MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former Australia test player Adam Gilchrist can relate to the ongoing pay dispute between the board and the cricketers and is optimistic of a timely resolution of the row which has cast a shadow of doubt over this year’s Ashes series.
Australia face a possible player strike or lockout if the protracted negotiation over a new pay deal for the country’s international and state cricketers cannot be resolved by the June 30 deadline, when current contracts expire.
Gilchrist’s career was in the nascent stage when the current revenue-sharing model came into effect in 1997 and the former stumper-batsman could see the similarities.
“The players are sticking together with that unity, and that was certainly the case back then and I was a young player having my very first contract with Cricket Australia dangled in front of me, and here were my senior peers saying: ‘Don’t sign it, don’t break, don’t crumble’,” he told Fox Sports.
”And we didn‘t, and 20 years later conditions are fantastic for players now. There’s no doubt about that. So that end result has been terrific. There’ll be an end, there will be an end to it.
“We’re nearly at June 30, so that’s approaching quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been meeting in the last few days, the players’ association and the board. I think both sides are going to have to compromise,” added Gilchrist.
Vice captain David Warner has revealed the threat of Australian cricketers skipping the Ashes series, starting in November, against England was a reality.
“If we are unemployed we have no contracts, we can’t play,” he told reporters in England, where the side are playing the Champions Trophy.
At the heart of the dispute is the arrangement whereby the players share a fixed percentage of up to 26 percent of CA revenue, a model the board said was “starving” the grassroots of the game of funding.
The players’ union has criticised CA for acting like a “heavy monopoly” and demanded the negotiation continued.
“So while the players feel CA has gone about this all wrong, they are still prepared to offer good faith and solutions,” Alistair Nicholson, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, wrote in column for the Herald Sun.
“What needs to happen is that CA move somewhere towards the middle, because the players are already there. Ready and waiting for common sense to prevail.”
Gilchrist said he had spoken to both the parties and believed the CA had made a fair offer to the players.
“I think Cricket Australia are offering a very, very fair deal for players. No one is going to go without and everyone is growing and increasing.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly