Australian Cricket Coach Darren Lehmann Says Ashes Boycott Will Not Happen
Australian coach Darren Lehmann said that cricket's warring parties "will settle their pay dispute amicably and remains convinced" a player boycott will not throw this year's Ashes series into "unprecedented turmoil," according to Phil Lutton of THE AGE. Lehmann spoke as he prepared to depart for England for the Int'l Cricket Council Champions Trophy tournament, which will bring Australian cricket's leading male players together "for the first time since the pay dispute escalated." Cricket Australia wants to "move away from the revenue-sharing model." Australian national team vice-captain David Warner said, "If it gets to the extreme they might not have a team for the Ashes." Lehmann believes that is "a bridge too far" and while he believes negotiations will "go down to the wire," he has "no doubt that Test cricket's showpiece series will go ahead as planned." He said, "No, I wouldn't think so (that a boycott would happen). And I'd hope not as a fan. I'm sure that won't happen" (THE AGE, 5/18). The AAP reported Lehmann said that he would address the matter "once the entire squad for the Champions Trophy had got together." Lehmann: "You have to do that. You have to keep it open and communicate so we know what direction everyone's going. It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there's no doubt about that." Lehmann declined to share "his view on the merits of the revenue-sharing arrangement" (AAP, 5/17).
NOT ABOUT MONEY: In Sydney, Carly Adno reported former cricketer Ed Cowan said that money "is not the issue" as the pay dispute turns "increasingly ugly." He said that players "would be willing to take a pay cut if it means they will continue to be considered partners, and not simply employees," of the game. Cowan said that if money is "all the players are after they would have accepted CA’s new offer," which enables Test players to earn more, while domestic players "stand to lose out." Cowan: "This whole situation is not even close to being about money. It's about wanting to be a partner, as the players have been, and enjoying promoting the growth of the game" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/18).
FIGHTING FUND: In Sydney, Andrew Faulkner wrote as cricket's "Mexican standoff drags on without any prospect of dialogue," let alone resolution, the Australian Cricketers' Association "has set up a fighting fund to help any players out of pocket" when their contracts expire at the end of next month. The "player support fund" will be open to female and domestic cricketers "who need additional financial support if they are out of contract" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/19).