We are fully focused on cricket, insists Smith amid CA pay dispute
London [U.K], June 1 (ANI): As the long-standing pay dispute between the Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) continues, skipper Steve Smith has insisted that his team are entirely focused on their Champions Trophy campaign, which is beginning against New Zealand on Friday in Birmingham.
The 27-year-old said although there are many things going on in the background, they are currently focusing on winning the eight-team tournament which comes only once in every four years.
"For us, we're focusing on this tournament. Obviously there are some things going on in the background. But for me it's about focusing on this tournament," ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith as saying.
"These tournaments only come around every four years – or two years, with the World Cup – so these are the big tournaments and the ones you really want to win. My focus is on that and I'll let the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) handle everything else outside of that," he added.
In March, CA made an offer, proposing that the average pay of Australia's international women's players would rise from $A79,000 to $A179,000, while the average remuneration of state cricketers would more than double to $A52,000.
Under CA's proposal, only male international players would have the chance to share in any surplus revenue, while other domestic male players and women at both domestic and international level would have to settle for fixed amounts which would not fluctuate according to the game's income.
However, the ACA pointed out a series of concerns with the proposal, saying that it "disrespects the value of domestic cricketers and the role they play in Australian cricket".
The major reason behind the ACA's opposition is CA's proposal to scrap a shared revenue model for player payments, which has been in place for nearly 20 years.
Cricket Australia had in May threatened that players would not be paid beyond June 30, the date of expiry of their current five-year financial deal, if they don't accept the governing body's new proposed offer.
Smith, who was speaking in Birmingham ahead of their opening clash, insisted that the ACA is handling the situation quite well and that he has full faith that they would soon come to a mutual agreement.
"I think if we look back at the last MoU, players gave back $10 million to grassroots cricket, which is quite significant. We're certainly looking to do the same sort of stuff in this new agreement. ACA is handling that and I'm sure they'll come to an agreement soon," Smith said.
Talking about the Champions Trophy-a tournament which they have won twice before, Smith admitted that the Australians need to quickly find a way back into the 50-over mindset, having had one of their warm-up games washed out, and with many of the players coming fresh from IPL duties.
"It takes a little bit of time, I think. We've been playing a lot of white-ball cricket, so I guess that helps. You just have to realise that 50 overs is a lot longer than 20, and you can rein things back in and know that you can bring the gear back down a bit, but also have the gear to go up at the back end of the game or if you want to take someone on," Smith said.
"It's taken a few guys a little bit of time to bring their games back down a level, not try and overhit the ball, particularly in England. It's a place where the outfields are so fast and you don't have to actually overhit it. The guys have been working on that," he added.
New Zealand and Australia have met in two Chappell-Hadlee campaigns over the past six months, both of which have been comfortably won by whichever was the home side.(ANI)