Australia vice-captain David Warner has jumped into the ongoing stand-off between the Australia Cricketers Association and Cricket Australia, declaring that the players can skip the Ashes in order to make CA accept the fixed revenue-percentage model.
“If it gets to the extreme, they might not have a team for the Ashes,” Warner said. “I really hope they can come to an agreement… we don’t really want to see this panning out like that where we don’t have a team, we don’t have cricket in the Australian summer. It is up to CA to deal with the ACA. It’s obviously in their hands.
Warner says that players’ demands are simple – fair share and a suitable revenue sharing model. His intervention has now confirmed that the matter isn’t dying without CA accepting ACA’s proposal.
Earlier, Test names like Mitchell Starc and Peter Handscomb openly hinted at an Ashe’s boycott as a possible measure to protest against Cricket Australia’s adamant behaviour. Things took a slight aggressive turn after James Sutherland chose to mail a hard worded mail to the players, stating discontinuance of contracts after the expiry of the existing ones.
“We thought something along the lines of this might happen … it’s not come as a shock, but more the fact it has come so early. We won’t buckle at all, we are standing together and very strong, and as you can see from all the people that have spoken so far, we are all on the same wavelength and are sticking together.
“We want a fair share and the revenue-sharing model is what we want, so we are going to stick together until we get that. We are not going to shy away; we are just going to stick together.”
If the dispute reaches its ugly stages and the Australian cricketers are refused the contract, Warner hinted at adopting the T20 leagues as the means of staying active with their profession. The Caribbean Premier League and the English T20 Blast look as the possible platforms for Australian players to spend the time in the second half of the year.
CA is obliged to provide no-objection certificates for players to take part in overseas T20 leagues but if the players are forced out of contracts then there might be possible problems with the sponsorship rights as well.
“For us, as cricketers, if we don’t have contracts we are going to have to find some cricket to play somewhere else because that’s what we love doing, and we’re obviously going to look to maybe do something in the meantime, otherwise we don’t get paid,” Warner said. “A few boys might go over to play the Caribbean Premier League and I think there could be some of the England Twenty20s on as well. We want to keep participating for our country as much as we can, but if we don’t have a job, we have to go and find some cricket elsewhere.”
Warner also laughed off the possibilities of skipping IPL. A few days ago, it was reported that the top players were offered multi-year deals in exchange for no longer playing the IPL by CA team performance manager Pat Howard. The names who were approached included Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins apart from Warner.
“It was quite laughable when I heard about it,” Warner said. “It is fantastic with the security [of a three-year deal] but you can’t just try and stop people from playing other tournaments. We understand where they are coming from, they would like their best players and contracted players to have that rest.
“I see it as a great opportunity to play T20 cricket when they are scheduling T20 international cricket games when we are playing Test series – obviously there’s too much cricket being played internationally. [The IPL] gives us a great window to get the T20 format in.”