Australia captain Smith says no backing down on pay

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Australian captain Steve Smith said Sunday players would not back down in their bitter pay dispute with Cricket Australia.

Days after the players boycotted an Australia A tour to South Africa, Smith said the nation’s cricketers were resolute in wanting to keep the longstanding revenue-sharing pay deal, linked to the game’s overall financial fortunes.

“I’ll say what we as players have been saying for some time now: we are not giving up the revenue-sharing model for all players,” Smith said in an Instagram post.

“But, through the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association) we are willing to make important changes to modernise the existing model for the good of the game.

“We are and have always been willing to make those changes.

“Changes for how the model can be adapted for the even greater benefit of grassroots cricket, which is after all where we all started.”

After months of negotiations, the players and CA failed to reach agreement on a new pay deal, leaving 230 cricketers unemployed since the end of June when their contracts expired.

In an escalation of the protracted pay dispute, the players, through their union the ACA, last Thursday decided to boycott the Australia A tour of South Africa, which was due to start on July 12.

There are fears now that the pay row could scupper next month’s Test tour to Bangladesh, the one-day international series in India in September and even the Ashes against England. The Ashes are due to begin with the first of five Tests in Brisbane in late November.

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