MELBOURNE: Off-field ructions caused by the Longstaff review may have caused "doubts" in the minds of the Australian team as they struggle through a prolonged form slump in the one-day game, according to captain Aaron Finch.
A slew of Cricket Australia executives have resigned or been axed since the Longstaff report was released last week, shining a spotlight on cultural problems in the game's administration.
"When there are changes, and there are things being said and written about, I think it's hard not to read it sometimes when its everywhere," Finch told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday ahead of the second ODI against South Africa.
"For me personally, I don't think it affected me in terms of my preparation or my performance.
"You might spend a little bit of time reading it, and putting some kind of doubts in your mind at times.
"But I think it's about each individual being 100 per cent committed to their plans and doing whatever the team needs to get the job done."
Australia were thrashed by six wickets by South Africa in the opener of a three-game series in Perth on Sunday, falling to their 17th loss in 19 matches.
Long-serving CA director Mark Taylor resigned from the board the next day, while CEO Kevin Roberts announced on Wednesday that two further executives had been axed, including high performance boss Pat Howard.
Former players and media pundits were quick to heap the blame on Howard for Australia's current struggles but Finch defended the former rugby international's work in the role.
"When you're in his position, you're in a no-win position," Finch said.
"A lot of the time you have to rob Peter to pay Paul to change all the structures around.
"And whatever is best for the (national) men's side might not be the best thing for one state in particular at the time.
"He was in a really difficult situation and did an unbelievable job during that period. It's unfortunate that Pat has gone, I know how much he loved the game."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)