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Threat of Australia players' strike eases after talks

Brydon Coverdale

June 15, 2012

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Wally Edwards, March 13, 2005
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards: "We're all very confident that a successful MoU will be agreed before the end of the month." © Getty Images

The threat of a strike by Australia's players has eased significantly after productive talks between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association over the past two days. Cricket Australia's chairman Wally Edwards said the issues had been discussed at a board meeting in Melbourne on Friday and he was confident that the necessary breakthroughs had been made to ensure a resolution of the pay dispute before the June 30 deadline.

Australia's players flew out for England on Thursday, preparing for a one-day tour in the knowledge that they could reach the end of the month without a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on pay and contract issues. The possibility of strike action had been raised, but Edwards said the most recent negotiations between Cricket Australia and the ACA had brought an agreement much closer.

"The two negotiating teams have made good progress in the last two or three days," Edwards said. "We're all very confident that a successful MoU will be agreed before the end of the month. The board today has considered a lot of the issues and there's just details now to be resolved. The big issues are pretty well understood now and agreed [upon]. We're just down into detail. From a Cricket Australia perspective we're confident there will be a successful outcome before the end of June."

The talks have dragged on longer than both sides hoped, with only two weeks before the existing MoU expires, and the situation has left a number of state players in limbo as the state associations have been banned from recruiting and contracting players until a resolution is reached. Despite the recent disagreements between the two parties, Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said he was confident the relationship with the ACA would not be damaged in the long term.

"I don't believe in the last few years we've had any problem with the ACA," Sutherland said. "I think we work through issues from day to day and this is obviously a major one. It's challenging and it's complex and it's important, and I don't think either party expected to be able to walk through this easily.

"Inevitably, I think the willingness on both sides was there to make sure something was done by the end. We just were not able to work through the impasse and fortunately we've found a way through that in the last couple of days. We're now in a very confident position of having an agreement."

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

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Posted by hyclass on (June 18, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Traditional cricket is being unravelled before our eyes and I read banal comments on player performances and contracts. For 18 months, I have observed extraordinary commentary and behaviour from CA and its employees with the sole purpose of disposing of the value of Test and Shield cricket to promote BBL in its place. Such a volume of evidence has been in the public forum,that I despair of the lack of forceful comment and public action by those paid to document cricket proceedings. Hayden railed against it while a CA Board member. Sutherland berated Shield,the curators,who were subject to the return of heavy rain and the standard of players while CA encouraged Bollinger and Hussey to play IPL finals,to Bollinger's detriment.Nielsen and selectors like Hilditch,along with the physios-the same ones who advised Watson to give up,were all re-contracted.Geoff Clark of CA stated publicly that he wasnt convinced anything was wrong,after England's record Ashes triumph.Its time to wake up!

Posted by Lakpj on (June 17, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

Players should be played accordingly, playing for your country involves lot of sacrifices. Hard training/practice, vigorous routines, strict diets, etc... it is not easy as sitting inside an air conditioned room and sign letters and giving orders. this is something cricket administrators allover the world should think twice. as the way i see it there is no harm in paying the people who bring honor to your country rather allowing the dirty politicians to pocket a portion of it.

Posted by Meety on (June 17, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

@Timothy Cain - I agree with what you are trying to say, but I think your formulae is too simplistic. Take someone like Clarke, he gets endorsements left right & centre because he is a marketable commodity. I saw on e of the regulars on this site suggested the Union wanted to include a property development at the WACA in the "pie" for players - I think that is out of bounds. @Hyclass - could be right re: the future of traditional cricket, but I think that would be decades upon decades away. Too much folklore in Tests for it to die. I do see a day, when teenagers talk more about IPL then Tests, I hope I'm senile by then! LOL!

Posted by hyclass on (June 16, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

@Timothy Cain, as witnessed with Chris Gayle spending 18 months away from the Test Team,we may be in the presence of the last rites of traditional cricket. Gayle was proof that while players still desired the credibility of the establishment,they were quite prepared to survive comfortably in 20/20.The players are increasingly free agents able to abjure the usual processes and by definition,the administrators.Katich,a slower scorer has followed a more traditional professional path into County Cricket.Rogers has been forced into equal considerations.Intelligence is timeless.The paths of excellence have long been narrow,arduous and well observed by those aspiring to greatness.It has not been in evidence in CA processes since 2006,when the great dilution of traditional cricket began in a headlong pursuit to establish 20/20 as the dominant format.Clearly,its suitability for media is at the core.There is an inverse variation between consumption & desirability that questions its longevity.

Posted by   on (June 16, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

The role of the administrators is to support the players. Their worth is derived from how well the do that. The players are the draw card. I have never gone to a cricket match to watch an administrator, and never will. The players should be paid a percentage of the gate, that and that alone is their true worth. The administrators, in turn should have their pay determined by the players. The players are the only ones that can determine their worth.

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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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