Australia coach Darren Lehmann conceded that the team’s focus isn’t entirely on the matters on the field of play as the Champions Trophy draws closer amid bitter dispute with the home board Cricket Australia. However, he played down a boycott of the Ashes later in the year – something that some players like David Warner and Mitchell Starc – have hinted at.
“You have to do that. You have to keep communication open so we know what direction everyone’s going. It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there’s no doubt about that. Just getting together and working it out is the way to go. There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together,” he said in Brisbane.
Warner had said this week that players would not back down from their demand that CA keep its current revenue-sharing pay arrangement and cautioned they might walk out on the Ashes if relations became strained further. “I’d hope not as a fan. I’m sure that won’t happen. We’ve (Steve Smith) spoken quite a lot, on many issues at the moment. He’s really looking forward to getting the lads back together. There’s been a lot of emails and text messages around the place. He is (in good spirits). He’s been there (in India) for four months and hasn’t been home. But he’s ready to go,” he further added. Smith is the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant who have clinched a place in the on-going IPL final.
David Peever, Chairman of Cricket Australia, has rejected the Australian Cricketers’ Association request for mediation. “While CA absolutely shares your stated desire for a new agreement … it seems extraordinary to be considering the involvement of a mediator before the ACA has attempted to
negotiate,” Peever said. “The approach the ACA has taken in demanding certain preconditions be met before it is prepared to begin negotiations is the fundamental reason why no progress has been made to date.”
The two bodies have been at loggerheads for more than six months and as the date for the contract expiry (June 30), draw closer, the tension has risen for the body and the players alike. CA is determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years, saying more funds were needed for the game’s grassroots, and that its offer provided handsomely for players. The ACA is equally resolved to keep revenue-sharing, saying the system was not broken and did not need fixing.
(With inputs from AFP)