Sacked South Australian high-performance chief Jamie Cox remains the sole casualty of the Big Bash League contracting fiasco, after the South Australian Cricket Association escaped with a heavy fine for recruiting three players to the Adelaide Strikers outside the contracting window.
A Cricket Australia investigation has found the SACA breached recruiting guidelines by entering into agreements with Brad Hodge, Kieron Pollard and Jono Dean before the BBL embargo period had started.
A fine of $50,000 was imposed – $20,000 of which was suspended for three years – while Cox was banned from any involvement with the Strikers during the 2014-15 season.
The punishment previously handed to Cox by the SACA for keeping its board in the dark about recruiting activities was much more serious: he was sacked soon after the association was advised it was under investigation by CA’s integrity unit.
No other staff, including coach Darren Berry, were found to have broken the contracting rules, and the findings have no impact on the playing future of Hodge, Pollard and Dean.
Nor will CA introduce a recruiting amnesty in acknowledgment that similar moves have been an open secret in the first three years of the BBL, before the integrity unit was officially charged with policing the guidelines.
Fairfax Media reported in February that Hodge would leave the Melbourne Stars for the Strikers next season, well before the recruiting window opened, while the Adelaide Advertiser reported that West Indies all-rounder Pollard would play in Adelaide.
SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw said it had started a review of the Strikers’ operations to ensure the breaches were not repeated.
“Cricket Australia’s findings do not impact our current negotiations with the relevant players and we hope to be able announce the outcomes of those negotiations very soon,” he said.
Meantime, Matthew Wade has moved across town from the Melbourne Stars to the Melbourne Renegades on a four-year deal as he tries to position himself as the next wicketkeeper in line to Brad Haddin.
That spot is up for grabs, with rising glovemen Sam Whiteman and Peter Nevill picked for the Australia A series in July and August.
”Internationally, you generally see that the better players are the guys who are getting the best opportunities and batting higher in the order,” Wade said. ”I wanted to sign a longer-term deal as this is a serious move for me.”