Future on line via US
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.