Cricket Australia pay dispute: Steve Smith hails progress but Bangladesh tour unlikely without new deal

AFP, Aug, 02 2017

Sydney: Australia captain Steve Smith said he was upbeat that a bitter pay war between players and management could be nearly over, but warned the team wouldn't go ahead with this month's tour of Bangladesh until a new deal is signed.

Some 230 Australian cricketers have been unemployed since the end of June when their contracts expired, in a row that has rattled the game and left their relationship with the governing body badly strained.

But after months of bad-tempered negotiations over a new pay deal and a player boycott of an Australia A tour to South Africa, the end appears to be in sight.

File photo of Steve Smith. AFP

File photo of Steve Smith. AFP

"A deal hasn't been done just yet," Smith told Fox Sports Australia late on Tuesday. "There's still a few things that need to be finalised, some key elements.

"They've been making some really good progress and hopefully they'll continue to make progress."

A resolution would give certainty not just to the Bangladesh trip, but a one-day tour to India in September and October ahead of the showpiece home Ashes series against England, beginning in November.

But Smith said a deal would have to be struck before Australia board the flight for Dhaka on 18 August.

"I told Pat Howard personally this was how things were going to be," he said, referring to Cricket Australia's team performance manager.

"I'd like to (tour Bangladesh), but as we've said for a long time we need to get a deal done first."

CA chief James Sutherland warned last week that unless the drawn-out negotiations over a revenue-sharing deal produced a compromise by early this week, he would take the matter to arbitration and let the industrial umpire resolve it.

This sparked new urgency to strike a deal, with talks continuing over the weekend.

Players have been paid from gross revenue for the past two decades, but CA wants their pay to come from a set pool instead, with only surplus revenue shared.

The Australian newspaper reported Wednesday that barring last-minute stumbling blocks, the players would largely retain the previous model, which they have insisted is non-negotiable.

But even if the disagreement is resolved, former captain Michael Clarke said on Sunday he feared things would never be the same between CA and the players.

Vice-captain David Warner has been particularly outspoken in the push to keep the 20-year revenue-sharing arrangement. But Smith insisted the batsman had nothing to fear regarding potential retribution from Howard and Sutherland.

"No, I think he'll be okay," Smith said. "Obviously he's been very vocal and he's supported the Australian Cricketers' Association through this whole thing and he's been great."

Published Date: Aug 02, 2017 | Updated Date: Aug 02, 2017



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115