Josh Hazlewood has indicated Australia’s players want full transparency from Cricket Australia in order to better understand the governing body’s coronavirus cash crisis before taking pay cuts as their part of the bargain to keep the game afloat.
Hazlewood admitted he was as surprised as anyone last week when CA made the shock announcement that it was standing down the majority of its staff on 20% pay until the end of the financial year on June 30. National head coaches Justin Langer and Matthew Mott are among those who have effectively become part-time for the next two months after the board took drastic action amid fears of running out of cash, despite having been confident of weathering the worst of the pandemic a matter of weeks ago.
CA’s chief executive Kevin Roberts is expected to update the governing body’s staff as to the state of play and next steps on Tuesday afternoon after cancelling a previous video conference window for Monday, amid questions from the state associations and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) about the game’s finances and the board’s suggested remedies.
The deadline for player central contracts had already been pushed back to April 30 and that remains the time frame being worked to. The value of the contracts is based on a fixed revenue share model which the players fought to maintain during the acrimonious pay talks in 2017 between Cricket Australia and the ACA so they are preparing to shoulder the burden of a slump in CA money.
“We’re obviously partners in the game and we’ve always said that. We’ve ridden the highs, now is the time to ride the lows a little bit,” Hazlewood said. “We’ll see where it comes to and obviously play our part. “As long as they show a lot of transparency on all the numbers, all the players will be pretty happy with that. So as long as there’s good communication between ACA and CA shown there to see exactly where we’re situated at the moment and moving forward.”
“It probably took me a little bit by surprise. Just due to the fact this pandemic has probably happened at a perfect time for Cricket Australia compared to the footy codes that are really in some trouble heading into their seasons. But there’s going to be some impacts no doubt. We’re no different to any other sport. If it leads into next summer it could be quite serious, so we’re playing it by ear at the moment and we’ll see where we end up.”
Hazlewood was not one of the players contacted directly by Roberts last week when the financial concerns became clear, but he said he was content for the ACA to take a lead in the situation.
“I think the relationship between the ACA and CA is a lot better now. It’s developed a long way in the last 18 months or two years so that will go a long way towards having this episode [play out] a lot better than last time. It’s all positive from our end. And from both ends. So hopefully it’s a lot better communication and I think we’ll see that in the coming weeks and months.”
However Hazlewood, who admitted he had drawn himself up a budget to help manage his situation over the coming months, acknowledged circumstances would differ greatly between players.
“People are at different stages of their career, different stages financially. It’s going to be different for everyone at different levels – whether they’re playing for Australia, been playing for 10 years or it’s their first year, or in their state teams or in a BBL franchise. It’s a lot different for everyone and it’s going to affect some people more harshly than others.
“Obviously you think about it, take precautions, we’re no different to anybody else. I’ve started being on a budget and things like that but it’s each individual, they’re in different positions.”