Australia captain Steven Smith has reiterated that players are unlikely to tour Bangladesh without a resolution to the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA). The tour is scheduled to begin in three weeks, from August 22.
"I'd like to, but as we've said for a long time we need to get the deal done first," Smith told Fox Sports, when asked if he expected the Bangladesh series to go ahead. "I don't think it would be fair for us to go away after the [Australia] A guys were very strong on not going away on their tour [of South Africa], for us to then go away, I don't think that's fair.
"CA know this, they've been told this. I told [CA's Executive GM of Team Performance] Pat Howard personally that this was how things were going to be if there wasn't a deal done."
CA and the ACA are in the middle of negotiations and are thought to be moving closer to an agreement. Contrary to some reports, an agreement has not yet been reached.
Smith, however, remained hopeful because he said there had been ""some really good progress" in negotiations. He also spoke of the difficulty he faced in having to take a stand on behalf of the players while maintaining a healthy relationship with CA management, saying that he would have preferred for the dispute to remain confidential.
"It's had some difficult moments," Smith said. "When this is all over with, I have to deal with Pat Howard, I have to deal with the (CA) Board and speak to [CA CEO] James Sutherland so I have to be careful with what sort of lines I tread. Some guys have been really vocal on social media and I think the way for me to lead in this dispute is to be able to talk to guys behind the scenes that are at the table and doing the job."
Australia have not toured Bangladesh for Tests since 2006. The upcoming tour was originally supposed to have taken place in 2016, but Australia postponed that trip because of security concerns.