Birmingham: David Warner has accused Cricket Australia of trying to wreck the team’s bid to win the Champions Trophy by broadcasting a new video relating to the ongoing pay dispute.
A resolution to the increasingly bitter row looked as far away as ever when a fresh war of words between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) broke out on Wednesday.
CA’s latest video release saw their lead negotiator, Kevin Roberts, anger the ACA by contradicting their claims over the costs of running Australian cricket.
Australia face hosts England in a make or break Champions Trophy match at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground on Saturday, where a defeat could see them fail to qualify for the semi-finals of a tournament featuring the world’s top eight one-dy international teams.
“We’re here to win and if CA want to try and help us win I think they wouldn’t be releasing videos like that,” Australia vice-captain Warner told reporters at Edgbaston on Thursday.
“From our stance as players it is disappointing. For us we have an important game coming up this week and that is our focus and the MoU (memorandum of understanding) can wait until after the game and the tournament.”
CA has threatened not to pay contracted players beyond the June 30 expiry of their current financial deal if they do not accept a new offer.
Warner has become the most high-profile senior Australia international in robustly arguing the players’ case, with the left-handed opener arguing that if they don’t have a contract then they won’t be able to play in the showpiece home Ashes Test series against England that starts in November.
“As we’ve said, we just want a fair share but leave it (the talks) until after the games,” Warner added Thursday.
“We have 100 percent support with the ACA to get to the table with CA. All the players are sticking together as one.”
“We’re the ones that have been here putting it through social media and CA are the guys who have been trying to explain via videos.”
Australia coach Darren Lehmann, once an ACA executive member, has found himself caught in the middle and he urged the feuding parties to begin discussions as soon as possible.
“I just want them to start talking, we want it resolved from a player point of view and obviously from a CA point of view,” said the former Test batsman.
CA is determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years, saying more funds are needed for the game’s grassroots, and that the offer it has on the table provided handsomely for players.
But the ACA is equally adamant in wanting to retain revenue-sharing, saying the system does not need fixing.