Fu­ture on line via US

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

CAP­TAIN Steve Smith will to­mor­row weigh into cricket’s es­ca­lat­ing pay war live from New York City af­ter Cricket Aus­tralia an­nounced they would im­me­di­ately start pour­ing money no longer needed to pay un­em­ployed play­ers into grass­roots fa­cil­i­ties.

Smith is on a rare hol­i­day in the US, where he this week pro­posed to long- time part­ner Dani Wil­lis on top of the Rock­e­feller Cen­tre, but the skip­per won’t be get­ting down on bended knee for Cricket Aus­tralia even now the dreaded MOU dead­line has passed.

It’s now abun­dantly clear, though, that the game’s ad­min­is­tra­tors are not back­ing down ei­ther.

In a strongly worded email last night, CA blamed the Aus­tralian Crick­eters As­so­ci­a­tion for re­fus­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with them and then pledged that in­stead of back- pay­ing play­ers once a deal is done they will al­lo­cate $ 1.2 mil­lion a fort­night of the money pre­vi­ously used to pay Smith and his com­rades to the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Fa­cil­i­ties Fund­ing Scheme.

To­mor­row’s ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing of the Aus­tralian Crick­eters As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive to be held at the Hil­ton Ho­tel in Syd­ney – which Smith will join via phone link – is set to de­ter­mine the play­ers’ stance on key is­sues in their fight against CA.

There is a strong push for an Aus­tralia A tour of South Africa start­ing in less than a fort­night to be boy­cotted in or­der to send a clear mes­sage, but that in­cli­na­tion must first be se­ri­ously thrashed out at the Hil­ton and weighed up against the ben­e­fits of let­ting a group of crick­eters – who es­sen­tially want to tour – to con­tinue to play.

The de­ci­sion on whether or not to bring the cur­tains down on the A tour as ex­pected, or al­ter­na­tively ac­cept tem­po­rary con­tracts and tour South Africa, will po­ten­tially have giant ram­i­fi­ca­tions on how an ex­tended in­dus­trial re­la­tions dis­pute might play out look­ing ahead to up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional se­ries against Bangladesh, In­dia and then the Ashes.

Smith is not part of the ACA ex­ec­u­tive but his voice as the cap­tain of the na­tional men’s team car­ries sig­nif­i­cant weight.

The public is grow­ing sick and tired of the pro­longed saga and as CA re­main res­o­lute, the play­ers need a strong fig­ure­head if they’re to main­tain public sup­port.

The 28- year- old hasn’t been as prom­i­nent as his deputy David Warner through­out the con­flict – with Warner be­ing widely praised by fel­low crick­eters for his front- foot, au­thor­i­ta­tive lead­er­ship on the is­sue.

Aus­tralian cap­tain Steve Smith.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.