Australia’s senior players have voted to boycott next month’s tour of Bangladesh unless their long-running pay dispute with Cricket Australia (CA) is settled before they leave, reports said today. Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner attended an undisclosed meeting with Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) chief executive Alastair Nicholson to consider their options after a breakdown in the talks with CA last week. The Australian newspaper said the players discussed a range of options, including going ahead with the Bangladesh tour under a special contractual arrangement. But they resolved to stand by the resolutions reached at a previous meeting and refuse to take part in any tours unless there is a new memorandum of understanding in place. The players are entering their fourth week of unemployment since the failure to reach a new agreement on pay at the end of June.
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The squad voted to attend the training camp in Darwin on August 10 but will not leave for Bangladesh a week later unless an agreement is reached, the newspaper said. The first match of the two-Test series was due to start 10 days later. The Australia A squad went through a similar process before abandoning the tour to South Africa earlier this month. The dispute is over CA’s refusal to renew a revenue- sharing arrangement which has been part of all deals over the past two decades. Reports said the ACA was close to a deal with CA last week. Players proposed they retain the revenue-sharing model but sacrifice up to Aus$30 million ($24 million) of their pay to grassroots cricket. But CA would not offer a revenue-sharing deal.
The players expressed disappointment at the latest developments in the protracted dispute, which threatens the showpiece Ashes home series against England later this year. “Not sure the players can do much more to solve the dispute. We’re really proud to offer up to an extra $30 million for grassroots #fairshare,” Warner tweeted. Fast bowler Pat Cummins added:”Players are as frustrated as anyone else. We want to play. Offering even more to grassroots to get a deal!!! #fairshare.”