UNDERVALUED: Ben Dunk (batting) says Cricket Australia has taken an aggressive industrial attitude to player payments.
UNDERVALUED: Ben Dunk (batting) says Cricket Australia has taken an aggressive industrial attitude to player payments. JULIAN SMITH

Players stumped by Cricket Australia's industrial tactics

CRICKET Australia has continued to march away from a partnership with its players who are growing more disenchanted by industrial-style tactics from the governing body.

Suggestions the AFL's record $1.8 billion pay deal with its players should put cricket on notice were cover-driven to the fence by CA which rightly pointed out the new football agreement was nothing like the revenue-sharing model Australia's cricketers are trying to hold on to.

Ruled by a salary cap which needed to lock in the payment pool for the next six years, AFL players were never going to be able to enjoy a complete share in the rollercoaster fortunes of their game, a situation Australia's cricketers are happy to endure.

And it's that method by which cricketers will be paid, not the amount, which remains the sticking point just under a week out from the June 30 deadline when roughly 230 male and female cricketers will come off contract.

In a bid to get the disaffected players on board, CA's chief negotiator Kevin Roberts has been on a national road trip pitching, face-to-face with domestic players, a pay plan that guarantees set payments but also removes them from the 20-year-old revenue-sharing model.

His pitch has not gone down well and Australian Twenty20 opener Ben Dunk said the lack of respect for domestic players, especially those who have helped make the Big Bash such an overwhelming success, was only making them angrier.

"In the Big Bash there's guys being 'mic-ed' up talking their way through innings, wearing helmet cams, doing interviews on the boundary - just trying to make that Big Bash experience for the Australian public as good as it can be,” said Dunk, the leading run scorer in the Big Bash last season.

"For us to then be excluded from the revenue-share model really shows where we stand in Cricket Australia's eyes.

"I've found the whole process disappointing for all of my peers across the country. I think they (CA) have brought a real industrial outlook to the negotiations into a completely different field.”

Dunk, who played in the Australian T20 series against Sri Lanka in February while the Test players prepared in India, said CA was treating cricketers like replaceable employees.

And with T20 leagues popping up around the world, including a new South African version launched this week, Dunk said CA could soon have to replace those stars.

"Dave Warner, Steve Smith - these guys don't grow on trees. They're very difficult to replace,” Dunk said.

"But it seems like CA are looking at them as everyday people being sent to do a job. If you need someone to dig a hole and they won't do it, then we'll find someone else to dig the hole.

"Guys with 20 Test match hundreds under their belt don't come along very often. To put the Australian cricket team at risk of not touring, or potentially losing those guys if they sign multi-year deals in franchise cricket, is very disappointing.”

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