Shortly after allegedly sexing a Cricket Tasmania employee with unsolicited graphic images, and immediately after being promoted to captain after the ball tampering scandal, Tim Paine assured the Australians: “We know what’s wrong. We know what is right. We know what Australian cricket expects from us. And we will hold each other accountable. It turns out that Cricket Australia certainly didn’t. Consider this: Steve Smith, David Warner and Australian cricket philosophy all have been brutally damaged by the tampering scandal. The players had literally cried, as Paine would now, as they headed for year-long bans to quell the outcry from the Australian public. A report titled “Elite Honesty” was presented by CA to clarify the culture they wanted. And yet, they imposed Paine as the skipper. The duplicity is blatant.
CA issued a statement saying they did not condone such behavior. But if it was unacceptable behavior, why did they condone it and make it the captain after an investigation in 18? How then did he escape penalties for breaking the code? Even in a normal context it would have been shocking but in the context of the forgery saga it was worse. Optimists in the Australian media are trying to see this as a turning point and hope it could set up good workplace practices.
However, optimism seems to be a self-delusion. There was no need to make Paine the captain. He was not a major player. He wasn’t even a regular player; and had considered quitting the game not long ago. But in CA’s mind, he had the face that might have filled the ad of a happy family man. “Elite honesty”, apparently, in the style of Cricket Australia.
This editorial first appeared in the print edition on November 20, 2021 under the title “Elite malhonesty”.