Sydney: Cricket Australia (CA) CEO James Sutherland has backed that infamous `homework` debacle in India, saying that there were lots of lessons for people involved, who will be better for having gone through it.
Former vice captain Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja were suspended from the Mohali Test for a disciplinary breach over their failure to complete the homework given to them by coach Mickey Arthur.
Although Sutherland admitted that the entire disciplinary episode could have been avoided if events leading up to it were handled differently, he said that he firmly believed that those decisions would improve the Australian team and Australian cricket in general. According to Sutherland, there was no truth to suggestions that Shane Watson, who subsequently resigned as vice-captain, was being forced out, adding that he respected the all-rounder for calling him to explain his reasons for standing down.
Brad Haddin has since been installed as vice-captain, in an effort to restore dressing-room harmony. Stating that CA was already making plans to develop strong characters and resilient leaders at junior levels, Sutherland said that they will try to continue to identify the talent from a younger age, rather than let the cream rise to the top and then pick them in Australian teams like in the past.
Meanwhile Sutherland denied that CA`s relationship with its old broadcast partner Nine has soured after a new media-rights deal following a lucrative offer from Channel Ten, and also dismissed suggestions that Nine`s disdain for the rotation policy had affected negotiations. The report further said that CA is spruiking a major sponsorship with the Commonwealth Bank, adding that the naming rights deal is estimated at 50 million dollars over four years.
Nine has four weeks to decide whether to match Ten`s offer, reportedly 500 million dollars over five years, and in the meantime faces a CA lawsuit to test whether the Big Bash League should be included in the network`s last rights.