Chief Executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), Alistair Nicholson, said he was unsurprised that international leagues would target Australia’s greatest players, following the threats of unemployment made by Cricket Australia.
Commenting on reports that world’s newest T20 league in South Africa and English T20 franchises were watching Australian cricket’s escalating pay dispute with eager anticipation, Nicholson said overseas franchises were acutely aware of the consequences of the Cricket Australia threat.
“To threaten Australia’s cricketers shows an apparent lack of appreciation of international circumstances,” Nicholson said.
“Times have changed. The commercial reality of the international cricket world is that our cricketers are in high demand for more money all over the world.
“CA forcing them into unemployment is an open invitation to the international cricket world. It’s a dangerous mistake and one that is completely unnecessary.
“And it compounds the existing error of dismantling revenue sharing which is the best defence against international forces.
“Australian cricketers, men and women both, want to play in Australia, for Australia and for their States and T20 teams. When you threaten them with unemployment you place them squarely in the sights of the new cricket world,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson also took aim at ill-informed commentary that Australia’s top players were asking for too much in the current MOU and considering strike action.
“The top players are going into bat for the domestic players, female players and grassroots cricket. That’s what this dispute is largely about.
“And what they are asking for is simply to keep what they already have.
“The players are asking for 22.5% of revenue for them and 22.5% for grass roots, leaving CA with 55% of revenue.
“If they were being greedy they would have taken the deals CA were offering them to walk away from their colleagues.
“David Warner, for example, could actually be worse off for sticking by his mates. That’s to his great credit.
“Nor David or any of the other players have threatened the Ashes with strike action, because the reality is that unless the MOU is resolved, he and the other players will be out of contract.
“No contracts means unemployment, which means no players. That is the reality. Strike action is actually not part of any equation,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson also reaffirmed his call for mediation to avoid the dispute spiralling out of control.
“That one party welcomes mediation and the other rejects it says a lot about the relative attitudes in this dispute,” Nicholson said.