On the subject of the investigation conducted over 48 hours between the Cape Town and Johannesburg Tests at the end of the South Africa series last year, Roberts pointed out that there was time pressure created by the need to field a team in the final match, without knowing how many players would be implicated. In contrast to earlier in the summer when he stated that the “thorough” investigation required no more probing, he called upon any member of the Australian cricket community with further evidence to come forward.
“If they’ve got any concerns about ball tampering or any concerns about any integrity issue in the game, we’ve invited them to report that through our anonymous integrity hotline or through other means that are available to them,” Roberts said. “We haven’t had any such reports, so we won’t jump at shadows, but if anyone does report concerns about any integrity matter prior to ball tampering or whatever it may be, we’re serious about addressing that, and we have a process to address it.
“We’re really serious about addressing any unresolved issues and we’re sincere in the way we’re going about that. So if there are any reports or allegations as opposed to innuendo, then we will investigate that thoroughly.
“Certainly the investigation needed to be conducted swiftly, we needed to fulfil our commitment to field a team against South Africa the following week, and we didn’t know whether we’d need to fly 11 new players in to fill that team or no new players. The ultimate answer was somewhere in between. So the investigation was absolutely fit for purpose, but we haven’t rested on those laurels. We’ve made repeated and extensive invitations to anyone to report any integrity matters or concerns about ball tampering ever since.”
Following a home summer that presented numerous challenges, not least heavy defeats to South Africa and India before some solace was taken from a pummelling of Sri Lanka, the ODI team under the captaincy of Aaron Finch has run into strong form and growing confidence in India, and the UAE against Pakistan. Roberts denied he was concerned that the returns of Smith and Warner to that team would destabilise what has been building, while also stating that he did not expect the team to be a collection of best mates.
“Justin [Langer], the leadership of the Test team and the white-ball teams in the form of Tim [Paine] and Aaron, they’ve had just about a year and they’ve spent a long time together, a lot of time on the road, that’s a whole lot more intense than turning up to a radio station or an office to work with your colleagues,” he said. “A year of this rebuild and a year of doing that together in sport, is probably like three years in the business world or the media or some other world. So I’m not concerned but we are very focused on ensuring that positive momentum continues.
“In any workplace we don’t need to be best mates with everyone that we work with. There needs to be a foundation of respect absolutely, and I think there’s growing respect there and we’ll continue to support the players with the right discussions and work those through. As to whether every player in the men’s team or women’s team is best mates with the rest of their team-mates, it’s not different to any other workplace where you’ll have some very close friendships, some cordial relationships and some that are a bit more challenging. But I don’t see it being beyond the realms of any other workplace.”