Former captain Michael Clarke has proposed a simple short-term solution to Australian cricket’s pay stoush, urging the warring parties to extend the previous agreement for 12 months.
Some 230 cricketers became unemployed when the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expired last week.
There remains no sign of progress in the heated spat between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), who remain deadlocked over the issue of revenue sharing.
This month’s Australia A tour will almost certainly be scrapped, while there are fears this summer’s Ashes could be affected by the impasse.
Clarke, speaking to reporters at the Nine Network’s marketing launch for the Ashes, was the latest high-profile figure in the sport to express disbelief and disillusion about the saga.
“It’s s*** for the game,” Clarke said.
“What needs to happen is keep the current MoU for the next 12 months, and allow the players to get back to what they do best.
“Cricket Australia, the ACA, please go behind closed doors and sort this in private.
“The players want to play … let’s allow them to play while this stuff gets sorted out in the background.”
Clarke added it was a common solution to protracted pay talks during his 115-Test career.
“I don’t want the Australian players to be unprepared because they have been concentrating on something else; give them 12 months and let them concentrate on the cricket,” he said.
“I don’t want to see any cricket missed.
“There will be a compromise. The ACA and Cricket Australia will find a way to make this work.”
The gifted batsman’s suggestion has been successfully adopted in bargaining negotiations across many industries.
However, the major issue with Clarke’s answer to the crisis is that domestic and international women weren’t part of the previous agreement.
A desire to bring both male and female players into the same MoU is one of few areas that the governing body and union agree on.
As such, it’s understood both CA and the ACA never seriously canvassed rolling over the previous deal as an option. Nor will they.
Another potential issue with Clarke’s answer to the crisis, as put forward by Ian Healy at Tuesday’s event, is that it could merely let the angst fester and result in a repeat of non-existent negotiations.
“Once both parties knocked each other’s offer back, they’ve both sort of stood back,” Healy said.
“Both groups are wonderful people and they really care about cricket. They’ll get it done, but get some strategy going please!”
Healy, a former ACA president who played 119 Tests, noted he was staggered by the lack of progress in discussions.
The union continues to call for CA boss James Sutherland to enter emergency mediation. The governing body continues to insist that won’t happen.
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith threw his support behind Steve Smith and the ACA overnight.
“In the current cricket environment where players have other options I don’t understand why a board would want to change a partnership that has proved to be successful,” Smith said in a statement released by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.