Sutherland ordered ‘win-at-all-costs attitude’

James Sutherland has come under fire.
James Sutherland has come under fire.

FORMER Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has been accused of telling national players their only objective was to win, not play cricket, during a locker room exchange.

Australian Cricketers' Association president Greg Dyer made the claim as he confirmed even he had become uncomfortable with the level of on-field aggression shown by players.

Dyer, a former Test wicketkeeper, said the incident was a prime example of the pressure placed on players to win at all costs, a culture laid bare in the damning Longstaff report.

"Longstaff talks at length about those additional pressures. I'll reference one particular example - when a chief executive walks into a changeroom and says 'players, you're not here to play cricket, you're here to win'," Dyer said.

"For me, that's a strong symbol of those additional pressures that Dr Longstaff has referred."

The report, released on Monday, found CA tolerated "poor behaviour" in the pursuit of winning, and that players particularly were not held to account.

Dyer said he saw that manifest itself in escalating on-field aggression, and conceded he wished he could have done more to curb the bad behaviour.

ACA president Greg Dyer levelled the damning claim against Sutherland. Picture: AAP
ACA president Greg Dyer levelled the damning claim against Sutherland. Picture: AAP

"Personally … I witnessed those behaviours over a period of time and it was very clear on-field aggression was moving down a path that I personally wasn't comfortable with," he said.

"As an individual, and in discussion with other past players, that movement towards more and more aggressive behaviour on the field was palpable, obvious and could have been called earlier."

Dyer conceded the report didn't provide a flattering picture of the players, who he represents. But he said it is also detailed a corporate culture which was "as bad as I have seen in my 30 years in the corporate world".

He also said the players, accused of living in a "gilded bubble" had acknowledged they needed to change.

"I see a different behaviour already. The players get it, they understand the need for change," Dyer said.

"The players have so far accepted 100 per cent responsibility for the culture of Australian cricket and that's not fair. There needs to be a better apportionment of responsibility."

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