After winning the pay war with Cricket Australia and helping earn female cricketers the biggest pay rise in history, Australian Cricketers’ Association boss Alistair Nicholson has announced his resignation.
Nicholson, a one-time stoic fullback with AFL side Melbourne, was in the role for six years, which included the 2017 pay fight and the 2018 ball-tampering scandal when he flew to South Africa to be an advocate for banned trio Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
He fought for the bans handed out to the three players to be overturned and returned to South Africa earlier this year to support Smith and Warner as they went back for the first time as part of Australia’s one-day team.
The ACA also was heavily involved in discussions around cricket’s return amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pay dispute was so fierce an Australia A tour was scrapped and players threatened strike action.
Negotiating the continuation of the revenue share model for players, which CA fought hard to end, stands as Nicholson’s biggest victory, even managing to get Kevin Roberts, who would go on to be the CA chief executive, removed from those pay talks.
ACA president Shane Watson said Nicholson had made an “enormous contribution” to the players.
“He has always represented the players with integrity and his list of achievements is outstanding,” Watson said.
“His calm, mature and authoritative leadership during a number of challenging issues and his understanding of the business of sport have been at the heart of his contribution. He leaves with our enduring gratitude and thanks.”
Aussie fast bowler Pat Cummins, an ACA board member, said Nicholson had made big steps for the players with their full trust.
“We knew he would always be tough but balanced when representing us and that our stance would be based on good principles,” Cummins said.
“He is welcome back in the changeroom at any time.”
Nicholson will step down at the end of the year.
“I step down with some sadness as I love the ACA and the game, but I look forward to watching from afar and taking a break to enjoy a summer of watching cricket after a particularly demanding tenure, including most recently through COVID,” he said.
“The season ahead is now as well planned as possible and I have great confidence in the ACA team to steer through the years ahead.
“I leave knowing the ACA is well positioned to represent its members into the future and wish the ACA, staff, advisers, and all members the very best.”