Australia A-team tour first casualty of CA-ACA pay dispute

Cricket Australia

Australia’s “A” tour of South Africa has become the first casualty of the pay dispute between the players and Cricket Australia.

The failure to reach an understanding on the pay dispute and renewal of players’ contract has led to the Australian Cricketers Association taking the drastic step. The proposed tour of South Africa is called off by the ACA. The squad has decided not to travel as scheduled on Friday.

The ACA released a statement confirming an earlier resolution passed at a meeting of the ACA executive last weekend that players would not agree to tour unless an MoU “on fair terms” was in place, and while any out-of-contract players remained unemployed.

The Australia A tour was to feature four-day and limited-overs fixture and provide players on the cusp of national selection a chance to further their international claims as well as gain experience in South African conditions ahead of a proposed Test tour there next year.

Around 230 players were left effectively unemployed when the previous five-year pay agreement expired at the end of last month.

“It is with great frustration that with no progress towards resolving the current dispute, Australia A players confirm they will not tour South Africa,” the player’s union said in a statement on Thursday.

“By making this call, the Australia A players have sacrificed their own ambitions for the collective intesrest; an incredibly selfless act that shows their strength and overall commitment to the group.

“CA refuse to attend mediation or offer any genuine flexibility in the MOU negotiations. And without mediation it’s hard to see how there can be the progress necessary to reach agreement,” ACA stated.

At the heart of the acrimonious dispute is Cricket Australia’s insistence that the two-decade-old model, under which players get a fixed percentage of revenue, should be jettisoned.

This could also affect the upcoming tours of the senior Australia team. The ACA has called for “common sense to prevail” with CA chief executive James Sutherland becoming directly involved in talks, but in vain.

The senior Australia team is scheduled to play a two-test series in Bangladesh in August and September before a one-day series in India and then the Ashes at home.