Shane Watson has replaced his former opening partner Simon Katich on the executive committee of the Australian Cricketers Association, meaning the allrounder will play a central role in articulating the views of current players in Australian cricket's increasingly fragmented and uncertain landscape.
The election of Watson in a vote by all players came at the AGM of their union in Adelaide on Thursday, as discussions continued around the State of the Game Report currently being prepared by the ACA for submission to Cricket Australia in December. Katich left his role following his appointment to a welfare and development position at the Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL club.
"The inclusion of current cricketers - particularly from within the Australian team - is crucial to the ACA having an engaged and representative Executive," the ACA president, Greg Dyer, said. "It's terrific that Shane has chosen to put himself forward to play a leadership role on behalf of his fellow members and we look forward to his contribution at an important time for Australian cricket.
"I'd also like to pay tribute to the outstanding efforts of Simon Katich, who has been an intelligent, thoughtful and passionate member of the ACA Executive and on behalf of all our members I'd like to offer our gratitude for his tremendous contribution.
"Simon has always been generous with his time, adding vast knowledge and experience to this sometimes difficult position. He has provided constructive input to the ACA over the many years of juggling his professional cricket career and dedication to the ACA and its members."
Watson has taken on the formal role at a time of considerable tension around the country about the direction of the game. The ACA's report to Cricket Australia is expected to cover many points of disagreement, including the summer schedule and the preponderance of Big Bash League Twenty20 matches to the detriment of the domestic limited-overs and Sheffield Shield competitions.
Other members of the ACA's executive committee include the imminent Test debutant George Bailey, the former Australia batsman Michael Hussey, ex-New South Wales seamer and current manager/administrator Neil Maxwell, the former Test allrounder Marcus North and the recently retired Australia offspinner Lisa Sthalekar, who were all re-elected to their roles on Thursday.