Agencies, May 31: Nick Hockley has been named the new permanent chief executive of Cricket Australia, having held the role in an interim capacity for almost a year.
Hockley stepped into the job last June following the sacking of Kevin Roberts during the fallout to CA's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"As Australia's national sport, cricket is at the heart of our national and cultural identity. I am under no illusion about the importance of cricket to the lives of so many Australians, nor the magnitude and responsibility of this role," Hockley said. "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.
"It has been extremely rewarding to be part of CA, State and Territory Associations and the Australian Cricketers' Association working together like never before over the past 12 months, to overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19 and deliver a summer for the ages. I look forward to building on this momentum and playing my role in deepening those relationships further, as well as playing a leading role in growing the game internationally alongside fellow ICC members."
Amid the pressure of funding cuts to states - which were eventually much lower than originally forecast - other than a battle with host broadcaster Channel Seven and the ongoing challenges of border closures, Hockley was able to steer the game through a turbulent 2020-21 season which enabled them to deliver a full professional programme. That included a tour by India, which involved tense negotiations almost until the final day, alongside two Big Bash tournaments and a full state professional summer.
Despite having done an impressive job dealing with the impact of the pandemic, there have been questions raised as to whether Hockley has the broader vision to carry CA forward. But he now has the chance to make changes and decisions that were difficult while he still held the interim tag. "Nick's contribution to Australian Cricket has been immense and on behalf of the board, I am most pleased to confirm his appointment as CEO, which was unanimously endorsed by the board," Earl Eddings, the CA chairman, said. "From delivering the historic T20 Women's World Cup to ensuring a safe and successful 2020-21 season, Nick has already proven himself to be in the very top echelon of sports administrators both in Australia and around the world.
"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. But through his leadership, resolve, worth ethic and vision for the game, Australian Cricket emerged stronger than ever. For that, Nick deserves enormous credit."
Prior to his hasty elevation into the top CA role, Hockley had been chief executive of the 2020 T20 World Cup committee that had staged the record-breaking women's tournament in Australia last year, and which concluded just days before the pandemic shut down global sport. Before that, he had worked on the 2015 men's World Cup as well, having also previously been involved in the London Olympics.
Confirmation of Hockley's full-time job removes one of the leadership uncertainties around Australian cricket. Eddings is set to seek a second term as chairman at October's elections, although there are significant divisions in the game over what would be a highly unusual move.
On the playing front, the subject of who succeeds Tim Paine as Test captain potentially after next summer's Ashes has not made much movement, while Justin Langer, the men's head coach, is out of contract after the 2021-22 season amid rumblings of discontent in the dressing room.