Cricket player pay cuts inevitable: Taylor, Gilchrist
Past stars Mark Taylor and Adam Gilchrist warn the game's elite players will not be immune from the pay pain being felt in Australian sport
Cricket Network with AAP
19 April 2020, 04:35 PM AEST
Adam Gilchrist has forecast a dramatic winding back of player salaries and the overall cricket economy, while Mark Taylor believes pay cuts are inevitable for Australian stars amid great financial uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Kevin Roberts has stood down the vast majority of the organisation's staff on 20 per cent pay while executives have taken a voluntary 20 per cent pay cut.
Australia's AFL and NRL football codes and other sporting organisations have announced similar measures, but CA's belt-tightening came after the 2019-20 season was minimally affected by the coronavirus.
Only one of three scheduled Gillette ODIs against New Zealand could be played before cricket was cancelled, and that was held behind closed doors at the SCG, while the end of the Marsh Sheffield Shield season was curtailed by the pandemic.
Australia has seen a three-match T20 series against New Zealand and two-Test tour of Bangladesh both postponed, while the women's team had a white-ball tour of South Africa cancelled.
Planned limited-overs fixtures against England and Zimbabwe also remain in serious doubt and the health crisis has cast doubt over the coming summer's Twenty20 World Cup and a lucrative Test series against India, the latter believed to be worth approximately $300 million in broadcast revenue.
A game-changing wicketkeeper-batsman turned leading pundit, Gilchrist predicted "ongoing and long-standing consequences" for cricket arguing sport on the whole had lost perspective and this juncture could have a "cleansing effect".
"Without being aware of any numbers and the financial side of it, I wouldn't be surprised if we go back a decade or two to the level of payment that players get. Even maybe further for a while," Gilchrist told ABC Grandstand on Sunday.
"It's going to get stripped back, right back.
"Support staff numbers have to get dragged back.
"The revenue is going to go down significantly, 50 per cent they (CA) are banking on at the moment and that's an optimistic position I believe. The players will take a whack."
Former captain Taylor, who resigned from the CA Board in 2018 after 13 years, said there was "no doubt" players would take a cut.
"There will be haircuts, as we've seen from CA staff. Players will be next," said Taylor on the Nine Network.
"I also suspect that Cricket Australia and the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association, the players' union) have been working together on this. I hope they get their heads together and sort out a good solution for the near future.
"Six months is a long time. It may not be long enough in this pandemic, but it might be long enough to get some cricket in October which may save Cricket Australia and the players from taking too big a haircut.
"Nobody has a crystal ball to work out when and how much this will affect cricket."
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dictates that CA must submit its list of national contracts for 2020-21 and provide revenue estimates by April 30 at the latest.
Any attempt to tinker with that MoU or adjust either deadline will require much negotiation between Roberts and ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson, who remain on notably better terms than three years ago.
Nicholson has repeatedly noted in recent weeks, including in an email sent to players on Friday, that "we will hold up our end of the bargain".
"As you know, cricket's revenue share model has hardwired measures that ensure that player payments go up when times are good and decrease in times such as the one we’re currently facing," Nicholson wrote. "The players are partners in the game and we will hold up our end of the bargain."
Spearhead Pat Cummins, fully expected to top CA's contract list, recently reaffirmed that players would "take some of that (financial) pain".
But CA and players, who have started their mandated leave period, are yet to map out exactly what that will entail.
"This pandemic was obviously going to affect Cricket Australia at some stage. I think looking at what's happened this week, Cricket Australia are trying to be proactive and making a move early to hopefully save some pain later on," Taylor said.
"There has been planning for years around potentially these rainy days.
"No-one ever suspects it is going to be as bad as it's been."
Meanwhile, a report from England claims the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is making plans to play all international cricket at just three venues that have hotels and training facilities attached, making 'bio-secure' bubbles to play without crowds.
Australia is scheduled to play three T20s and three ODIs in England from July 4 at six different venues. Under the reported proposal, all matches could be played at a single venue with players, match officials and others involved in staging the match staying on site.
The venues that fit the criteria are Old Trafford at Manchester, Headingley in Leeds and the Ageas Bowl at Southampton.
Australia is familiar with all three venues having played at them during last summer's World Cup and Ashes double-header last winter.
England are also hoping to host the West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland this season.