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Australia captain Steve Smith has made it clear that the upcoming two-Test tour of Bangladesh is only likely to go ahead if the ongoing pay dispute is resolved.
With the tour scheduled to begin on August 22, it doesn’t give Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) much time to come to an agreement.
“I’d like to, but as we’ve said for a long time we need to get the deal done first,” Smith told Fox Sports. “I don’t think it would be fair for us to go away after the [Australia] A guys were very strong on not going away on their tour [of South Africa], for us to then go away, I don’t think that’s fair.
“CA know this, they’ve been told this. I told [CA’s Executive GM of Team Performance] Pat Howard personally that this was how things were going to be if there wasn’t a deal done.”
As of now, reports suggest that Cricket Australia and the ACA are closing in on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
While Smith confirmed that “some really good progress” has been made, he conceded that it has been difficult to side with the players since he has a healthy relationship with Cricket Australia’s head honchos.
“It’s had some difficult moments,” Smith said. “When this is all over with, I have to deal with Pat Howard, I have to deal with the (CA) Board and speak to [CA CEO] James Sutherland so I have to be careful with what sort of lines I tread. Some guys have been really vocal on social media and I think the way for me to lead in this dispute is to be able to talk to guys behind the scenes that are at the table and doing the job.”
Should the tour of Bangladesh go ahead, it will be the first time that Australia has visited the country for a Test series since 2006.