Michael Kasprowicz, the former Test bowler, has replaced Darren Lehmann as the Australian Cricketers' Association president, taking on the role which includes juggling the game's expansion through Twenty20. Kasprowicz was voted in at the organisation's AGM in Brisbane on Friday after being nominated by Lehmann, who held the honorary post for four years.
"I've played 19 years for Queensland and been part of the process, seeing the game evolve from non-professional to where we are today," Kasprowicz told ESPNcricinfo. "There are some very exciting things happening and exciting challenges and opportunities for both players and the game."
Kasprowicz took 113 wickets in 38 Tests for Australia between 1996 and 2006, but since he's retired the sport has zoomed off in a new direction. The domestic Twenty20 competition will expand to eight teams next year in the Big Bash League and the explosion of overseas competitions means players will face battles of allegiance between their franchises and countries.
Managing the newest format will be one of the key areas under Kasprowicz's watch. "That's something pretty exciting in Australian cricket," he said. "It's a great thing that we can take the game further, certainly at domestic level. What [the Big Bash League] provides for all the players is more opportunities to get noticed with eight teams in place. There are so many good outcomes that I think everything is looking forward."
The domestic players have lost some ground this year, with the introduction of the split-innings one-day format overlooking the concerns of 78% of ACA members who rejected the idea. Issues are also expected between Cricket Australia and the ACA over how the players will be distributed to the eight Big Bash League teams.
"Historically the Australian Cricketers' Association has always been a voice from the players," Kasprowicz said. "So in the past our relationship with Cricket Australia has always been good, and I certainly want to be part of that." The initial meetings could be interesting after Cricket Australia refused to deal with Kasprowicz while he was signed to the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League.
Kasprowicz has been a board member of the Queensland Cricketers' Club for the past two years and his new role will be his first official post with the ACA. He is keen to be involved in the body's hardship fund, which assists players with health or financial difficulties, and has been a regular member of the ACA Masters teams as they take the game to the country's regional areas. "One of the things I really want to do is provide benefit for all the members right across the board," he said.
Lehmann said it had been a rewarding four years in the role. "It has given me the chance to stay involved with the game in a new and challenging position outside of being a player," he said. "I hope my commitment has in some way allowed me to give something back to the game of cricket which has given me so much in life."