Australia news July 19, 2017

Pay war damage already done - Johnson


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What exactly is the Cricket Australia-ACA pay dispute?

Negotiations between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association are continuing at a snail's pace but the damage has already been done, the former Test paceman Mitchell Johnson has said.

Talks between the two warring parties - including the chief executives James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson - resumed in Melbourne on Wednesday with time fast running out to avoid major dislocation to the game, both in terms of commercial deals with sponsors and broadcasters, and also the Bangladesh tour in August.

While discussions are now taking place on the sort of level that should lead to an eventual resolution, little movement is discernible from CA's strong desire to end the fixed revenue percentage models at the core of past collective agreements, and likewise the ACA's intent to keep the model in place. Johnson, who retired from the international game in 2015, said relationships would take a long time to heal whatever the outcome.

"It's been pretty disappointing and once it's all dealt with, the player and CA relationship is going to be a struggle … it's going to be very ordinary," Johnson said in Sydney. "Even if it gets sorted, the damage has already been done. There's been personal insults about the players being greedy. That's not the case.

"The relationship is going to have to build again. The last time I felt this way - not to this extent - was the Argus Review [in 2011]. That was the last time we had a little bit of trouble between the players and CA."

"If we lose this battle as players, does then the ACA start getting their legs chopped from underneath them and the players lose the ACA?" - Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images

Commercial pressure is mounting in terms of players looking at signing deals with sponsors competing against CA's major corporate partners. It has been reported that both Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith are close to signing deals with Mercedes to follow on from Mitchell Starc's newly unveiled contract with an Audi dealership in western Sydney. The ACA's commercial manager, Tim Cruickshank, is currently in India for talks about the collective intellectual property passed on from CA to the players' commercial arm, the Cricketers' Brand, when the most recent MoU expired on July 1.

"The players have fought so hard, the ACA, for the last 19 years, and got this model that we have in a really good place, and other things as well," Johnson said. "From the CA point of view, I know David Peever, ex-Rio Tinto ... no unions. So that is the thing that concerns me a lot. If we lose this battle as players, does then the ACA start getting their legs chopped from underneath them and the players lose the ACA?

"That is the scary thing from my point of view. Cricket will still go on but I don't know what sort of input the players will have in the future. I saw Nathan Lyon this morning and I think he's as disappointed as everyone. The way it has been dealt with in the media, it probably should have been more of a private matter ... it could have been dealt with very differently."

Speaking at the launch of a new app called BowlFit for young fast bowlers, Johnson also said England's recent loss to South Africa at Trent Bridge would place doubts in the minds of the team led by Joe Root ahead of a likely pace-based Australian assault in the forthcoming Ashes series.

"They've got a few issues to sort out," Johnson said. "It's only one game but it's the way they got beaten that you see the score line. Joe Root being a new captain; they'll try and put a bit of pressure on him to see how he handles it. Australia are a huge chance. It'll be a great series but there are some scars there as well.

"You want to be consistent and they probably haven't got that consistency at the moment. It's going to be hard for them now because they have been beaten, there's pressure on them. I don't care too much about England to be honest. I don't care what they bring as long as it's a good contest."

Another area Johnson found intriguing was the selection of Gary Ballance at No. 3, though a finger fracture has ruled him out of the next Test against South Africa. "England have Gary Ballance at No.3 and when you're at No.3, you're meant to be one of the best players in the team, if not the best," Johnson said. "I don't think he is.

"If you're a bowler and you see Gary Ballance at No.3, then you actually get a lot of confidence from that. Australia would have a lot of confidence. They [England] have changed their team a little bit over the past. They're trying to find the right squad. It's getting close to an Ashes series, so you want to lock that in."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shreekanth on July 20, 2017, 18:25 GMT

    @Pranto: Bhuvneshwar Kumar(not Bubenashwar kumar) is an Indian pacer who was described as one of the world's best death bowlers by Steve Smith - the Australian cricketer who leads his national side in all three formats. Umesh Yadav too, is an Indian fast bowler who, as someone has rightly mentioned in this thread, outbowled Josh Hazlewood (an Australian fast bowler ranked No.1 in ODIs and No.4 in tests for bowlers) and Mitchell Starc (Australian bowler ranked 11th in Tests and 3rd in ODIs for bowlers) in terms of both number of wickets taken and average in a test series that concluded few months back. Jasprit Bumrah is an Indian pacer who is the best ranked fast bowler in T20Is right now. Mohammad Shami too, is an Indian pacer who currently is not a regular fixture in the playing XI for India. Going by your unfamiliarity with the names (Bubenashwar) of some of the international bowlers, I reckon you are an avid sports fan who has taken into cricket only recently. I would encourage you to explore this wonderful website which would help you develop your interest in the game and enjoy it much more. From your name, you seem to be from Portugal. As you might have already known, being an avid sports fan like you, your national team is currently an affiliate member of ICC and has played in the ICC European League Division 3 tournament in the past. Good luck to Portugal. I hope we will see your national team in World tournaments soon.

  • Mitch on July 20, 2017, 12:12 GMT

    Poms will lose as per usual and probably cry off home!!! 5-0

  • electr5503270 on July 20, 2017, 10:12 GMT

    Mitch johnson is stating the obvious!

  • Prem on July 20, 2017, 10:11 GMT

    If the team was winning like it did in the late 90s and throughout the 00s the players would have had public support. The current team are losers everywhere, in Sri Lanka, in India, South Africa, New Zealand, Champions Trophy, World T20 etc etc so the public really don't care for their strike. It makes the players look real bad.

  • Peter on July 20, 2017, 9:06 GMT

    @JOHN. What, give up the sunshine, warmth and good weather? Doubtful.

  • John on July 20, 2017, 8:25 GMT

    I am sure England will embrace the convicts back to their shores.

  • drawly0432769 on July 20, 2017, 7:54 GMT

    Typical banter for these commercial events to plug their products but some interesting points in the article. The damage has already been done- why these guys couldn't meet earlier this year To flesh this out I don't know. Also the news that Smith and Khawaja might be signing with a rival sponsor doesn't send the message that this will get sorted out soon. So much for standing up for the first class players.

  •   MatthewLond on July 20, 2017, 7:44 GMT

    "I dont care too much about England"

    Looks like it Mitchell..

  • Mitch on July 20, 2017, 6:45 GMT

    Gotta be kidding whos Umesh??? LOL

  • gaurav3225934 on July 20, 2017, 5:04 GMT

    @pranto: Umesh yadav is an Indian pacer who recently outbowled Hazlewood and Starc in the last Ind-Aus test series.

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