Australia board’s gam­ble on play­ers’ greed back­fires

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MEL­BOURNE: Australia’s cricket board gam­bled that greed would mo­ti­vate top play­ers into ac­cept­ing a pay of­fer and while that bet has back­fired the par­ties are likely to thrash out a deal in time to avert an Ashes boy­cott, former cap­tain Ian Chap­pell has said.

Play­ers have re­jected Cricket Australia’s (CA) of­fer that would end a 20-year-old rev­enue-shar­ing model when the next col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment starts in July.

The pro­posal of­fers more money than the cur­rent five-year CBA but al­lows only in­ter­na­tional play­ers to share in sur­plus rev­enues, while do­mes­tic crick­eters would have to set­tle for fixed amounts.

Former Test skip­per Chap­pell was a lead­ing fig­ure in Aus­tralian cricket’s most bit­ter pay dis­pute in the 1970s, which paved the way for the break­away World Series Cricket.

“I’m de­lighted the play­ers are stick­ing to­gether and stay­ing strong on it,” Chap­pell said in com­ments pub­lished by Syd­ney news­pa­per the Daily Tele­graph yes­ter­day.

“From afar it looks as though the board are try­ing to splin­ter the play­ers, which I find a rather strange tac­tic.

“Maybe the board thought, ‘You know what the play­ers are like’. They were work­ing on the the­ory of greed, that you keep the top blokes happy with money and they won’t care about the rest.

“It looks like they’ve picked the wrong tar­get.”

CA CEO James Suther­land raised ten­sions ear­lier this month when he told play­ers to agree to terms by the June 30 dead­line or risk be­ing un­em­ployed.

It elicited a heated re­sponse from the Aus­tralian Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion, the play­ers’ union, and open­ing bats­man David Warner warned the board it might not have a team for the five-Test Ashes series start­ing in Novem­ber.

CA have de­clined to com­ment fur­ther on the pay dis­pute.

Chap­pell said Australia’s top play­ers could eas­ily “do a Chris Gayle” and play as free agents in the world’s lu­cra­tive do­mes­tic Twenty20 com­pe­ti­tions like the former West Indies Test cap­tain did.

But he doubted it would come to that.

“There will be more pos­tur­ing and even­tu­ally they’ll come to their senses,” he said. Reuters

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