DISPUTE: Players in a huff over performance-related pay issues
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA'S cricketers may go on strike ahead of next month's one-day tour of England over performance-related pay issues, reports said yesterday.
Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) head Paul Marsh said there were contingency plans should a resolution not be agreed with Cricket Australia before July 1.
The Australian newspaper said players have examined a boycott of next month's one-day tour of England or the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September-October.
"Relationships between players and management are heated and threatening to become as ugly as the stand-off surrounding the first player contract negotiations during Mark Taylor's captaincy (1994-1999)," the newspaper said.
"Cricket Australia is playing hardball in negotiations and has frozen all state and Big Bash (domestic T20) contract talks under the threat of a A$50,000 (RM165,000) fine until the new agreement is in place."
The newspaper said players and state administrators have both raised the possibility of a boycott of next month's tour to England.
Marsh told the newspaper his members were preparing for the possibility of an industrial stand-off if there was no contract in place before the current one ends.
"There's only 29 days of negotiations left to run, so of course we are preparing for the eventuality of not having a deal in place before the end of July," Marsh told The Australian.
"We are looking at all of our different options."
The players and Cricket Australia were progressing towards an agreement on a controversial shift to performance-based pay when CA tabled a demand to change the definition of cricket revenue, it said.
"The association considers that a A$30 million cash grab and there is frustration that the bid was tabled late in negotiations," The Australian said.
"The players argue they are not asking for more money, but want to ensure they do not receive less at a time when the game is in reasonable financial health."
The main sticking point in the negotiations has been the move to adjust the players' revenue share according to performance, it said.
"At the moment the players receive 26 per cent of all cricket income but that would move to a sliding scale under a new deal," the newspaper said.
"The pot from which the percentage is taken would shrink under the proposals."
Australia are scheduled to play England in five ODIs from June 29-July 10. AFP