“I don’t think anybody noticed!”
From the yet unresolved contract wreckage still occupying Australian cricket, I think it is important to highlight some of the key things we have learnt from this mess.
The contract dispute between Cricket Australia and it’s players is a sad reflection that in 2017 and most likely beyond, money is king, and in this case, it seems far more important than cricket right now.
I have extracted some key points of which I think are the biggest lessons learnt from this ongoing drama.
Cricket Australia administrators are hardly worth their salt. Seriously how much longer should the sport and it’s fans have to suffer the combination of incompetence and arrogance on display by James Sutherland and Pat Howard?
The continual pay rises of CA executives is arguably more mind-boggling than this whole debacle.
I am willing to appreciate that CA are the employer in this instance, and they have put forward their proposal. But more to the point, denying players the opportunity to earn a living by playing cricket elsewhere, while also refusing to pay them? If that is not bending someone over a barrel, I don’t know what is.
It seems contradictory to enforce rules on players that are not even under contract. The big players at CA have handled this quite poorly from the outset, and will need to be careful or there may not be any matches played where the ‘performance’ expertise of Howard is required.
Domestic players should be earning more. I understand why a large portion of revenue is shared among a small number of players. As it is the likes of Dave Warner, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Glenn Maxwell helping on a mass scale to generate the revenue that they do.
However, state cricketers have to earn a living too, and perhaps one benefit of a proposed new model is a greater sense of fairness among all first-class cricketers.
We need to speak in numbers. Even if just for interested fans, disclosing some numbers and percentages may give the public a greater idea of just where this arrangement is sitting.
I respect that notion that players would probably want this to be kept behind closed doors, but I do feel as though everybody has been kept in the dark a little over this issue. Those players that are the most deserving of pay increases should be given so.
Having a model driven more by performance may be a solution; whether it is necessarily fairer or not is another conversation.
For CA, there is a background issue at stake. For the governing body to seek change in a model that has proven to work quite effectively for over 20 years, I believe there has to be an additional factor in play.
Whether this is a sponsorship or TV rights complication, where a partner may no longer be capable of paying their rights costs, something else is surely in play here that is being kept in-house at present.
As a collective, cricket fans around the nation, and the world presumably, want to see this confusion put to bed quickly. There are international cricket matches at stake, there are the incomes of professional cricketers at stake, there is the entire sport and it’s fans at stake.