Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association remain at loggerheads over the ongoing pay dispute, leaving former East Ballarat cricketer Matthew Short technically “unemployed”.
Short and fellow Ballarat boy Blake Thomson spoke openly to The Courier - prior to holding a school holidays clinic – about the frustration surrounding the pay dispute.
In what is a complicated situation, in short, the players are currently paid under the Memorandum of Understanding, which sees them receive a fixed percentage (26%) of the revenue generated by CA.
Cricket Australia now wants to pay top-end players a fixed annual salary, independent of CA’s revenue so it can further grow the game.
The players’ argument is that with a likely-spike in revenue in the coming years with a new broadcast deal expected, the Big Bash League and women’s cricket there is set to be a big upswing in the game – and the players don’t want to miss out on their slice of the pie.
Thomson is one of the lucky ones to have a signed contract for next season, while Short is one of about 230 players without a contract, effectively making them unemployed.
Short said there was no indication as to when the saga, which was hoped to be resolved by June 30, would find level ground. But for the moment the relationship between Cricket Australia and the players was “sour”.
“I know a lot of the players are pretty disappointed and pretty frustrated at the way it’s been handle,” Short said.
“I think that relationship with CA (Cricket Australia) and the players is pretty sour at the moment.”
“It’s a sticky situation, but it’s the sort of thing we needed to do to get to the conclusion we need and that cricket needs,” Thomson added.
“The important thing to remember is the boys at the top aren’t thinking of themselves, they’re thinking about everyone beneath them.”
The lingering negotiations led to Australia A cancelling its tour of South Africa last week.
The decision underlines how serious the players intentions are, with the bold move denying many a chance to press their claims for November’s Ashes series with England.
“That’s a pretty hard choice for those guys to do that,” Thomson said.
“If they go away on that tournament and do well, they’re pushing themselves to play for Australia. For them to do that has taken a lot courage and everyone around Australia appreciates it.”
“They had to do it and make a stand,” Short added.
“Hopefully the players get their fair-share and I think everyone will be happy in the end.
“It’s not really clear at all, I think everyone’s hoping by the end of the month.”