Australia in England 2012 June 14, 2012

Player strike would be 'a disaster' - George Bailey


Australia's cricketers will fly out for a one-day tour of England and Ireland on Thursday knowing that time is running out for a new pay deal to be signed. Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) were due to resume negotiations on Thursday as they aim to find common ground on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the existing agreement to expire on June 30.

If a new MoU is not completed by then, Australia's players will need to decide whether to play on - they will have four ODIs remaining against England in early July - or call a strike. Australia's Twenty20 captain and one-day batsman George Bailey, who is also a member of the ACA executive committee, said the players remained hopeful that they would not be put in such a difficult position.

"The players still have full faith that the ACA and CA will be able to sort out the differences they have at the moment and come to a conclusion," Bailey said. "Whenever there's talk of a strike I think that's very much a last, last resort. It would be a disaster if both the ACA and CA got to the stage where that had to occur. I've still got full faith that both parties will be able to rectify that in the next few days."

It is not just the national players who could be affected by the ongoing failure to reach a deal. State cricketers have been left in limbo, not knowing whether they will have a contract for next season and unable to negotiate a move interstate, as Cricket Australia has banned any player movements until a new MoU is agreed.

That has left a number of domestic players with no choice but to train with their existing state in the knowledge that they might not be part of the squad next summer. Bailey, the captain of Tasmania, said it was a difficult situation for some players, particularly those on the fringes of the state system who did not know what their immediate future would hold.

"There's players who are in a position where they aren't sure whether they should be training because the reality is they might not be playing for Tassie in a few months," he said. "It's that balance of should they be looking for work or should they be talking to other states, who actually aren't allowed to talk to them at the moment. It's a bit of a challenge for those guys.

"They're probably the guys you feel for most, the guys at the domestic level who are in limbo, not knowing where they're going to be playing, who they're going to be playing for, and the state associations are looking at who they're going to recruit, who they're going to contract. At that level you can understand the state associations are starting to get pretty frustrated and players would be wanting to know what's going on. It's probably less so at the national level."

The Australians begin their tour with a one-off ODI against Ireland in Belfast on June 23, before a five-match series against England from June 29 to July 10. The squad features several men who are returning after spending time out of the national side, including the fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Johnson, neither of whom have played for Australia since the tour of South Africa last November due to injuries.

The allrounder Steven Smith is also back in the mix, having been overlooked since the one-day portion of the South African tour in October. The bowlers will be under the guidance of Ali de Winter, the Tasmania assistant coach, who has been seconded to the squad as temporary bowling coach.

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

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  • Christopher on June 16, 2012, 9:00 GMT

    You're exactly correct @Meety.Player strikes and action have long been a part of the Australian cricket landscape.As @RightArmEverything has pointed out,the Big Six did in fact refuse to tour in 1912.Also if you read up on WG Grace, you will see that he was as ruthless negotiating his own worth as he was making runs and taking wickets. Bradman also offered to stand down when a contract he had with the media was deemed to be in breach of Australian contract-this despite others working in the media.@wishyouwerehere has identified IPL as causal.There can be no question that it has devalued traditional cricket and given the BCCI a tremendous financial weapon with which to oversee international cricket.Cricket wasnt ever considered just a sport,but a method by which strong values could be transferred inter-generationally.In my opinion,the last 5 years coincide with the lundermining of these values at CA with a view to making 20/20 more appealing. 20/20 teaches no ethics.Congratulations!

  • Andrew on June 15, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @zenboomerang - LOL, nice to see you feel that "..There has been no continuous war by players against CA..." - I agree that there has been no WAR between the players & CA! As far as I can tell, nobody has been KILLED! No where did I say it has been "...continuous...", nowhere did I use the word "...war..", - I mentioned serious action, which includes World Series, a near strike on the tour of Sth Africa around 1969, the refusal to tour in 1911, players not playing over selection around the turn of the century, not to mention rebel tours thru the 80s. Read any accounts of cricketers PRE 1970, & you will see there has always been degrees of animosity over pay etc since the beginning of cricket in OZ. "Dreamland", is that where you saw Adam Gilchrist play for "...Southern Districts..."??? You accuse me of misquoting, take a look at yourself! LOL! To top it all off, your proven wrong & you still can't admit it! Glad to have you back reading my comments, it is hilarious!

  • Roo on June 15, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    @RightArmEverything... I feel my original post was spot on... There has been no continuous war by players against CA, while you talk of a very short period of time - a matter of 3 years & WSC, when in fact for the majority of the hundred odd years there have been no strikes, plus how many tour cancellations due to player disputes?... & how many since WSC?... I personally agreed with the players shift to WSC - the players were lucky to get tradesmans wages (if that) in the 70's & deserved better conditions... But today?... Still, I'm not a big fan of performance payments in cricket (or lack of) as cricket can be a very fickle sport - lucky/unlucky catches, bowling, umpiring decisions, luck of winning the toss in conditions that suit the winner, etc...

  • Alex on June 14, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    @RyanSmith Cricket Australia are the ones trying to change the current system not ACA, the ACA are happy to roll over the same system for another year which is exactly what happened last year when they couldn't come to an agreement but now Cricket australia refuse to do the same again.

  • Matthew on June 14, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @zenboomerang, Ian Chappell's latest article suggests you're wrong to criticise @Meety "There was the occasional 19th-century battle of wills over bowling actions, but the first major stoush occurred in the early 20th century. Up until then, certainly in Australia, the players had largely controlled the purse strings. The signs were ominous in 1909 when the Imperial Cricket Conference was formed. Then in 1911 there was a player revolt when Australia's "Big Six" refused to tour England in a futile attempt to retain the control they had over the split of the takings. When the Australian players lost that battle, the administrators gained the upper hand and, consequently, a strong hold on the purse strings. This rapidly became a vice-like grip until the World Series Cricket split in 1977, when the administrators' stranglehold on the finances was finally broken."

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    For all of you out there saying that Sri Lanka played without their salaries and gave it their 100%, well for your info, SL never even won a single series, let it be Test or ODI, from that time. Only if the players get paid, will they perform well. Simple as that.

  • Roo on June 14, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    @Meety :- "there has been serious action taken by the players against the establishment in cricket since the begining of cricket in this country"... lol... Sure... Explain in detain the "serious action taken" pre 1970! - the player strikes & tour cancellations... Still in dreamland?... Back to your day job I guess?...

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    MR @wishyouwerehere why Blame IPL for everything ? funny

  • Shiva on June 14, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    I blame IPL and BCCI for this mess!!! Players gets handsome money when they play in IPL and now we see the comparision!!!

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    is someone learned out there able to tell me the current aus salaries please

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