Maxwell is among the five players, whom the CA might offer an unpaid contract
Maxwell is among the five players, whom the CA might offer an unpaid contract

The pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian players seems unlikely to be resolved before the June 30 deadline. However, according to sources, many players can be offered unpaid contracts by CA. The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday that CA will offer five players Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird and Travis Head – the chance to play for free during next month’s Australia A tour of South Africa. CA will bear the expenses for these players, with Bird notably vying for a spot on Australia’s upcoming Test tour of Bangladesh as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Starc. The rest of the Australia A 14-man squad are on multi-year state deals, which are likely to be honoured. ALSO READ – Cricket Australia s dispute unlikely to be resolved by June 30

Nevertheless, these claims have been rejected by CA with a spokesperson declaring that no decision on Australia A’s tour contracts had been made and that CA were 100 percent focused on reaching a resolution by the deadline. Despite CA’s insistence, a last-minute breakthrough seems unlikely with Greg Dyer, the Australian Cricketers’ Association president, saying on Tuesday that it was “extremely likely” a resolution would not be forthcoming.

With a resolution unlikely to happen before the deadline, CA could offer ‘series-by-series’ contracts in a desperate bid to ensure the Bangladesh tour and the Ashes go ahead although the players might not accept that temporary measure.

Shane Watson, the former Australian all-rounder, said CA would not be able to stop players seeking other employment if a resolution was not struck. “If CA knock back an NOC (No Objection Certification) that’s a significant restraint of trade as well,” he told reporters in Sydney. “In the end, I’ve got a Big Bash contract. Of course, I’ve got to get a NOC signed. For them to restrict my potential to be able to play and be employed somewhere else, there would be some pretty serious legal issues there.”

Ed Cowan, the former Test batsman, queried the validity of multi-year state contracts, which were signed under the current Memorandum of Understanding. “They don’t mean much, do they,” he said. “They’re contracted but if they’re not being paid, there’s no obligation to then fulfill those contractual obligations.”

Meanwhile, players will be allowed to use the training and medical facilities even if a new pay deal is not struck before the deadline, according to a report by Fairfax. It would mean that unpaid elite players, such as Steven Smith and David Warner, can continue to train but only state-based players on multi-year deals would continue to be remunerated unless they decide to strike.