Australia news May 18, 2017

Lehmann sits on fence in pay dispute


Darren Lehmann: "What I want to do is see both parties come to the table and get a deal done for the betterment of the game." © AFP

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has strong views about the fixed revenue percentage model that the players are presently battling Cricket Australia to retain in the next payment MOU. But he's not going to air them publicly.

Lehmann, a former player delegate and president of the Australian Cricketers' Association and now a highly-paid employee of CA, sat firmly on the fence ahead of the national team's departure for England and the ICC Champions Trophy - the last tournament to take place before the June 30 expiry of the current pay deal.

Though he acknowledged that the dispute would be a distraction for the players over at least the next six weeks, he doubted the Ashes would be disrupted, saying "I wouldn't think so, and I would hope not as a fan". Most of all, he stressed the importance of the two parties re-opening effective, respectful communication to get a deal done.

"Both parties have got to get talking, that's what they've got to do," Lehmann said the day after CA rejected the ACA's request for independent mediation. "Once they get that they'll get a deal done, and once that happens we'll be right and get the game going the way it should be.

"What I want to do is see both parties come to the table and get a deal done for the betterment of the game. From the grass roots right through to the elite cricketers. From a players point of view they're sticking together, we support players and support CA. Everyone supports each other, it is just a case of getting a deal done."

Communication has been a hallmark of how Lehmann has coached Australia, and he has continued that theme during the dispute. He has discussed matters at length with the national captain Steven Smith during his IPL stint, and also indicated that he would open the floor to players to discuss matters together when they convene in England, for the start of a campaign that leads ultimately to the 2019 World Cup and Ashes double.

"It is going to be a bit of a distraction there's no doubt about that," Lehmann said. "But at the end of the day we're there to concentrate on the cricket, we've got to do the best job we possibly can so from my point of view they've just got to get talking, simple fact of life. They're both adults, both will deal with it as best they can and get the outcome right for the game.

"We'll talk about it when we all meet. You have to do that, you've got to keep it open in communication so we know the direction everyone's going. At the end of the day it's about getting ready for that first game and playing well. The next three years we go to England for one dayers the following year and then we've got the World Cup, so it's a pretty important tournament for us in many ways."

While pointing out that negotiations have often run close to the wire in the past, Lehmann admitted he had not seen such acrimony between the two parties since the 1997-98 dispute that ultimately led to the revenue-sharing arrangement that has existed over the past 20 years.

"I was there as a player and a delegate and then president," he said. "You have those issues, every sport has them, so it's just about communication and getting the right outcome for both parties. That's the key. Both sides I'm sure will get there. It traditionally goes quite late, so there's no panic, it's just about those two parties getting together."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • carmel2779900 on May 21, 2017, 4:46 GMT

    First of all, lehmann must go !

  • Jose on May 19, 2017, 2:25 GMT

    @ dunger.bob on May 18, 2017, 21:46 GMT

    That's pure platinum*! .... "Hoof instead of Boof..." !

    I just couldn't stop laughing. mate!



    'Gold' will be devalued after the next pay hike; hence switching to 'platinum'!

  • adeel on May 18, 2017, 22:43 GMT

    "...It traditionally goes quite late, so there's no panic, it's just about those two parties getting together."

    basically he's saying that just wait for the first party to buckle and as soon as that happens the deal will be done !

    so lets wait if its CA or ACA ;)

  • rob on May 18, 2017, 21:46 GMT

    @ Jose: lol. Love the last two options. If he's a trojan horse I might start calling him hoof instead of boof. - My guess is that he's exactly what he appears to be, a man with a foot on both sides of the fence. He's probably fuming about all the chest thumping and just wishing they'd get on with it.

  • Jose on May 18, 2017, 13:49 GMT

    @shane-oh on May 18, 2017, 7:21 GMT

    You are right. But, how he will use that awkward position, in bringing some resolution will show the mettle of the man. Either he has it. Or just hasn't. Anyway, I am ready with my alternate choices to check, "at the end of the day",

    1. Communication link. ( )

    2. Fence sitter. ( )

    3. Trojan Horse of his new love, CA. ( )

    4. Trojan Horse of his old love ACA. ( )

  • cornel0635077 on May 18, 2017, 13:16 GMT

    "Sits on the fence" = intelligently avoiding unnecessary conflict

  • Jose on May 18, 2017, 13:15 GMT

    Nice to see the slow, but sure, appearance of the missing link in the communication chain.

    I had earlier wailed about the communication gap, further compounded by the nagging trust deficit. Perhaps, Boof may succeed in bridging both a bit, as a starter. Then, the momentum will take over.

    In the current context, if there is any priest who can bring the 'lovers' quarrel' to an end, and bring the pair to the altar, Rev Boof is the man. Best of luck, reverend!

    He sounds very much like my good mate Dunger.Bob, with his optimistic view. And, for the prediction that there certainly will be the light, but at the end of a long tunnel, as is the usual routine in such disputes. Hope, both of them prove to be right. And, the cricketing business may carry on as usual.

  • frank on May 18, 2017, 10:47 GMT

    Can't see CA being too happy that Lehmann is publicly neutral - after all,he works for CA in a high profile,key position,so presumably is expected to toe the company line.

  • Shane on May 18, 2017, 7:21 GMT

    Jeez, what an awkward position he is in...

  • Allan on May 18, 2017, 5:41 GMT

    As well as being one of the best coaches in the world, boof is the key to getting this situation fixed as he has the trust of both players and CA. I expect he will play a key part in getting this situation resolved.

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