16 May 2017

Australian players could boycott Ashes

2:56 pm on 16 May 2017

Australian cricketers will do "what it takes" to maintain their revenue-sharing model, with the prospect of an Ashes lockout gathering momentum amid stagnant pay talks.

Australia captain Steve Smith

Australia captain Steve Smith Photo: Photosport

The current Memorandum of Understanding expires on June 30 and there has been little meaningful discussion between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) regarding a new deal.

The dispute is centred on CA's wish to ditch the revenue-sharing model that has shaped players' salaries since the first MoU was brokered 20 years ago.

"Hopefully it gets resolved, we don't want to be unemployed for a period of time," wicketkeeper Matthew Wade told radio station SEN.

"But if it gets there we'll have to do what it takes.

"We'll fall into line with what the big dogs do, so the senior players will kind of direct us on which way to go."

Skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner made their views on the matter clear when they signed a preamble in the union's submission to players, noting the revenue-sharing model "has served the game so well".

Players said little publicly about the issue in recent months but have become increasingly more vocal, especially after CA chief executive James Sutherland fired off a stern email last Friday.

Spearhead Mitchell Starc hinted last weekend at the prospect of this summer's Ashes being staged without the country's top players, while Warner noted the players "won't buckle at all" and "if it gets to the extreme they might not have a team for the Ashes".

The prospect of missing the Ashes has not been seriously discussed by Smith, Warner, Starc, and their teammates.

ACA boss Alistair Nicholson is yet to broach what could happen if the June 30 deadline passes without a new deal being signed.

However, players continue to declare they won't be blinking first in the standoff that threatens to mar the sport's showpiece series; which doubles as CA's most important money-spinner.

"We'll obviously be guided by the ACA," Wade said.

"But I don't think we're asking for anything more, we're just asking for exactly what we've got now and to continue that model."

Warner, Starc and Smith would actually receive a higher wage under CA's proposal.

Domestic cricketers stand to lose most if the pay model changes.

Sutherland memorably told Warner to "stop looking for trouble" in 2015 after an on-field row but on this occasion there will be no censure.

CA has given players the green light to speak their minds during ongoing pay talks, insisting they respect all views.

Even if three is no progress this financial year, both parties have the option of agreeing to short-term extensions.

Those deals would ensure out-of-contract Test stars tour Bangladesh in August and face England in this summer's much-anticipated series.

However, Sutherland declared to players last Friday his organisation is "not contemplating" such arrangements.