Sport Cricket Australia coach Darren Lehmann plays down threat of Ashes strike

Australia coach Darren Lehmann plays down threat of Ashes strike

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Darren Lehmann plays down the threat of an Ashes strike. Photo: Getty
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Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann says it is unlikely a pay dispute will lead to an Ashes boycott by players.

Speaking in Brisbane on Thursday, Lehmann said time was running out to find a resolution to the long-running dispute, and flagged it as a distraction ahead of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales.

Earlier this week, Australian Cricketers’ Association boss Alistair Nicholson refused to back down from his position in the latest round of negotiations with Cricket Australia (CA) over the new pay deal.

There are now only six weeks to go until the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) expires.

CA made an offer in March, which it spruiked heavily as a win for the game’s leading female players, who would receive a record pay rise.

It proposed the average pay of Australia’s international women cricketers would rise from $79,000 to $179,000 as of July 1, while the average remuneration of state cricketers would more than double to $52,000.

Male player payments would also increase significantly, CA proposed, with average international men’s payments rising by 25 per cent by 2021/22, and domestic payments suggested to increase by 18 per cent in that same period.

The proposal was rejected and the Players’ Association tabled a counter offer, which also fell on deaf ears.

Nicholson called on third-party mediators to help settle the dispute, with both sides unwilling to budge.

“We haven’t been able to progress the fundamental issue which is around the revenue-sharing model,” Nicholson said.

“With June 30 coming, we think it’s important that we go to mediation.”

Tabling the latest offer in March, CA chief executive Sutherland said “the previous model has done its time”.

He promised more money for women and grassroots development.

Cricket Australia is offering more money for the state-based Sheffield Shield cricketers.

But Tim May, who brokered the original agreement in 1998, isn’t buying.

In an article for Cricinfo he said the logic was fundamentally flawed.

“The model has not done its job,” May said.

“It is doing its job, and that job is to keep cricket healthy, growing viewership and participation year on year.”