Players boycott Australia A tour in pay dispute
Australia's players boycotted this month's Australia A tour to South Africa, escalating a bitter pay dispute which threatens to derail senior tours to Bangladesh and India as well as this year's home Ashes. The ACA said the players were unavailable to tour South Africa for the Australia A team without an agreed pay deal or new Memorandum of Understanding, after their existing contracts with Cricket Australia expired on June 30 following months of increasingly acrimonious wrangling. "It is with great frustration that with no progress towards resolving the current dispute, Australia A players confirm they will not tour South Africa," ACA said in a statement.
"This decision is made in support of more than 200 male and female players who are now unemployed." Cricket Australia said it was disappointed with the players' decision. "CA regrets that players have made this decision despite progress made in talks between CA and the ACA in meetings over the past week, including regular communication between CEOs," it said in a statement. "While a new MOU has not yet been agreed, CA is of the view that these talks should have enabled the tour to proceed as planned." CA said it has advised Cricket South Africa of the players' decision.
The players, selected for the Australia A tour starting on July 12, had been training this week with captain Usman Khawaja and hoping for an end to the impasse before their scheduled departure on Friday. The tour was to include four-day matches and a limited overs tri-series, also involving India A Australia A's squad of 19 for both formats included Test players Glenn Maxwell and Jackson Bird as well as Khawaja. "By making this call, the Australia A players have sacrificed their own ambitions for the collective — an incredibly selfless act that shows their strength and overall commitment to the group," the ACA said.