Aussie cricket has locked in Nick Hockley as its new chief executive, but the winds of change are swirling around him in a watershed year for the game.
At some stage in the next year, Hockley and his staff must make key decisions on the future of Australia coach Justin Langer, captain Tim Paine’s yet-to-be-identified successor and a possible extended term for CA chairman Earl Eddings.
There is also an ongoing dispute with broadcaster Channel 7, who have taken legal action in an attempt to withdraw from the last three years of their contract.
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Hockley was named the new permanent chief executive after having held the role in an interim capacity for almost a year.
He was rushed into the job last June following the axing of Kevin Roberts amid the fallout to CA’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is not lost on me the magnitude and the privilege of this role,’’ Hockley said.
“If the last 12 months have taught me anything, it is what is possible when the game comes together in a united fashion.’’
The job became Hockley’s to lose after he won wide acclaim for delivering a full professional schedule for Australia last summer despite huge Covid-induced challenges surrounding a four-Test series against India, the Sheffield Shield and two Big Bash leagues.
While the Covid cloud could threaten again next summer, a key priority will be sorting out a series of key leadership roles.
Eddings is likely to seek a second term as chairman later this year although the move has divided support among the states.
Langer is contracted until the end of next summer but player feedback in an internal review has criticised his intensity.
Paine will captain Australia through next summer’s Ashes but a decision on whether Pat Cummins of Steve Smith will follow him into the role hasn’t been made.
“Nick was named interim CEO at an incredibly challenging period for Australian sport, and society in general, and there were many instances where the once-in-a-generation obstacles in his path must have seemed overwhelming,’’ Eddings said of Hockley.
“But through his leadership, resolve, worth ethic and vision for the game, Australian cricket emerged stronger than ever. For that, Nick deserves enormous credit.”
Birmingham-raised Hockley previously held senior roles with the organising committee of the ICC Cricket World Cup held in Australia in 2015 and London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
He is a chartered accountant by profession who studied at Oxford University.
“Leading Cricket Australia is the greatest privilege of my working life and I am committed to doing all I can to making a positive contribution to the game and the community.’’