What’s the story?
The long-standing row between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association is now bordering on embarrassment for both the parties. The Ashes series that was scheduled for later this year might be the latest victim of this issue. While speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, an ECB spokesperson confirmed that England would pull out of the series if adequate warm-up games are not arranged for their side.The Australia A squad that was set to travel to South Africa for a tri-series between India, South Africa and Australia pulled out of the same owing to the CA-ACA dispute.
The Ashes are scheduled to begin on November 23 this year, but Joe Root’s men were supposed to travel Down Under in October so as to get familiar with the conditions. However, the Australia A squad not touring South Africa has now raised doubts on England’s pre-series practice schedule.
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Top Australian cricketers like Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc are in the centre of the crisis and are currently facing unemployment. The international stars have refused to sign any contracts with the board unless appropriate remuneration is brought into the clauses. Many former Australian cricketers have tried to act as a liaison between the two sides, but their intervention hasn’t had any positive impact on the issue.
Both CA and the players are refusing to budge from their stance and a resolution looks far off for now. Australia’s tour of Bangladesh that was supposed to begin in August is likely to be cancelled as well.The Ashes, however, are a different ball-game altogether. If that is put on the line, it might cost Australia more than just a generation of cricketers. The crisis has spread to other cricketing nations as well and the future of Australian cricket looks gloomy, to say the least.
Cricket is in unchartered territory right now as one of its biggest bodies is in one of the biggest crises it has experienced. With the India tour looming, CA needs to make some hard decisions soon.