Sutherland to retain job even if Australia are whitewashed

Image courtesy of: The Age

“I can reaffirm there is absolutely no discontent whatsoever with James’ performance”

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards has revealed that chief executive James Sutherland will still have his job even if the baggy greens are whitewashed 5-0 in the upcoming Ashes series.

Edwards added that Sutherland would be staying with Cricket Australia until his contract expires at the end of the 2015 World Cup.

The chairman also came to the defence of Sutherland, who recently felt the wrath of former captain Ricky Ponting.

Ponting claimed that Cricket Australia had “no foresight at all into where we were going”.

“I don’t know where the stories are coming from but they’re not real in our world,” Edwards said. “I can reaffirm there is absolutely no discontent whatsoever with James’ performance, and I’m bewildered where the story’s come from, but you would understand that better than me. We’re very confident where we’re going. We have a solid plan and it’s not just a plan for a quick fix, it’s a plan for continued high performance of our men’s and women’s sides.”

Sutherland also defended himself and team performance manager Pat Howard after former coach Mickey Arthur stated that they, along with captain Michael Clarke, could lose their jobs if they squander the Ashes for a fourth time in a row.

“Over six years up to that time [2012] we grew from $39 million dollars to $75 million of investment in high performance and elite teams, which includes player payments,” Sutherland said. “Take player payments out of that, $7 million grew to $9 million in and around the team. That is not the sign of an organisation that is failing to invest in high performance activities.

“Ricky Ponting had no budget responsibility, and he didn’t have any sort of view as to what the budget was. He wouldn’t know. There might be things along the way he is looking for. In that same period the number of staff with the Australian team doubled. I’m not getting into a tit for tat conversation about Ricky Ponting. We will have our own private conversations as we have, and we understand each other very well. We are on very good terms.”

When asked what his goals for the future were, Sutherland stated that winning the Ashes was one of his top priorities, but added that he also had to focus on the bigger picture, “which includes the state and territory cricket associations”.

“It’s not just about the team,” Sutherland said. “What I am responsible for and what the management of Australian cricket is responsible for, which includes the state and territory cricket associations, is the strategy for Australian cricket, and delivering on all of those things. We’ve got an increasingly complex business in a highly competitive market. There’s no other country in the world that has as much competitiveness for sport entertainment and elite talent as what there is in Australia.

“Therefore our strategy and the delivery of that strategy is incredibly important. We can only achieve the potential for our sport if we have all the moving parts going in the same direction. That’s why the unification process for Australian cricket that we are going through right now is so important.

“We are very confident that with Wally as chairman and him working closely with state boards, and me working closely with the management teams of state associations, that we’re going in the right direction. And I include cricket performance as well. This is not just business speak. This is talking about state associations taking responsibility for the development of cricket, [so] that [they] are ready to play cricket for Australia and win cricket matches.”

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