Sean Morris stands down as PCA chief
Sean Morris, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, has announced his intention to stand down from the role at the end of October. The current PCA chairman and Worcestershire captain, Vikram Solanki, will take on an enhanced role until a full-time replacement is appointed.
Morris, 41, took over the PCA role in January 2008 as a successor to Richard Bevan, and his tenure coincided with some dramatic developments, including the rise of Twenty20 cricket, the terrorist attacks that interrupted England's tour of India last winter, and the high-profile falling-out of Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores at the beginning of the year.
"During the last 18 months Sean has guided the PCA through possibly the most turbulent period in the game's history and amidst this backdrop he has represented the PCA and the players with distinction," read a PCA statement.
"His close relationships with the England captains and the team has been essential in steering them through the many international issues that the game has encountered and his involvement in the England team returning to India after the Mumbai attacks has been warmly appreciated by cricket administrators and players across the international game."
Morris was also responsible for delivering a 35% increase in PCA commercial income despite the difficult financial climate. However, away from the international scene, he attracted heavy criticism from within his organisation - firstly when he declared, early on in his tenure, that there was no room for 18 first-class counties in the modern game - a statement that put the wind up a third of his members . And later, on his watch, the PCA also failed to prevent the imposition of the ECB's controversial incentive payments scheme, an issue on which Solanki was particularly outspoken earlier in the season.
Solanki, however, insisted that no pressure had been brought to bear on Morris from within the PCA. "The decision has been Sean's and his alone," Solanki told Cricinfo. "There has been nothing more to it. I am one year into a four-year contract and I fully intend to be playing for Worcestershire next year. This is just an interim period where I can take a more active role to make sure business remains as usual."
However, Solanki stressed that the core values of the PCA would need to be revisited in the coming months while a successor for Morris is sought. "The timeframe will be dictated by the suitability of candidates," he said. "One thing we are adamant about is getting the appointment right. The PCA are responsible for providing services for all first-class cricketers, and that is very important.
"Part of the job is obviously looking after the Team England-Player partnership, and that is a very important element of the PCA, but by no means should that be to the detriment of first-class cricketers. Our mission statement is very clear in stating that. We aim to look after the interests of and provide services for all first-class cricketers, and the PCA and ECB must be prepared to work together for the betterment of the English game."
Morris now intends to use his experience at the PCA to forge a career in sports administration. "I would like to place on record my thanks to all of the players for the support they have given me over the last 18 months," he said in a statement. "We've certainly been through some interesting times together and I wish them well in the future. Thanks also to the leading stakeholders in the game who I have had the pleasure of working with.
"I hope the PCA will continue to cement close relationships with them which will certainly benefit the game as a whole. Finally, I am extremely grateful to the PCA team for their hard work and energy in delivering a number of notable achievements over the last 18 months. "I am now looking forward to pursuing a number of exciting opportunities and will be using my experience to make a meaningful contribution in other areas within sport."
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo