Ashes no cer­tainty

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

JAMES Suther­land ad­mits Aus­tralian cricket could be on the brink of fi­nan­cial dev­as­ta­tion if there is no sum­mer Ashes.

The can­cel­la­tion of cricket’s pin­na­cle se­ries is the worst- case sce­nario that no one has dared imag­ine could pre­vail, but Cricket Aus­tralia has this week con­ceded for the very first time that the threat is real.

When Eng­land comes to town the game’s cof­fers are filled to over­flow­ing and CA has enough in re­serve to com­pen­sate for the lean sum­mers when the likes of the West Indies and Pak­istan roll in.

That sa­cred urn is why spon­sors and broad­cast­ers sign up and why so many pun­ters have al­ready bought tickets.

It’s need­less to say that a can­celled Ashes se­ries would lit­er­ally bring Aus­tralia’s na­tional sport to its knees.

The logic that an Ashes up in flames would kill both ad­min­is­tra­tors and play­ers equally is be­ing used as re­as­sur­ance that Ar­maged­don won’t ar­rive.

How­ever, this is a pay dis­pute that has con­tin­ued to es­ca­late at ev­ery turn and if a res­o­lu­tion isn’t bro­kered by next week as hoped, CA may have to se­ri­ously start brac­ing it­self for an end of days sce­nario.

Suther­land re­mains con­fi­dent the sum­mer of cricket will be a bumper one, but he con­cedes that there is no Plan B.

No Ashes, would equate to CA hav­ing to bail out ev­ery ma­jor stake­holder the game re­lies upon, po­ten­tially to its ruin.

“… In short, the an­swer is I don’t be­lieve that there would tech­ni­cally be in­sur­ance,” said Suther­land.

“There would be an obli­ga­tion on our part to mit­i­gate losses that would po­ten­tially be in­curred by our com­mer­cial part­ners or other stake­hold­ers in the game.

“But we haven’t got to that stage and hope­fully we won’t need to … we are op­er­at­ing in the here and now.

“It’s not as if we haven’t thought about it … but I sup­pose we all have that op­ti­mism that some­where, com­mon sense will pre­vail and we’ll get it sorted.

“Cer­tainly the Ashes is now well and truly on the hori­zon but there are other things that are very im­por­tant, in­clud­ing ( the Bangladesh tour) and get­ting play­ers con­tracted and get­ting them paid.”

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