The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has paid tribute to Tim May, who resigned as the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) citing frustration at the global governing body amid allegations of corruption in the game and backroom politicking.
"Tim has done a great job for all of us. We shouldn't forget what it was like before FICA came along and before the establishment of our own players associations," said South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith.
Tony Irish, chief executive of SACA, said May had set the benchmark for everyone.
"When SACA got going as a players' association 11 years ago we didn't really know what we were getting into but we followed the path pioneered by Tim. He set the benchmark for all of us and he was the first leader to really stand up for players in cricket," said Irish.
He also said May was unwavering in his approach to always putting the interests of the players, and the good of the game, at the centre of things fearlessly, often risking being disliked by some administrators because of it.
May retired from playing international cricket in 1996 and thereafter became the driving force behind the protection and promotion of player rights, first as the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) from 1997 to 2005, and then as chief executive of FICA, cricket's global player body, from 2005 to 2013.
Under May's leadership FICA grew from representing players from Australia and England at its outset to representing the players of seven of the world's 10 Test playing countries today, including South Africa.
May said that after 16 years at the helm, he had become tired of working in a sport which was "increasingly at odds with the principles I respect".