Australia’s ‘A’ team’s tour to South Africa has been cancelled due to a pay dispute which has effectively left 230 of the country’s players unemployed.
The Tour was due to start on 12 July but players have not agreed on a deal with governing body Cricket Australia (CA).
Players across the country currently receive a fraction of CA’s income but the body has proposed ending the two-decade-old revenue-sharing model.
The players’ union said CA’s behaviour was “deeply disappointing”.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) – representing players in talks – held an emergency meeting with CA over the weekend where they hoped to agree on a new Memorandum of Association.
While commenting on the situation, Adam Collins, who is an Australian cricket journalist and broadcaster said “What a mess. There’s no other way to describe the fact the deadline has passed for Australia’s cricketers to pen a pay deal with the board and no agreement is in place.
“The result? Unemployment with immediate effect. The implications? Vast. The Ashes? Who knows. The Ashes is the true marker of disaster. If that tour is cancelled, heads will roll. And rightly so.”
The previous five-year agreement between players and CA ended last month.
Players want to maintain an agreement where a percentage of CA’s revenue is shared among them but the governing body believes the model is unfit and hopes to funnel more money into grass roots after making a change.
“By making this call, the Australia A players have sacrificed their own ambitions for the collective; an incredibly selfless act that shows their strength and overall commitment to the group,” said the ACA in a statement.
“All players are deeply disappointed at the behaviour of CA which forces this course of action, given the players would rather be playing for their country.”
CA said it had informed South Africa of “the players’ decision” and said it was “of the view that these talks should have enabled the tour to proceed as planned.”
Australia’s A squad featured five Test players with international experience and eight with one-day international caps.
They were due to play the first of two Tests on 12 July before contesting a one-day tri-series two weeks later.