Former captain Michael Clarke believes the Australian cricket pay dispute is headed toward arbitration and the players should accept short-term deals while it’s sorted out.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has foreshadowed seeking arbitration if there is no real headway in the long and damaging saga after Monday.
Clarke expects that will “definitely” happen and says the Australian Cricketers’ Association “would be silly” not to accept arbitration and have the players get back to playing, touring and preparing for the summer’s home Ashes while it is being heard.
“This team cannot afford to miss one game of cricket if we want to beat England in the Ashes,” said Clarke on Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“We need to go to Bangladesh, we need to go to India for the ODI’s, and then we need to play our best cricket to beat England in Australia – which I believe we will if we’ve played some cricket together as a team.”
Asked about the possibility of short-term contracts, Clarke said players needed to sign them if a deal was not done before CA’s deadline, allowing them to get back to playing while the dispute was sorted out in the background.
“The players are not CEO of a business. That is not their responsibility. This needs to be done between CA and the players association.”
Clarke said the nine-month dispute which has left about 230 players unemployed since July 1 was damaging the game as whole and needed to be resolved in private.
“That is the main issue for me,” he said.
“If it was just the Australian players with Cricket Australia in these conversations and, whatever is going on is taking a bit longer than we expected, I can deal with that because every MOU I was a part of, it was always postponed – things always took longer than you would have liked.
“But the problem we have got now is that Australia A don’t go to South Africa, so that affects their preparation.
“It also affects South Africa’s preparation leading up to their cricket. We have also got the fans that are involved, we have got the Australian public … the No.1 story in Australian sport, (it’s) peak time for footy season, and we are talking about this. This is a horrible look for our game.”