Lehmann hopes no Ashes boycott, urges solution to pay row

Sydney: Australia coach Darren Lehmann hopes the ongoing pay dispute will not prompt the players to boycott this year’s Ashes series and urged both sides to resolve the matter.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) rejected a pay offer from their governing body, Cricket Australia (CA) earlier this month saying “a win for cricket administrators but a loss for cricket”.
CA has threatened to not renew contracts for 2017-18 and several players, including vice-captain David Warner and bowler Mitchell Starc, have hinted at a boycott of the Ashes series against England.
“I’m sure that (the boycott) won’t happen,” Warner told reporters in Brisbane. “I have my views but I’m not going to share it. I’m talking to both players and CA.”
Lehmann said that he would talk to the players when the squad assembles prior to the Champions Trophy in June.
“You have to do that. You have to keep it open and communication so we know what direction everyone’s going,” Lehmann said.
“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… There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together.”
Captain Steve Smith will join the squad after leading the Rising Pune Supergiants to Monday’s Indian Premier League final and Lehmann said that he maintained constant contact with the 27-year-old.
“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.”
Warner said this week players would not back down from their demand that CA keep its current revenue-sharing pay arrangement and cautioned they might walk out on the Ashes if relations became strained further.
Lehmann said he would address the matter once the entire squad for the Champions Trophy was together.
CA chairman David Peever has rejected the ACA’s request for the bodies to try mediation.
“While CA absolutely shares your stated desire for a new agreement… it seems extraordinary to be considering the involvement of a mediator before the ACA has attempted to negotiate,” Peever said.
“The approach the ACA has taken in demanding certain preconditions be met before it is prepared to begin negotiations is the fundamental reason why no progress has been made to date.” The two bodies have been at loggerheads for more than six months.
CA is determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years, saying more funds were needed for the game’s grassroots, and that its offer provided handsomely for players. — Agencies