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Will Australian cricketers be out of jobs?

Cricket's biggest traditional battle, The Ashes under threat as Australia pay row misses deadline

Australia skipper Steve Smith
Australia skipper Steve Smith

Leading players have hit out at the move to scrap revenue-sharing, with Australia batsman David Warner insisting they won't budge and threatening strike action during the Ashes series this summer.

Cricket Australia (CA) said it had failed to strike a new pay deal with the players' union ahead of yesterday's deadline, leaving players unemployed and threatening fixtures including this year's Ashes series. CA said yesterday there was no prospect of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) being resolved with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) before the current deal expiring at midnight local time. The impasse, following weeks of acrimonious dispute, throws into question the immediate future of almost 230 men and women players at domestic and international level, most of whom are now out of contract.

Old enemies
The Ashes involves cricket's oldest rivals Australia and England, a contest which kicked off way back in 1877. The Ashes will be hosted by Australia this year and their team have the huge challenge of getting their hands on the urn back again after losing them in 2015.

The Australian government has said they would be prepared to step in to mediate between CA and the ACA if the pay dispute threatens the popular and lucrative Ashes Test series from November to January. Senior players have warned the Ashes series could be compromised if CA declines to meet their requests. In turn, CA has threatened players with an Ashes ban should they take part in any kind of disapproved cricket beyond the expiry of the current MoU.

Chappelli fears one-sided series
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell, who was instrumental in the formation of the rebel World Series Cricket 40 years ago, shuddered to think what would happen if Australia fielded a second-rate team against the old enemy in the wake of the crisis. "The one thing that keeps coming back to my mind, I just cannot believe Cricket Australia would let England walk all over Australia in an Ashes series," Chappell told the Herald Sun. He added: "They would then have the problem of the public, of the media, of broadcasters, enormous problems. The players wouldn't come out unscathed by any means either.

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