Australia's players won't be pressured by board - May


Australian coach Darren Lehmann says it is unlikely Australian cricket's pay dispute will lead to an Ashes boycott by players.

The sticking point throughout the negotiations has been the players refusal to give up the revenue sharing model which would see them earn a percentage of the money generated by CA through their various endeavours.

Strike talk: David Warner, with a replica of the Ashes urn, has raised the spectre of industrial action before Australia faces England.

While Lehmann does not think the Ashes will be under threat, he does concede that Australia's preparations for the 50-over tournament in England could be prone to distraction. "I'm sure that won't happen", he said. "It traditionally goes quite late, so there's no panic, it's just about those two parties getting together". "You have to keep it open and communication so we know what direction everyone's going", he said.

Cricket Australia yesterday rejected ACA's request for mediation in pay talks between the two parties, reiterating the board's insistence that talks resume with its formal pay offer as the starting point. I'm literally talking to both players and CA.

"Unfortunately, however, the players and CA still appear to be a long way apart in the current negotiations, especially given CA are now refusing mediation".

The Women and Men Cricketers' Assistance Plan will allow players in need to apply for financial help as and when required in the second half of 2017.

"We are genuinely committed to getting a deal done before June 30", ACA Player Liaison Manager Simon Katich was quoted as saying in an ACA media release.

Relations sunk further when a scheduled meeting on Wednesday (May 17) between the sparring parties didn't happen after a letter from CA chairman David Peever told the ACA its approach was "the fundamental reason why no progress has been made".

"He's really looking forward to getting the lads back together".

The ACA believes the model, introduced in the landmark 1997 agreement under which all professional cricketers receive a percentage share of Australian cricket revenue, must be retained to ensure that players at every level remain "partners in the game".

Lehmann was asked for his view on the merits of the revenue-sharing arrangement but declined to share it.

The Australian coach finds himself in a unique position during the pay dispute, having both the ear of the players and his employer, CA.

"I'm not going to go too much into that to be perfectly honest".