Sutherland plays down job talk
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland is unconcerned by suggestions his job could be in jeopardy.
Former skipper Ricky Ponting and recently sacked coach Mickey Arthur have both been vocal in their criticisms of Sutherland, 48, and have suggested he would be collateral damage if England win a fourth straight Ashes series.
But, after being backed publicly by CA chairman Wally Edwards, Sutherland said he was simply focusing on the immediate job in hand.
"Thanks Mickey for putting a little bit of speculation out there," Sutherland said following the CA Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
"For me personally, and I guess the management team at Cricket Australia, we're really sharply focused on the objectives and the goals that the board of Cricket Australia have set for us.
"I don't feel any external pressure - the only pressure I feel comes from Wally and the board."
Edwards was stern when fending off talk of Sutherland's job being in question should the Test team fail to bring home the Ashes.
"I'll be very pleased to confirm that there is no talk, and no consideration, in looking at James' performance in the short term," Edwards said.
"We obviously want to win the Ashes this summer, that's a common desire of everybody involved in the administration of cricket as well as every fan in Australia.
"I think we're all sick of England beating us, and it's our turn."
He added: "If we don't (win), it won't affect James' position whatsoever. I just wanted to put that to rest. It's a waste of space people talking about it."
Sutherland also moved to defend high performance manager Pat Howard, claiming his critics were unaware of the level of his role.
"That sort of speculation is not appropriate," Sutherland said, when asked to comment on speculation of Howard's position.
"The depth and breadth of Pat's role is very much underestimated certainly in some of the commentary I see.
"He has a much broader responsibility than people understand, and it doesn't have a short-term focus.
"Sure, he and his team need to support the Australian team as much as they can - both men and women (teams) - but at the same time Pat's there to build solid foundations for team success."
Finally, Sutherland was also stunned at the reaction to the timing of the Ryobi Cup schedule - with the England Test team arriving in Australia before the hosts.
"I don't think anyone can prove that, because the reality is what have the England team been doing over the last two weeks?
"Our cricketers have been playing cricket. That's pretty good preparation for playing cricket.
"We have a number of our Test players in India playing one-day cricket, others are here in Australia playing one-day cricket in the Ryobi Cup... I'm very comfortable and very confident the preparation of our team will be top notch."