Chris Tremlett: Australia players right to dig in their heels in bid for fairer pay

 
Chris Tremlett
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The current pay dispute throws into doubt the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith featuring in this winter's Ashes series (Source: Getty)

As a player you know your worth and if I was a member of the current Australia dressing room I would be backing the voices which are refusing to back down in their pay wrangle with Cricket Australia.

A stand-off between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has intensified after the governing body threatened not to pay players after 30 June unless they accept a proposed overhaul of their remuneration.

Cricket Australia are seeking to change the previous system of payment and place players on a fixed salary, meaning they would no longer receive a percentage of the board’s revenue.

Australia vice-captain David Warner has said this week that the country’s top performers will not buckle in the dispute and warned cricket bosses that they might not have a team to select for the winter’s Ashes series with England.

Both sides are being stubborn and holding their ground at present, and, while there is some negotiation to be done, I cannot foresee a scenario where Australia are playing a substandard side when the Ashes get underway in Brisbane on 23 November.

The Ashes are massive and players from both countries want to feature. For Cricket Australia, they are a huge generator of income and they need to do all they can to resolve the matter, while making sure their players are earning what they deserve to be.

I just don’t believe the situation will escalate and mirror the West Indies, for instance, where a lot of their internationals have not signed contracts and now play various Twenty20 tournaments around the world.

The advent of the global white-ball tournaments have given players a lot more power as international cricket is no longer the only money-making tool in the game.

Players like Warner and Australia captain Steve Smith have huge earning power, something that Cricket Australia, which is a massively wealthy board, ought to recognise.

Players like that can get vast sums of money for six weeks’ work at the Indian Premier League (IPL) and if you add up potential participation in various other global leagues those earnings will not be far shy of their Australia contracts.

Players have the power to make millions and boards have to make sure that those who are playing for their country and missing out on such tournaments are reimbursed through their international contracts.

In this country, central contracts are worth a lot more these days than they used to be, partly because players had to be compensated for missing out on the IPL and other lucrative competitions.

Kevin Pietersen used to bang the drum for players who were missing out on cash when the England and Wales Cricket Board were not as flexible or forward-thinking as they are now in allowing participation of central contract holders in the IPL.

To some players that would have meant missing out on thousands of pounds, to others it would be millions. It’s the players who entertain and draw the crowds so I do think the Australians’ approach in their disagreement is fair.

But while I do have sympathy for the Australia players, for the good of the game hopefully it can be sorted out before the 30 June and prior to Australia’s next red-ball involvement against Bangladesh in August.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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