Lehmann: Ashes boycott won’t happen

“I’m sure that won’t happen”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann is confident that the players won’t go as far as boycotting the highly-anticipated Ashes series against England later this year.

Lehmann’s comments come after opener and Test vice-captain David Warner said that Australia “might not have a team for the Ashes” due to their ongoing pay dispute with Cricket Australia.

The players want Cricket Australia to retain the fixed revenue-percentage payment model, but the board want it to be restructured.

Even though both sides are at an impasse, Lehmann is optimistic that the Ashes will go ahead as planned.

“No, I wouldn’t think so [that a boycott would happen]. And I’d hope not as a fan. I’m sure that won’t happen,” he said.

Lehmann added that he has his own views on the best payment scheme, but refused to go into more details about it.

“I have my views on that but I’m not going to share it with you guys. I’m literally talking to both players and CA,” he said. “I think both parties have just got to get talking. That’s what they’ve got to do. They’ll get a deal done and once that happens, everyone will be right and we’ll move forward and get the game going the way it should be.

“When we first started the ACA, I was part of that as a player, delegate and a president. You have those issues. Every sport has them, to be perfectly honest – there’s sports around Australia having them now.

“It’s just about communication and getting the right outcome for both parties, that’s going to be key.”

With the Champions Trophy starting in two weeks’ time, Lehmann conceded that the ongoing issue will distract the players, but insisted that he still expects them to live up to expectations.

“So for us it’s about concentrating on the game,” he added. “There’s going to be discussions, that’s the natural way from a players’ point of view and CA’s point of view. And it’s playing out in the media as we know.

“For us we can just concentrate on getting ready for cricket and we’ve got our guys, some in India, some in England, some here. Once we all get together we’ll talk about it and move forward.

“It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there’s no doubt about that. Just getting together and working it out is the way to go.

“It always stays quite late in the negotiations – it happened last time and the time before that.

“You have those issues. Every sport has them, to be perfectly honest – there’s sports around Australia having them now. There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together.”

Given that the payment dispute will be on the minds of all the players in the Champions Trophy squad, Lehmann revealed that he has been in contact with captain Steve Smith, who led the Rising Pune Supergiants to the Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Tuesday.

“We’ve spoken quite a lot, on many issues at the moment,” he said. “He’s really looking forward to getting the lads back together.

“There’s been a lot of emails and text messages around the place. He is (in good spirits). He’s been there for four months and hasn’t been home. But he’s ready to go.”

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