The pay war is over, the players won. Now, back to the cricket

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    “I’m very pleased to be sitting up here with Alistair to announce that Cricket Australia and the ACA have arrived at an in-principle agreement for the Heads of Agreement as a basis for the next MOU.”

    So ended the biggest dispute in Australian cricket since some bloke called Kerry decided to start his own competition.

    Well, almost ended. The players still need to approve the agreement. The next Memorandum of Understanding still needs to be signed – and that won’t happen for some time. But for all intents and purposes, the pay war is over.

    Finally, we can all start talking about actual cricket again, and not just the politics and economics of the sport.

    But, while one final opportunity presents itself, it’s worth casting our eye over the dispute before forgetting about the nitty-gritty of revenue sharing and grassroots funding and instead debating the greater issues of whether Shaun Marsh will be picked for another Test series just because it’s on the subcontinent and if Matthew Wade really is the best wicketkeeper-batsman in Australia. (To which the answers are ‘I bloody well hope not’ and ‘surely not’. But I digress).

    When we turn to the details of the agreement between CA and the ACA this one last time, one thing is clear.

    The players won.

    Glenn Maxwell congratulates David Warner

    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    It’s a reductive, possibly unfair and almost certainly premature evaluation of a complicated and nuanced topic, but there’s no denying the deal appears to be a victory for Alistair Nicholson, the ACA and all those players who’ve been typing #fairshare on social media like there’s no tomorrow.

    The players wanted to keep a revenue sharing agreement. They’ve got it. For all players.

    They wanted backpay for the past two-and-a-bit months in which they’ve been unemployed. When the new MOU is signed, they’ll get it.

    Those two points alone surely make this a resounding ACA success, who have refused to be cowed in the ten-month negotiations. Whatever way you spin it, Cricket Australia’s efforts to split the playing group failed, and the compromises which the ACA has apparently made are awfully difficult to find.

    The significance of this for Australian sport as a whole cannot be understated. It is proof of how much power a united and unionised player group has over their administrators. There’d be little surprise if we were to see something similar from, say, the Rugby League Players’ Association in their own pay talks with the NRL.

    Ignoring the potential cross-code impacts, whether the deal is actually any good for cricket as a whole – and not just the players – remains to be seen. Only with the added value of hindsight will we be able to make a judgement on that.

    But female cricketers, collectively, have got themselves a nifty little $47.7 million pay raise. Grassroots funding is getting a very handsome shot in the arm – $10-20 million more per year from Cricket Australia, and up to $30 million from the ACA.

    The signs are positive.

    As is the relatively small amount of cricket we’ve lost as a result of the dispute; the only casualty of the pay war has been an ‘A’ tour of South Africa. No doubt it’s one we would have rather had, but a tour the fans mourned the loss of? I think not.

    For that, credit must go to both parties. Yes, the players have seemed remarkably inflexible, and at times downright unhelpful (looking your way, Mr Warner), during the dispute, and yes, it was incredibly rich of James Sutherland to be claiming about the need for urgency last week after he himself had only entered negotiations in July.

    But the Test tour of Bangladesh will go ahead. The ODI series in India afterwards will happen. Most importantly, the Ashes won’t be lost.

    Indeed, so small has the loss of games been that your average cricket punter fifty years down the track might wonder what all the fuss was about. Biggest crisis since World Series Cricket? What, those couple of months when they lost one tour and still competed in the Women’s World Cup?

    James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson press conference

    (Mal Fairclough /AFP/Getty Images)

    It could be a hard sell.

    That obviously ignores the reputations and relationships that have been fractured over the past two – and ten – months. Plenty of fans and journalists would pay good money to be a fly on the wall when Pat Howard next addresses the Test team, or when David Warner has a chat with James Sutherland.

    When Sutherland and Nicholson addressed the media at the MCG to announce the good news, both looked thoroughly drained, completely exhausted from late nights spent at the negotiation table. Their language hardly betrayed the fact calamity had just been avoided. It was tense and terse, evidence only of the damage this dispute has done.

    But it is over. And for that, cricket fans should be more than a little bit relieved that our favourite summer pastime hasn’t been torn away.

    Now, let’s get back to arguing about who the best wicketkeeper in Australia is, which all-rounder should be selected for Bangladesh, and how many bouncers Mitchell Starc should bowl in his first over of the Ashes.

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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    The Crowd Says (71)

    • August 4th 2017 @ 6:08am
      Howzat said | August 4th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

      They players, united, will never be defeated…….

    • August 4th 2017 @ 7:11am
      Bretto said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      Great win for the union movement. Shows the difference when workers are untied against an arrogant employer who believes they can simply makes the rules to suit themselves.

      • August 4th 2017 @ 7:57am
        Fairsuckofthesav said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        Here here one for the conservatives to swallow. A reminder to all employees of the benefits of joining a union.

        • August 4th 2017 @ 9:17am
          elvis said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          I was in a union once that sold us out for less pay in return for an agreement to get all new employees in that union. As far as I can tell that union existed purely for the benefit of its union leaders.

          • Roar Guru

            August 4th 2017 @ 3:42pm
            Kaks said | August 4th 2017 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            Most do.

            • August 10th 2017 @ 12:35am
              Chris Love said | August 10th 2017 @ 12:35am | ! Report

              I am as anti-union as you will find. But on this issue I was right behind the players.

              Cricket is not just a work place. The players are the product. No one sticks their hands in their pockets to see James Sutherland and every single person that works in CA HQ could be replaced tomorrow and the game would go on essentially as If nothing happened. Do the same thing with the ACA side (the players) and the game falls apart and would take decades to recover if at all.

    • August 4th 2017 @ 7:44am
      The Fatman said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      To all the people who supported us through this. Thank you.

      now we will try and repay you back by playing great cricket.

      There is no animosity towards Cricket Australia. They just needed to learn the lesson that the players are joint partners in revenue sharing.

      Now they understand; everything is sweet.

      To Alistair Nicholson; you were outstanding mate. Absolutely outstanding.

      • August 4th 2017 @ 8:22am
        jameswm said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        Are we supposed to be thinking the Fatman is a professional cricketer affected by this MoU?

        Nicholson was excellent in many respects. I like how he kept out of the limelight, and just worked bloody hard behind the scenes. The players owe him a lot I reckon.

        Peever can go now, thank you very much.

        • August 4th 2017 @ 8:40am
          The Fatman said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          I have been on Roar from the beginning mate. So if you are just getting with the program that is fine. The MoU and the lockout affected a lot of us.

          But no animosity towards anyone, even Peever. Lol. this is a joyous time for us all.

          And it will be a sweet sweet summer to remember forever.

          • August 4th 2017 @ 8:49am
            jameswm said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

            That means I am just getting with the program I guess.

            You didn’t answer the question though. Are you someone who will be paid under this MoU?

          • August 4th 2017 @ 9:07am
            johnnie said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

            You won Davey W, we get it.

            • August 4th 2017 @ 12:27pm
              The Fatman said | August 4th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

              Yes, I am lucky enough to be rejoicing over this decision as it effects me personally.

              This has been very personal for us. A journey in ownership of cricket in this country. We have had to stare down Cricket Australia and try not to get the public off side.

              Cuds to Alistair Nicholson and his team.

              You were brilliant.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 5:08pm
                Ben Brown said | August 4th 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

                Who are then?? Hiding behind an anonymous username. Weak

              • August 4th 2017 @ 6:29pm
                Todd Shand said | August 4th 2017 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

                The Fatman knows that if he exposes who he is on this forum; it will be on the front page of the Daily telegraph and the Age.

                I know who he is; and he is an important player indeed.

                You will have to trust me on this one.

              • August 5th 2017 @ 12:43am
                Don Freo said | August 5th 2017 @ 12:43am | ! Report

                Mike Gatting? Mark Cosgrove? Ellyse Perry?

              • August 7th 2017 @ 2:53pm
                Ben Brown said | August 7th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                Ed Cowan maybe? Anyway we can get in contact privately to tell me who The Fatman is?

          • August 5th 2017 @ 1:14pm
            davros said | August 5th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

            no animosity to Peever ..are u effing kidding ..makes me wonder that you really are a cricketer pretty close to the set up ..and i can tell you the players are effing filthy on him and his goons !

      • August 4th 2017 @ 9:06am
        johnnie said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        You should be thanking Neil Maxwell

    • Roar Guru

      August 4th 2017 @ 8:06am
      mds1970 said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Good news. A summer without cricket would have left a massive void.
      Cricket is big business and rakes in massive dollars; and it’s only right that the players get a reasonable share of that.

    • August 4th 2017 @ 8:14am
      Mick_Lions said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Starc should bowl 2 bouncers in the first over of the Ashes, then a yorker. Hopefully one of them breaks a few bails, bones and English will.

      • August 4th 2017 @ 8:27am
        jameswm said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Remember a couple of series back when the Poms were scared of Mitch Johnson? You could see it in their eyes. Swann left mid-tour, as did Trott.

        Not sure Starc is this sort of bowler – what about Cummins? He could be consistently over 150, couldn’t he?

        I would love to see us play 4 quicks at one stage, and just rip at them over and over. Don’t really see it happening. There’s not enough confidence in Maxi’s bowling.

        As I have said before – it would make our team very useful if Agar became our best spinner, but I don’t see it happening. You could have a keeper at 6 if we had one who’s a good enough bat, Agar at 7 and Patto at 8 – that is a quality 7 and 8. And even Cummins and Starc at 9 and 10 average 30 with the bat.

        Be nice to have a strong settled top 5 – but there is a good chance we will by the end of the ashes. Smith, Handscomb, Renners, Khawaja, Davey Warner – I don’t expect any of them to do poorly this summer.

        • Roar Guru

          August 4th 2017 @ 9:08am
          Rellum said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Patterson has said the one change to the rules he would like to see is to remove the two bouncer rule. I would too just to remove the narrowed strike zone players get now. Wont happen though.

          • August 4th 2017 @ 3:36pm
            fp11 said | August 4th 2017 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

            Patterson?! Pattinson?

            • Roar Guru

              August 4th 2017 @ 3:45pm
              Rellum said | August 4th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

              Yes that.

        • Roar Guru

          August 4th 2017 @ 9:34am
          JamesH said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          I feel like I am one of the few who doesn’t want to see Starc, Cummins and Patto in the same side. That puts way too much pressure on Hazlewood to bowl long, miserly spells (assuming we haven’t got a quality seam bowling allrounder who can do that job). If we went with 4 quicks I would rather see Bird or Sayers in there for more control.

          Having said that, there is almost no chance that Lyon misses out at the Gabba so it’s a moot point.

          • Roar Guru

            August 4th 2017 @ 9:44am
            Ryan H said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            Tend to agree, have felt for quite some time that the most balanced and effective pace trio Australia could field is Starc, Hazlewood and Sayers. A great mix of breakaway pace, bounce, accuracy and control – however to leave out both a Pattinson and Cummins type is also a gamble, and I’d imagine it is most likely one will play at a minimum.

          • August 4th 2017 @ 12:46pm
            jameswm said | August 4th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            I think you’re underestimating Cummins and Patto. Starc can go for runs, but Cummins and Patto are pretty accurate. Cummins has a FC economy rate of under 3.

        • August 5th 2017 @ 3:31pm
          W G Grace said | August 5th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

          Not really as the song said it all- way too inconsistent

          He bowls to the left
          He bowls to the righhhhhhhhht
          That Mitchell Johnson
          His bowling is shite.

          England easily regained the Ashes back in the home of Cricket in the next Ashes series anyway- Broady’s 8 for 15 against the hapless Convict Colonials so called batsmen at Trent Bridge in the first innings – oh how many did you convict colonials score – 60 and your were lucky to even make that.

          England will retain the Ashes with a thumping 4 or 5 Nil series win – Warner and Smith wont make many runs as that will be the end of you and your pop gun attack will struggle to take wickets especially as you have no real third seamer or spinners and a wicky or cannot even bat let alone wicketkeep.

          • August 5th 2017 @ 9:13pm
            John Erichsen said | August 5th 2017 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

            2013-2014. 37 wickets @ 13.97

            Still, you keep singing your silly little ditty.

            Mitch Johnson
            313 test wickets @ 28., strike rate 51.12 economy rate 3.33

            Stuart Broad
            375 test wickets @ 28.75 strike rate 57.49 economy rate 3.00

            Seems Broad and Johnson are quite comparable. Broad is certainly a tighter bowler, but he has never scared a batsman the way MJ had your players crapping themselves in 2013/14.

            Enjoy the Ashes this year. I know I will.

    • August 4th 2017 @ 8:20am
      jameswm said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Now, let’s get back to arguing about who the best wicketkeeper in Australia is – not Wade – Carey, Whiteman, Nevill, any of them

      Which all-rounder should be selected for Bangladesh – Maxwell, at least initially

      How many bouncers Mitchell Starc should bowl in his first over of the Ashes – one first ball for sure, and another a few balls later. You get 2 per batsman per over don’t you, or is it just 2 per over? Then he can bowl a nice juicy full one with some shape away from Cook, who – pegged on his back foot – can nick it (don’t say to Wade who drops it) to Smith at 2nd slip.

      • Editor

        August 4th 2017 @ 1:47pm
        Daniel Jeffrey said | August 4th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

        Have to say I’m in agreement with all these answers jameswm. Although maybe hold the bouncers back to the third or fourth ball of the over.

      • August 5th 2017 @ 9:16pm
        John Erichsen said | August 5th 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

        I would prefer to see Starc rip a full swinging delivery past Cook first ball. Cook prefers the back foot and will duck early so is unlikely to be phased by a first ball bouncer.

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