Australian cricket entered lockout mode on Saturday as the deadline of midnight Friday expired for an agreement on a new pay deal. CA on Friday said that a new MoU would not be sealed before July 1 and repeated its call for the ACA to come to the negotiating table and show “genuine flexibility” in the best interests of the players and the game.
The meeting saw the ACA pass 14 resolutions, including that all players will refuse to play without a new MoU in place. In a statement, the union said: “Cricket Australia has made good on its threats such that Australia's top men and women cricketers are unemployed. What has become clear is that a divisive industrial relations push has affected the national past time.
“This has manifested in attempts to divide men and women and then divide international and domestic players, which have failed. Indeed, these attempts have forged even stronger bonds between men and women who play cricket at every level. Without them, there is no 'cricket' Australia.”
CA on Friday said that all funding originally intended for the players would now be diverted to grassroots programs, a sum reportedly worth around A$1.2m (€814,000/$911,000) per fortnight.
Usman Khawaja, who was named Australia A captain for the South Africa tour, said: “It's not an easy thing to do. Individually, I really want to play cricket. I haven't played cricket for a long time. It's the same with all the other guys. But we're very united. It was quite an easy phone call in the end because everyone was going in the same direction.”
Australia’s senior men’s team are next due to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in August and September before a one-day series in India. The Australian summer is highlighted by the showpiece Ashes series against England.
The ACA said: “Players expressed a strong desire to tour both Bangladesh and India and urged CA to support them by renewing an MoU on fair terms, allowing the tours to proceed. However, due to the fact of unemployment… absent an MoU there are no professional cricketers presently obliged or available to tour.”
Responding to the ACA’s announcement, CA said: “Australia A is a development tour which gives players an opportunity to perform at a high level. It is therefore surprising that players would elect not to tour, however CA has never, and would never attempt to force anyone to play for an Australian team who is unwilling to do so.
“CA remains ready to negotiate a new MoU and has again called on the ACA to show genuine flexibility and commence negotiations in the best interests of the players and the game.”