saga has nothing to do with move to step down

Cricket Australia (CA) will have a new chief executive, captain and coach as it tries to hit the reset button after the sport's most-crippling crisis of the modern era.

CA chief executive James Sutherland resigned on Wednesday, giving 12 months' notice after 17 years in the hot seat.

Sutherland will continue until a replacement, most likely his second-in-command Kevin Roberts, is installed.

It is a time of incredible upheaval at CA, with Sutherland's news coming two months after Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann had vacated their leadership posts, amid a flood of tears and public outrage, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Sutherland denied being pushed or that he was walking in response to the cheating scandal that resulted in long bans for Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, and ongoing reviews into team culture and CA's governance.

But the 52-year-old and chairman David Peever agreed it was time for a fresh start, having finalised a $1.2 billion broadcast rights deal, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) plus an overhaul of Test and ODI scheduling in the past year.

"With all of those things done, it's a really good time for me to step aside and a new chief executive to have a really good run at it," Sutherland told reporters.

"It (the ball-tampering saga) hasn't had a bearing on my decision. David and I have been talking about this for two years.

"The time is right for me and my family.

"I would like to go out on my terms, but I want to go out in such a way that allows the game to make a smooth transition ... but at the same time, I'll be looking to get out of their way as quickly as possible."

Peever, who would serve another term, revealed Sutherland was close to resigning after the 2017-18 Ashes but the pair agreed he should stay on until negotiations with new TV partners were over.

Sutherland, who played first-class cricket for Victoria before spending almost half of his life at CA, has overseen a period that has featured unprecedented growth, unmitigated shambles, unique innovations and unthinkable tragedy.

His tenure, having first been appointed as Malcolm Speed's successor in 2001 at the then Australian Cricket Board, is remarkable for any CEO - let alone a leader in the cut-throat industry of elite sport.

Sutherland has earned the tick of approval of six different chairmen. Peever flanked Sutherland at Wednesday's announcement, describing his colleague as "without doubt, the best sporting administrator in Australia and the best in world cricket".

Sutherland started at CA when Twenty20 didn't exist nor his babies - the literal three in addition to the Big Bash League and day-night Test cricket. The first captain he had counselled about players' behaviour was Steve Waugh, who is older than him.

He dug in after monkey-gate and homework-gate; was in charge during a nation-wide outpouring of sadness that followed Phillip Hughes' shock death in 2014.

Sutherland oversaw Shane Warne's drugs ban, the Argus review, Mickey Arthur's hiring and firing, women's cricket becoming professional, on-field capitulations, off-field cajoling of the International Cricket Council and thousands of meetings with the players' union and broadcast partners.

"My overwhelming feeling today is a sense of gratitude. I feel fortunate," Sutherland said.