Smith up­beat but says no tour with­out new pay deal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Australia cap­tain Steve Smith said he was up­beat that a bit­ter pay war between play­ers and man­age­ment could be nearly over-but warned the team wouldn’t go ahead with this month’s tour of Bangladesh un­til a new deal is signed.

Some 230 Aus­tralian crick­eters have been un­em­ployed since the end of June when their con­tracts ex­pired, in a row that has rat­tled the game and left their re­la­tion­ship with the gov­ern­ing body badly strained. But af­ter months of bad-tem­pered ne­go­ti­a­tions over a new pay deal-and a player boy­cott of an Australia A tour to South Africa-the end ap­pears to be in sight.

“A deal hasn’t been done just yet,” Smith told Fox Sports Australia late Tues­day. “There’s still a few things that need to be fi­nalised, some key el­e­ments. “They’ve been mak­ing some re­ally good progress and hope­fully they’ll con­tinue to make progress.”

A res­o­lu­tion would give cer­tainty not just to the Bangladesh trip, but a one-day tour to In­dia in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber ahead of the show­piece home Ashes se­ries against Eng­land, be­gin­ning in Novem­ber. But Smith said a deal would have to be struck be­fore Australia board the flight for Dhaka on Au­gust 18.

“I told Pat Howard per­son­ally this was how things were go­ing to be,” he said, re­fer­ring to Cricket Australia’s team per­for­mance man­ager. “I’d like to (tour Bangladesh), but as we’ve said for a long time we need to get a deal done first.”

CA chief James Suther­land warned last week that un­less the drawn-out ne­go­ti­a­tions over a rev­enue-shar­ing deal pro­duced a com­pro­mise by early this week, he would take the mat­ter to ar­bi­tra­tion and let the in­dus­trial um­pire re­solve it.

This sparked new ur­gency to strike a deal, with talks con­tin­u­ing over the week­end. Play­ers have been paid from gross rev­enue for the past two decades, but CA wants their pay to come from a set pool in­stead, with only sur­plus rev­enue shared. The Aus­tralian news­pa­per re­ported yes­ter­day that bar­ring last-minute stum­bling blocks, the play­ers would largely re­tain the pre­vi­ous model, which they have in­sisted is non-ne­go­tiable.

But even if the dis­agree­ment is re­solved, for­mer cap­tain Michael Clarke said on Sun­day he feared things would never be the same between CA and the play­ers. Vice-cap­tain David Warner has been par­tic­u­larly out­spo­ken in the push to keep the 20-year rev­enue-shar­ing ar­range­ment. But Smith in­sisted the bats­man had noth­ing to fear re­gard­ing po­ten­tial ret­ri­bu­tion from Howard and Suther­land.

“No, I think he’ll be okay,” Smith said. “Ob­vi­ously he’s been very vo­cal and he’s sup­ported the Aus­tralian Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion through this whole thing and he’s been great.”

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