Cricket Australia chief resigns after 17 years in the job

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland announced his resignation Wednesday following a ball-tampering scandal that prompted national outrage.

Sutherland said that “the time is right” to step down after 17 years in the post.

“I feel very comfortable that this is the right time for me and a good time for the game,” Sutherland said in a statement.

He did not mention the ball-tampering scandal in his statement, preferring to dwell on Cricket Australia’s recent actions, including a renewed strategy and television broadcast deal.

“With these foundations in place, I feel that it is a good time to hand over the reins to a new CEO,” said Sutherland. “My successor will have a strong and stable platform from which to lead our national strategy and to deliver on our bold aspirations to grow cricket as Australia’s favorite sport and a sport for all Australians.”

Cricket Australia said in the statement that Sutherland provided 12 months’ notice and will continue in the position until a replacement is found.

The ball-tampering controversy saw the resignation of then-coach Darren Lehmann and the suspension of three key team members — team captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft — who were banned after admitting cheating during the third Test match in the team’s series in South Africa.

Smith and Warner have been banned from playing for the national side for a year following their roles in the incident. Bancroft was given a nine-month ban for using sandpaper to rough the ball illegally.

Sutherland had previously apologized over the scandal on behalf of the organization to both Australia and South Africa.

The Chairman of Cricket Australia, David Peever, applauded Sutherland for his tenure. “On behalf of the board and management of Cricket Australia we thank James for his wonderful service to the game,” he said.

“James has been instrumental in driving crucial change around the game to make it even stronger for future generations,” he added.

Sutherland’s resignation comes a week before Australia’s one-day international series opener against England in London.