Australia A players solidly defiant over pay claim
SOUTH Australian paceman Chadd Sayers has revealed the mental, financial and career toll cricket's pay dispute is taking on Australia's next generation Test stars - while being unable to discount strike action.
Sheffield Shield player of 2016-17 Sayers, South Australian skipper Travis Head and brilliant keeper Alex Carey arrive in Brisbane today to prepare for an Australian A tour of South Africa that won't proceed without a new pay deal.
Australia has series against Bangladesh, India and England on the horizon and, while strike action "hasn't been discussed", it can't be ruled out.
"We don't want to strike, stop playing cricket. It is the job we love, we want to entertain crowds and get kids through the ranks. We want to play as soon as possible but if there is no deal struck we will stand together," fringe Test paceman Sayers said.
As part of a 14-point, pay-deal manifesto, the Australian Cricketers Association executive on Sunday resolved Australia A players would not sign contracts for the tour scheduled to start on July 12.
Sayers said the act of solidarity was critical with 230 peers now unemployed, following the lapse of the previous Memorandum of Understanding with Cricket Australia on June 30.
"We go with intentions to prepare, play and go to South Africa, but if the MOU hasn't budged over the next few days we won't be going," said Sayers.
"It isn't fair that we go to South Africa, get paid to play and 180 blokes are back here training and not being paid."
Spearhead Mitchell Starc is sidelined from Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh next month with a foot fracture but Sayers will miss a golden opportunity to impress in South Africa.
Batsman Head gave up a lucrative county stint with Yorkshire to front for Australia A.
Former Greater Western Sydney midfielder Carey will be denied the chance to showcase why he's been anointed Australia's Test keeper-in-waiting without a pay deal breakthrough.
"There is only one bowling spot available for Bangladesh, so it would have been handy to press claims," Sayers said.
"You feel sorry for young blokes like Alex who would have been going on their first tour and would be absolutely shattered.
"It's very limiting for Heady to not go and play in different conditions. It's isn't a great position to be in."
Sayers joked he would not be lining up at Centrelink this week but the cold reality of financial uncertainty has set in.
"I have just run out of my three-year deal, which isn't a great thing. You don't know what will happen. It is pretty disheartening," said Sayers with CA declining to offer back pay for players.
Players are fighting to retain a 25% revenue share model in place since 1997. CA has proposed a $20 million cap on surplus revenue for internationals and 18% increase for domestic players.
"You would hope it doesn't go for too much longer. That is why we have taken a stance to get the ball rolling in discussions with CA," Sayers said.
"Both parties want to get it right but aren't budging. It's a model we think works and pretty fair what we are asking."