Brisbane: Australian cricketers have canceled a tour to South Africa in the first boycott of their ongoing pay dispute with the sport's national governing body.
The Australian Cricketers' Association announced Thursday that the Australia A tour will not go ahead. The 19-man, second-string squad - led by test batsman Usman Khawaja and also containing test players Glenn Maxwell and Jackson Bird - had been due to leave from Brisbane on Friday and return in early August.
The union said players couldn't proceed with the tour without a new Memorandum of Understanding with Cricket Australia. The previous MoU expired on June 30 with Cricket Australia and the union at odds over revenue sharing in a new deal, leaving about 230 players with international and domestic contracts technically unemployed.
"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," the ACA said in a statement.
Cricket Australia said in a statement it had advised South African authorities of the players' decision not to tour.
"Cricket Australia regrets that players have made this decision despite progress made in talks between CA and the ACA in meetings over the past week," Cricket Australia said. "While a new MOU has not yet been agreed, CA is of the view that these talks should have enabled the tour to proceed as planned."
The Australia A squad had trained in Brisbane this week, hopeful that a solution would be worked out. But no formal talks are scheduled.
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke suggested the previous memorandum be extended to buy more time to find a lasting solution, particularly with tours to Bangladesh and India ahead and with England visiting for the Ashes series starting in November.
"What needs to happen is keep the current MoU for the next 12 months and allow the players to get back to what they do best," Clarke said. "Cricket Australia, the ACA, please go behind closed doors and sort this in private. The players want to play ... let's allow them to play while this stuff gets sorted out in the background."
The Australian women's squad was paid in advance for the ongoing World Cup in England, avoiding any need for strike action....