The new president of the Australian Cricketers' Association, Greg Dyer, believes the governance of Australian cricket must be overhauled and the game's administrators held accountable for the state of cricket in the country. Dyer, 52, has been elected to head the player union after the previous president, Michael Kasprowicz, stood down in August.
Kasprowicz took up a position on the Cricket Australia board, and the ACA sought out Dyer, the former wicketkeeper who played six Tests for Australia during the 1980s, for the role. He will bring a strong business background to the organisation, holding economics and law degrees and having been a corporate director in Australia, Asia, New Zealand and the United States.
Dyer said he was happy to be re-entering cricket circles at a time of great change, with the Argus review into the team performance now complete, and a review into Cricket Australia's governance also being finalised. Dyer believes an independent commission would be the best way for cricket in Australia to be run, to bring it into the modern business age.
"I think it [an independent commission] is ideal," Dyer told ESPNcricinfo. "I think cricket needs to be run by people who are in the majority independent of the state associations."
Dyer also said it was important it was not just players who were made accountable for the team's slide down the rankings.
"My view is that players are always held immediately to account for their performance on the field and increasingly, for good reason, off the field as well," he said. "I'm not sure that the same level of accountability has been in place with relation to those who administer the game. There's been a decline in standards and a decline in the way in which the game is viewed.
"If you look at where Australian cricket is in the broader sense, we've slipped in the rankings and so clearly that should have had some ramifications, not just for players, but for those who have been in charge during that process. There's also responses to T20, there's lots of areas of the administration of cricket that have not necessarily moved with the times in the way that they should have.
"This corporate governance review and the Argus review before it are very important processes, and all power to Cricket Australia, they've brought them on and had them done. Now it's time to get the recommendations out and treat them seriously."
A qualified chartered accountant who has among other roles worked as chief financial officer for APN News and Media Ltd, and for ACP and Murdoch Magazines, Dyer also wants to bring a commercial frame of mind to the ACA. He said that while looking after the needs of current players would always remain the organisation's primary objective, he would be keen to look at expanding the ACA's commercial presence.
"I'll be looking to increase the commercial strength of the organisation over time and thereby hopefully increase its financial capabilities and therefore its ability to provide services to members," he said. "It's not like I'm going to turn it into the Meat-Packers' Union overnight. But I think increasingly it does need to look for commercial opportunity and increase its financial stability and strength. There's no reason that can't happen over time."
One of the major pieces of business for the ACA over the next year will be the negotiation of a new Memorandum of Understanding with Cricket Australia, after the two parties struggled to reach an agreement this year. That resulted in a one-year extension of the existing MoU, so the two groups will return to the negotiating table in 2012.
The ACA wants to ensure players retain their existing 26% share of Australian cricket revenue, while there was also disagreement over the distribution of money from private investment in Big Bash League franchises. Dyer said it was important the core principles of the existing MoU were not lost.
"The MoU is really important," he said. "It needs to be negotiated across the background of these two reviews that are being done, the governance review and the Argus review, and it needs to take into account the outcomes of those. What is important is that where we've gotten to in previous MOUs, those outcomes can't be replaced.
"I think they balance pretty well the interests of cricket and the players. There's a revenue sharing model that I think has been very successful. As a core principle, that needs to be maintained. The next 12 months is a very important period in Australian cricket so it's a very interesting time to get involved."
Dyer was confirmed as the ACA president at a meeting in Melbourne on Friday, where the Western Australia captain Marcus North and the Australia women's allrounder Lisa Sthalekar joined the executive, replacing Stuart Clark and Damien Fleming. Sthalekar became the first female member of the players' association executive.
ACA executive Greg Dyer (president), George Bailey, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Darren Lehmann, Marcus North, Lisa Sthalekar.