Has a rich and powerful national sports body ever copped such stinging criticism as Cricket Australia has this week?

The report into the culture at the organisation charged with running Australia's No 1 international sport could hardly have been more cutting.

"Arrogant" and "controlling" were just two of the words used.

"It has lost its balance and has stumbled badly," said another part of the report.


It found the ruling body was as much to blame as the players for the "win without counting the costs" mentality which led to the sandpaper incident in South Africa earlier this year.

It takes a long time to come back from this kind of criticism.

Australian cricket has been in dark places before, most notably during the Kerry Packer-led revolution of 40 years ago. That was essentially about business.

This time it's way more complicated. To move on from this mess, Cricket Australia needs new leadership. The chief executive and the national team's coach and captain in South Africa have gone. The high-performance manager is going.

But the new CEO is from inside the tent as the former head of people and culture, the person with responsibility for player behaviour. The chairman and the board remain, re-elected only last week. Now this report is out, their position, or certainly that of the chairman at least, seems untenable.

Interests associated with the three banned players - Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft - are now calling for those bans to be lifted because, the theory goes, it isn't really their fault.

The board is doing the right thing by standing firm on that one. How reducing the punishment for an egregious breaking of cricket's laws and ethics will do anything to improve the debacle is beyond me.

The astonishing thing that isn't being mentioned in the aftermath of this report, and the other one into the Australian men's team itself, are the terrible results the team have had since the sandpaper episode in Cape Town in March.

That match was lost, as was the fourth and final test. Then came five losses in five one-day internationals in England in June, and a loss in the only T20 match on that trip. Move forward to this month and there's been a loss and a draw in the tests against Pakistan and three losses in three T20 matches.

The only tick in the win column in the past 13 matches has been a T20 victory over the United Arab Emirates, one of the weakest international teams there is.

Apart from the tests in South Africa, most Australian sports fans won't have paid too much attention to the overseas results. The Australian cricket team is a very big deal in Australia but, unless it's playing an Ashes series, public interest in their offshore performances is usually pretty low.

So it's not 'til the first test against India starts in Adelaide on December 6 that the heat will go on the Australian team to start winning again. But the chances of them doing that without their best two batsmen, Smith and Warner, are not especially high.

New captain Tim Paine appeals as a nice bloke but against an Indian team that will be riding high after home wins over the West Indies, will being a well behaved and nice cricket team be enough?

This new mantra of "compete with us, smile with us, fight on with us, dream with us" seems to come straight from a management text book. There'll be many a hard bitten former wearer of the baggy green rolling his eyes at that corporate speak.

But after what happened in Cape Town in March, this is what it's come to. Bad player behaviour as a result of unacceptable ethics and attitudes from those running the game was inevitable.

Remember that extraordinary outburst from the then Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin after the 2015 World Cup final that he couldn't stand how the New Zealand team was just "so nice".

Watching to see if Australia can win cricket matches while being "nice" will be one of the fascinating aspects of the summer ahead. Can a leopard really change its spots?