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Ultimately, David Peever had no choice but to step aside

1st November, 2018
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1st November, 2018
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And so David Peever has become the latest casualty of a debacle which started all the way back in March. In all likelihood, he’ll also be its last.

It was, in truth, an outcome which seemed inevitable, or at least it would have had Peever himself not faced the media earlier in the week with the deadest bat seen since Dennis Lillee trotted out to the middle with an aluminium stick.

So impassive and detached was Peever that you got the impression he’d ride this one out just because, well, he didn’t seem the sort who’d do anything interesting, let alone quit his post just days after starting a new three-year term.

Ultimately, though, Cricket Australia could not possibly claim to be taking the Longstaff Review seriously while the man in charge of the organisation leading up to and during the ball tampering scandal remained in his position.

The report painted the picture of a horribly out-of-touch governing body, a perception only emphasised by its chairman’s performance on Monday.

Peever maintained he wouldn’t step down from his position, even though he also claimed full responsibility for the events of Cape Town earlier in the year. He’d evidently glossed over the passage in the Ethics Committee’s report which concluded “CA is perceived to say one thing and do another,” or at least thought one last display of that behaviour couldn’t do too much harm.

David Peever speaks at a Cricket Australia press conference.

(Photo: William West/AFP)

He also maintained he wasn’t at all embarrassed – whereas Steve Smith had made a completely contrary admission in March – and described the ball-tampering fiasco as a “hiccup” later in the day when interviewed by Leigh Sales on 7:30.

Little surprise, then, that three of Australia’s six state associations refused to endorse his position.

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Peever’s exit gives Cricket Australia something of a blank canvas to work with as they seek to repair their reputation following the publication of the Longstaff Review. It will at least provide them the perception of one.

Gone are the coach, captain, CEO and chairman from Cape Town. High performance manager Pat Howard, too, is set to exit the organisation next year.

Never mind new CEO Kevin Roberts was plucked from, of all the places in the world, a familiar office in Jolimont, nor that new coach Justin Langer was in and around the Australian team set-up under his predecessor. Peever’s resignation will act as a much-needed band-aid for CA’s reputational woes.

In many ways, it mirrors the suspensions handed down to Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Cricket fans didn’t necessarily mind that Peever was in charge during his first three years as chairman despite some failings – none more obvious than last year’s pay dispute – in much the same way we didn’t get too upset about the Test team’s attitude before Cape Town.

One publicly derided performance later, though, and repercussions are necessary to quell the discontent – although it was no doubt the lack of support from New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria, rather than fan outrage, which led to Peever’s resignation.

That’s not to say the change in leadership, particularly if a full-time successor who doesn’t have Peever’s corporate background is selected, won’t satisfy Australian cricket fans. Far from it.