Ahead of India ODIs, Australia under pressure to justify stance over pay dispute

first_imgAfter managing to save face against Bangladesh by drawing the two-Test series 1-1, Australia now gear up for their biggest challenge during their limited-overs tour of India. The first of five ODIs will be played in Chennai on Sunday.Following their 20-run defeat against hosts Bangladesh in the Mirpur Test, the Australian media ripped apart Steve Smith’s team terming them “prima donnas” and “dust bunnies”.”And then there are the prima donnas, otherwise known as the Australian Test team. I use that term because these are the same players who went on strike over their pay packets, ones that dwarf most professional sportspersons in this country,” wrote Jon Anderson. “So if you want to play that game, by heck you have to make sure you back it up in the field of play.”Senior Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor of ‘The Australian’ was scathing in his piece titled ‘Dust bunnies facing Asian sweep’.”Australia can’t win in Asia anymore. We play suboptimal cricket on the subcontinent. Our batsmen have developed an almost fatal dust allergy.”However, thanks to David Warner’s century and Nathan Lyon’s 13-wicket haul saved Australia from further embarrassment and the series was drawn 1-1.Australia are going through a lean phase in their cricketing journey over the last one year. In Tests, they were whitewashed 3-0 by Sri Lanka, lost to South Africa 2-1 at home, bounced back to beat Pakistan 3-0 and lost to India 2-1 and drew against Bangladesh 1-1.However, they have fared well in the 50-overs format with victories in tri-series in West Indies, Sri Lanka 4-1, Ireland 1-0, lost to South Africa 5-0, beat New Zealand 3-0, beat Pakistan 4-1, lost to New Zealand 4-1 and failed to reach the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy.advertisementWith a long list of injured players, Australia look pretty weak on paper against India, who are high on confidence after sweeping aside Sri Lanka in all formats.Australia pace attack is weakened with top stars like Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood missing. Pat Cummins will shoulder the responsibility and the return of James Faulkner, who knows the Indian conditions well thanks to his IPL stints, give them a glimmer of hope against the likes of in-form Virat Kohli and Co.On the other hand, India have recorded eight consecutive Test series wins and five successive ODI series victories.The last time, Australia toured India for a limited-overs series, the MS Dhoni-led side emerged winners 3-2 in the seven-match contest. However, it was competition of the highest level from both the teams, with Rohit Sharma becoming the only second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to smash a double hundred in ODIs.Two of the fiercest rivals will once again face-off in the five ODIs and three T20Is. The mind-games and incessant sledging will be back. All in all, full entertainment is guaranteed for the next four weeks or so.Australia’s record in the subcontinent is dismal. They last won an ODI series in India in 2009 when Ricky Ponting’s men won 4-2. Steve Smith will be keen to repeat that result and go with a smile on his face, especially after a 2-1 Test series defeat in March.AP PhotoPAY DISPUTE SAGAAustralian players and Cricket Australia were involved in a long-standing pay dispute before it ended in August. Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) finalised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for next five years earlier this month.Players with central contracts and state players without multi-year deals, were left unemployed after the deadline for a new MoU was not brokered by June 30.ACA had earlier rejected the new pay offer from the game’s governing body, saying the proposal will be a win for cricket administrators but a loss for the game.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 be more than double to $A52,000.Under CA’s proposal, only male international players would have had the chance to share in any surplus revenue, while other domestic male players and women at both domestic and international level would have had to settle for fixed amounts which would have not fluctuated according to the game’s income.However, the ACA had 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 was CA’s proposal to scrap a shared revenue model for player payments, which had been in place for nearly 20 years.advertisementlast_img

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