'We'll do what it takes for fair deal'Save
Australian cricketers will do "what it takes" to maintain their revenue-sharing model, with the prospect of an Ashes lockout gathering momentum amid stagnant pay talks.
The current memorandum of understanding (MoU) expires on June 30 and there has been little meaningful discussion between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) on a deal.
The dispute centres on CA's wish to ditch the revenue-sharing model that's shaped players' salaries since the first MoU 20 years ago.
"Hopefully it gets resolved, we don't want to be unemployed for a period of time," wicketkeeper Matthew Wade told radio station SEN.
"But if it gets there we'll have to do what it takes.
"We'll fall into line with what the big dogs do, so the senior players will kind of direct us on which way to go."
Skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner made their views clear when they signed a preamble in the union's submission to players, noting the revenue-sharing model "has served the game so well".
Players have become increasingly more vocal, especially after CA chief executive James Sutherland fired off a stern email last Friday.
Spearhead Mitchell Starc hinted last weekend at the prospect of this summer's Ashes being staged without the country's top players, while Warner noted the players "won't buckle at all" and "if it gets to the extreme they might not have a team for the Ashes".
The prospect of missing the Ashes has not been seriously discussed by Smith, Warner, Starc, and their teammates. While some players have taken to social media to express opposition to Sutherland's letter, Warner is the first senior player to comment substantially on the issue.
"I really hope they can come to an agreement ... we don't really want to see this panning out like that where we don't have a team, we don't have cricket in the Australian summer," he told Fairfax Media.
If CA ceased paying players after June 30 and refused to consider short-term contracts which would allow players to be paid until a new agreement is reached, players might be forced to continue their careers overseas, he said.
The ACA has called for the dispute to go to independent mediation but CA so far has not agreed to that.
Warner said the players would not be intimidated. "We want a fair share and the revenue-sharing model is what we want, so we are going to stick together until we get that."
ACA boss Alistair Nicholson hasn't broached what could happen if June 30 passes without a new deal being signed. But players continue to declare they won't be blinking first.
"We'll obviously be guided by the ACA," Wade said. "But I don't think we're asking for anything more, we're just asking for exactly what we've got now and to continue that model."
Warner, Starc and Smith would get a higher wage under CA's proposal. Domestic cricketers stand to lose most if the pay model changes.
Even if there is no progress this financial year, both parties have the option of agreeing to short-term extensions.