No re­treat, says Smith, as play­ers face long bat­tle

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - RUS­SELL GOULD

TEST cap­tain Steve Smith says Aus­tralia’s un­em­ployed crick­eters are pre­pared for a long fight and won’t buckle in a stand­off with Cricket Aus­tralia grow­ing uglier by the day.

Smith has been crit­i­cised for his rel­a­tive ab­sence from the front lines of the big­gest is­sue in Aus­tralian cricket which has left around 230 na­tional and state crick­eters for over a week.

Af­ter play­ing al­most non­stop from last Oc­to­ber through to the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy exit last month, the na­tional cap­tain has been on a long over­due hol­i­day.

Smith has main­tained con­tact with the ACA through­out, and even di­alled in via video link to the his­toric play­ers meet­ing in Syd­ney last Sun­day un­em­ployed where the play­ers turned up the pres­sure on CA to open the door to me­di­a­tion.

It was re­vealed yes­ter­day that ACA gen­eral man­ager Tim Cruick­shank was fly­ing to In­dia this week to sell im­age rights of Aus­tralian crick­eters to would- be spon­sors.

Smith and Test team­mates David Warner, Mitchell Starc and even Glenn Maxwell are mas­sive names on the cashed- up sub­con­ti­nent and the ACA, which has lost $ 4 mil­lion in an­nual fund­ing, now has con­trol of their im­age rights.

Any money raised would go to fund­ing un­em­ployed do­mes­tic male and fe­male play­ers through what looms as a lengthy stand- off and Smith said the play­ers would stay united, for as long it takes.

“I’ll say what we as play­ers have been say­ing for some time now: we are not giv­ing up the rev­enue shar­ing model for all play­ers,” Smith wrote in a lengthy In­sta­gram post.

“But, through the ACA we are will­ing to make im­por­tant changes to mod­ernise the ex­ist­ing model.

“We are and have al­ways been will­ing to make those changes.

“We are de­ter­mined to keep rev­enue shar­ing for all.”

Aussie cap­tain Steve Smith.

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