Australian Cricketers Association confirmed that the Australia A team wouldn't travel South Africa as the pay dispute with Cricket Australia continues to remain unresolved. The team was to feature in two four-day matches against South Africa A followed by a tri-series, involving hosts and India A.
Cricket Australia suggested a change in the Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) between themselves and ACA according to which the Australian cricketers would no more receive a fixed amount of payment from the organisation's revenue (25 percent) but would rather be offered a share of the profit. The ACA denied the suggested changes and instead offered to reduce the percentage of share offered to the players to 22.5 percent from the original 25 but the CA firmly rejected the offer and since then the pay dispute has continued to grab headlines all over the world with the recent setback being Australia A's tour of South Africa being cancelled.
ACA released a statement confirming the boycott by the players as the committee had announced after their emergency meeting on last Sunday in Sydney. The proposed tour was to further Australia's budding cricketing talent who would have then been offered to play for their national side. However, the ACA statement suggested that the move was inevitable and the great amount of frustration led to the eventuality.
"It is with great frustration that with no progress towards resolving the current dispute, Australia A players confirm they will not tour South Africa," the ACA statement said as reported by cricket.com.au.
The website also reported that both the two committees had met in recent days to discuss negotiations on the ongoing issue, unlike their previous stances that led to the expiration of the previous MoU on June 30th.
It was also reported that Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland and his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson have had multiple talks during this period and the respective negotiating teams are working towards getting a breakthrough for a new agreement.
Cricket Austraila expressed disappointment on the cancellation of the month-long tour while confirming the ongoing negotiations. The Australian cricket board suggested that $250,000 that would have been spent on the tour would now be used to fund community facilities. CA also said that the players who hold multi-year contracts with state associations and KFC Big Bash League franchises will be paid in accordance with their contracts.
"Cricket Australia is disappointed that players have today confirmed that they are unwilling to take part in the Australia A tour of South Africa," the CA statement said.
The next scheduled event features the national team who are supposed to tour Bangladesh for a two-match Test series commencing on August 18th followed by an ODI series in India in October and Ashes in November.
However, the upcoming series too could be jeopardised by the bitter pay dispute and former Australian skipper Allan Border expressed his concerns and fear on the looming clouds of uncertainty over the future of cricket in Australia.
“It seems ridiculous that it’s got to this. (Australia A tours) can be rescheduled, but tours of India and Ashes can’t — and that’s looming,” Border told Fox Sports.
“Has there ever been a player boycott of a tour before? Not in my time. To boycott a tour — that’s pretty serious. If both sides stick their head in the sand and are not prepared to talk to each other, what else is there to think(than the Ashes are in jeopardy)?
“As an outsider, you’ve got to say ‘does that mean touring India is going to be a problem?’.
“If that happens, the Indians are going to have some say about what’s going on — it’s costing us money. And then the Ashes. I can’t imagine that not going ahead because of a player boycott. They’ve just got to get in a room and do it now.”
The 61-year old, who was known for his strict on-field stance, offered to mediate between the two organisations.
“If they need a mediator… whatever it takes to get both parties together and talking,” he said when asked if he’d take on that role.
“At the moment it just seems as though they’re not talking to each other They’ve got total separate thoughts on the thing and just won’t negotiate. You can’t just let these things drift because there’ll be serious ramifications down the line.”
Border also warned the players and Cricket Australia that the cancellation of the Ashes series could lead to the end of Test cricket in Australia.
“That’s hard to come back from. You lose your supporter base,” Border said.
“There’s a lot of people out there that love the game but as soon as you start boycotting Ashes series… that is a serious situation. Can the game survive something like that? You just don’t know. It might survive in Twenty20 scenarios but the traditional game, how do you come back from that?”
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