Australia’s vice-captain David Warner said that the players will boycott this summer’s Ashes if the current pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association continues to stretch beyond the June 30 expiry of MOU.
“I stick firm behind it,” Warner was quoted as saying ESPNCricinfo. “If we are unemployed we have no contracts, we can’t play. So, from my point of view and speaking to the guys, we would love to see something happen between now and July 1 and I am sure that it is in the capable hands of the ACA to get to the table with CA and come to some form of an agreement.”
Warner was criticised for his earlier comments about the possibility that CA “might not have a team for Ashes” if they continue to take uncompromising steps on their efforts to break-up fixed revenue percentage pay model that has continued for the past 20 years.
“I have a verbal stance, to stick up for all our players, and we are always talking about a fair share and equality. And that’s what we are sticking to. People have their own opinions and they can have those opinions, and for me, what has been written about me in the past or what gets written now, I don’t take any notice of that. My full support is with all the guys, and we’re all together.
“We’ve always said from day one that all the support is behind the ACA 100%. They are doing a great job for us. Obviously, from a players’ point of view, we are pretty vocal and upbeat about it. We are pretty sure that they will come to an agreement. But as you know, we are going to be unemployed come July 1. So we have to wait and see and play it out from there.”
Warner also refused to take his words back regarding the Ashes series, he said that the players were committed to letting the ACA act as their collective bargaining agent and were not entertaining the thought of any direct negotiations with CA. Instead, he said, members of the Champions Trophy squad were hearing of CA’s tactics via media reports.
“Not really. It is only what we hear in the media and that’s how CA have been driving it the whole way,” Warner said. “They have been using the media as a voice and we get that message from there. As you said, we get a couple of emails.”
Australia’s shaky performance against New Zealand which was later washed-out due to rain suggested that players are struggling to focus on the Champions Trophy due to the dispute. However, Warner looked confident that this issue would not affect their Champions Trophy campaign.
“For us, we galvanise all the time – it doesn’t matter what is going on outside of the game,” he said. “It is a big thing that we could be unemployed but from us, our job is to play cricket and focus on winning the tournament and not letting our country down in that respect. So as I said, our full mental frame is toward the tournament.”