Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia captain Steve Smith has admitted that winning the Champions Trophy could give the players a boost in helping resolve their ongoing pay dispute with Cricket Australia.
Smith’s optimism stems from the fact that the board are reconsidering the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s (ACA) offer of independent mediation.
With a ray of hope breaking through the dark clouds that have hung over the players and Cricket Australia, ACA chief executive Alastair Nicholson is expected to meet with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and high performance manager Pat Howard in London this week to try and end the impasse.
Despite the outcome of the meeting, Smith pointed out that triumphing at the Champions Trophy will benefit the Australian players.
“If we win it will certainly be really good for the playing group,” he said. “We are sticking really strong together. We are backing what the ACA is doing back home. But as I said before it is about focussing on this tournament and making sure we are entirely switched on.”
Cricket Australia have been brooding over the idea of third party mediation in an attempt to end the dispute, but Smith conceded that he was unaware of this.
“Okay, that is news to me,” he said. “I am not sure. It is great that they [CA] are trying to sort things out. And as I said we are supporting the ACA and what they are doing. They are working really hard to get what the player group wants. I am sure everything will be resolved soon.”
In order to ensure the players’ futures are secure, the ACA has established the Cricketers’ Brand, which is a company that will manage the players’ intellectual property rights.
When asked if the players were in favour of this, Smith said: “Yeah, I think everyone’s signed up to that. We are supportive of the ACA in what they are doing back home. They are working really hard with CA to get the deal right. And I am sure in time they will get that and everything will be okay for everyone involved.”
Earlier this month, opener and Test vice-captain David Warner said that Australia “might not have a team for the Ashes”, but Smith brushed aside those comments, saying that the players are eager to feature in the highly-anticipated series against England in November.
“I saw the comments,” he added. “I certainly don’t think…Of course, we want to play in the Ashes.
“Of course, we want everything to go really well there. It is just about making sure the guys finalise a deal and get the MoU sorted and then everything will be fine. Certainly nothing from us that we don’t want to play, we certainly want to be playing in the Ashes. Hopefully they will get things resolved soon and everything will be back to normal.”