Cricket Australia name new chief | Sunday Observer

Cricket Australia name new chief

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts

SYDNEY AFP: Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday named insider Kevin Roberts -- who spearheaded an ill-fated attempt to slash players’ pay last year -- to lead the troubled organisation in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.

Roberts was appointed chief executive officer and on October 25 will formally replace James Sutherland, who announced in June he was stepping down after 17 years at the helm.

Roberts takes over with CA still under fire over the cheating scandal and divisions between players and administrators still raw from the pay dispute.

“The game and Cricket Australia have faced some difficult times recently, but we will bounce back,” the 46-year-old said.

Sutherland won plaudits during his long tenure for negotiating a lucrative new television rights deal and popularising the Big Bash League, day-night Tests and women’s cricket.

But he faced a career-ending crisis in March when former captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft attempted to alter the ball in the third Test in South Africa.

They were all sent home in disgrace and handed lengthy bans, with then-coach Darren Lehmann resigning and Sutherland eventually choosing to walk after coming under sustained pressure. His replacement Roberts is a former opening batsman for New South Wales who moved into business when his cricketing career failed to take off.

He worked for a range of sporting companies including adidas, 2XU and Canterbury before joining Cricket Australia in 2012, first as a board director, then as part of the executive management team.

Roberts was lead negotiator for Cricket Australia in last year’s pay dispute, when the organisation was accused of using hardball negotiating tactics in a bid to cap its remuneration costs.