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Players demands are not unreasonable - Clarke

Brydon Coverdale

June 14, 2012

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke made a brisk 72, Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Hobart, February 24, 2012
Michael Clarke: "We're asking no more than what we've had. We want what's fair." © Getty Images
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Australia's captain Michael Clarke does not believe the nation's cricketers are making unreasonable demands of Cricket Australia in their ongoing pay negotiations. Clarke and his one-day side flew out for England on Thursday with the looming possibility that their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cricket Australia will lapse during the trip, if a new deal is not struck by June 30.

That would place Clarke in the unenviable position of leading the Australian side through a potential player strike, a scenario that neither the players nor Cricket Australia want to see happen. But as negotiations were set to continue between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), one or both parties will need to concede ground to ensure a deal is done by the end of the month.

The ACA believes Cricket Australia's proposal to change the definition of cricket revenue could leave the players worse off, but the board maintains the players will receive more money as a result of the alterations. James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said last week the players would be $80 million better off over a five-year period under the new proposal.

"That was news to me," Clarke said of the $80 million figure. "One thing I do know about the players is we're asking no more than what we've had. We believe the most important thing is giving back to this game, not just for the players that are playing today but for the future of the game. We want what's fair. We want the game to continue to be the number one game in this country and hopefully in the world. As captain of the Australian team we will do whatever it takes to make sure this game continues to grow. We're asking for nothing more."

"Hopefully it will be sorted sooner rather than later, for all parties. I think there's a meeting scheduled tomorrow with [Cricket Australia general manager of team performance] Pat Howard and [ACA chief executive] Paul Marsh ... The last thing we want to do is go on strike. I don't want to miss any cricket for Australia. I think it's best for everyone the sooner it gets done the better."

As well as the disagreement over the way cricket revenue is divided, Cricket Australia's push for performance-based player contracts was also a sticking point in negotiations, although one that appeared more likely to be resolved. Clarke said the existing system already rewarded and punished players based on their output.

"I believe our contracts are already performance-based," Clarke said. "We have 25 contracted players; 90% of those guys are on one-year contracts and if you don't perform in that 12 months you no longer have a contract, so you're looking for another job."

Australia play an ODI against Ireland and one against England before the June 30 MoU deadline. A further four ODIs against England are scheduled for the first two weeks of July.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (June 15, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

Precarious employment (1 year contracts) will always encourage worker demands for the higest possible pay due to the lack of securtity. Administrators should consider at least 2-3 year deals for players who have been able to hold a one year contract for 5 consecutive years. The they can seek to offer a smaller increase or simply maintain the figure for a longer period ensuring that they can plan with greater certainty. This plus a mix of performance incentives would be my suggestion for both negotiators.

Posted by YS_USA on (June 15, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

Zen and Meety, Top Indian and OZ players get endorsements, match-fees, T20 cameos and IPL contracts, but all that is extra money. The basic central contract (retainer fee) for top Indian players is $200,000, while I have read some place that the basic national contract for Watson, Ponting and Clark is $1 million to 1.5 million.

Posted by zenboomerang on (June 15, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

@Meety :- "you'll find that Oz contracts are less than a $1m a year"... Where does that come from?... Watson has been the highest paid Oz player for a number of years & it is definitely much larger!... Try putting up some "real" numbers next time...

Posted by Meety on (June 15, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

@YS_USA - I think you'll find that Oz contracts are less than a $1m a year. Sponsorship/endorsements & T20 cameos can boost that well over $1m.

Posted by YS_USA on (June 14, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

There is a mystery here. Although Indian players make millions in IPL, their central national contract for "A' grade players is only $200,000 while central national contracts for Aussies and UK players are in millions. So, what does BCCI do with non-IPL income? or their non-IPL income is considerably less than UK and Australia? On the other hand, they say that 75% of cricket revenue comes from India, so what is and where is this non-IPL money?

Posted by   on (June 14, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

i hope they don't postpone cricket all together if they don't get their way, at least have a back up team.

Posted by RightArmEverything on (June 14, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

@stormy16 and @Sinhabahu, what happens in other cricketing countries is really not relevant to this negotiation. The Australian players have a right to negotiate for what they feel is fair via the ACA and they are the reason the public pay to watch the game which fills the pockets of cricket administrators. Just because Aussie cricketers get paid more than cricketers in other countries, that does not mean they shouldn't take an interest in what they think is a fair deal, does it? Particularly if they think administrators are taking more than they deserve. Without knowing the full details it's hard to know whether the ACA or CA is in the right, but my gut feeling is that deep down they both have the interests of cricket at heart and a reasonable compromise will be found.

Posted by crictonite on (June 14, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

@stormy16: This sort of stuff happens everywhere. It's not a cultural, but a socioeconomic issue. Last year both the NFL and NBA were locked out for a period of time because their collective bargaining agreements with the players expired and they couldn't agree on a new one.

Posted by Muhtasim13 on (June 14, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Sangakkara & Jayawardena should read this.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

there's nothing like this in India.....

Posted by 1st_april on (June 14, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

Michael Clarke=Respect :-)

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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