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Ryan Harris speaks out about the Cricket Australia crisis

The fallout continues from the Longstaff Review into the culture at Cricket Australia with CA Chairman David Peever sensationally quitting last night, a week after being re-elected to the role

The review identified many issues within Cricket Australia that began at the top of the organisation and filtered down to the playing group.

Speaking on the Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast Show with Levy and Riddell, former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris weighed in. Speaking on Cricket Australia’s direct culpability in the ball tampering saga itself Harris said, “A lot of that stuff to me is just irrelevant as a player. For me what happened in South Africa had nothing to do with the board or the business of Cricket Australia. For me it was just a mistake or very bad decisions by players on the day.”

The review also detailed a pervasive culture of bullying and intimidation, something that Harris refuted, “In my 5 years that I played for Australia we had the best group of people involved, we all had a great time together. Yes there were disagreements but in my view there was no bullying. I never witnessed that and that’s why I was very surprised to see something along those lines in the review that came out.”

One of the big criticisms of the Australian team has been their on field behaviour, specifically their sledging. Harris felt the criticism was a little unfair, “In big series such as the Ashes there’s always stuff going on and I think we’ve sort of been perceived as bullies. I just can’t see how that’s happened because I know there was stuff going on but it wasn’t just from us, we had stuff given to us (as well), which is absolutely fine”

Since the now infamous ball tampering saga in South Africa  the 3 players involved have received long term suspensions from the game. Whilst Harris doesn’t agree with the severity of the suspensions he’s not sure they’ll be reduced, “I think they were a bit harsh in the first place. I think 12 months is very harsh. Going on the review I think there’s something that’s happened with the culture and it’s potentially worked its way down which again I disagree with. I don’t necessarily think that what happens in the board level or in the business level necessarily comes into the cricket team. But I think the fact they’ve given the bans out it would be really hard to go back and change that.

Harris added, “What I don’t agree with is that we’ve let them go around the world and play in all these little 20/20 competitions when in the review we’re saying that our first class system is suffering a little bit and we need the best players playing and we’ve got to get the test players playing. I would have thought common sense would have been to let these guys go back to first class cricket, play in that system, in that competition and help the young guys in their teams and obviously the guys they play against.”

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Listen to the full interview with Ryan Harris below: