Australian cricket’s pay war has been won by players, according to Allan Border, but there’s a question mark over the future of the game’s grassroots.
Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) came to an in-principle agreement on Thursday after almost a year of talks.
The deal guarantees state and international players will pocket up to 30 per cent of an estimated $1.67 billion of revenue over the next five years, while female player payments will increase their stake from $7.5 million to $55.2 million.
It also includes up to $30m for grassroots but former Test captain Border conjectured if that was a win for the game.
“The players have had a huge win,” Border told Fox Sports.
“This has been a TKO in the 15th round for the players. They should be very happy with the situation, particularly the girls.
“I can’t quite work out grassroots cricket, what’s going to change?
“They still go out there and do their chook raffles and fundraising events and nothing much has changed as far as I can tell.”
Former Test fast bowler Ryan Harris, who’s now a performance coach with CA, stressed the importance of the grassroots not losing out under the deal.
“Number one thing is probably getting the facilities up the scratch,” Harris told SEN radio.
“Being around grade grounds in Brisbane, even grade grounds aren’t up to scratch.
“We’ve got to make sure that money goes directly to where it has to go.”
The Bangladesh Cricket Board has expressed relief after the agreement, which will allow this month’s Test tour of the country to proceed as planned.
Players took the unprecedented step last month of boycotting an Australia A tour of South Africa and were prepared to take the same action for the Bangladesh series.
“It’s great news for Bangladesh. Definitely we are very happy to see the problem has resolved,” BCB boss Nizamuddin Chowdhury was quoted as saying by AFP.
“Their next commitment is in Bangladesh. Now after the dispute is resolved, we can look forward to hosting them.”
Australian captain Steve Smith admitted negotiations were challenging but is now focused on the cricket that lies ahead.
“It’s been a long and challenging process and it’s great that we can now get on with playing the game that we all love,” he tweeted.
“I’m excited that we can all start working together again to continue to grow our great game.
“I look forward to Bangladesh, India and an exciting summer of Ashes cricket.”