Aussies not ruling out strike
Sydney - Australia's top cricketers have refused to rule out strike action if a June 30 deadline passes without a new pay agreement with the country's cricket board, the players' union said Monday.
Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief Paul Marsh said his organisation and Cricket Australia (CA) had hit a stalemate over negotiations for a new five-year deal and was looking at all its options.
However, he insisted any strike would be "an absolute last resort".
Marsh said the ACA was looking for about Aus$30m ($29m) but it is not clear yet how much CA has put on the table.
Marsh said Australia's participation in the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September could be under threat, along with Australia's one-day international tour of England in June-July.
"You can't rule anything out. I don't want this to sound like the players are all preparing to go on strike because that's not the case at all," Marsh told Melbourne's SEN Radio.
"That type of action is an absolute last resort."
Marsh said if a new deal could not be agreed upon by the end of this month, the ACA would prefer to keep the current deal rolling along in the short term.
"If Cricket Australia don't want to do that, then we're forced with a decision to make," Marsh said.
"We either accept the position that they put forward or we look at what our other options are.
"We should be making sure we know what all the different options are so if that time comes, we can sit down with the players and say 'what do you want to do?'"