Chris Gayle is somewhat of an expert when it comes to talking about run-ins between cricket boards and players. West Indies cricket plunged into a big row in 2011 after the explosive batsman was controversially left out, following the quarterfinal exit in the World Cup held in the sub-continent.
Gayle, 37, was since then seen as a Twenty20 mercenary who turned his back on his struggling regional team, but is considered more of a pioneer as he plies his high-octane game and personality in leagues around the world.
Surprised at Aussie dispute
But ask the Jamaican about the current contract dispute between the Australian players and Cricket Australia, Gayle is both vindicated and surprised.
The surprise is because the dispute --- players insist on continuing with getting a percentage of CA’s revenue rather than agreeing to a mere salary hike --- has hit the well-oiled Australian cricket machinery, unlike the Caribbean administration, which is still seen as disorganised.
Pay players’ worth
“Honestly, I’m surprised, but I have been in that kind of situation as well,” Gayle told HT on Monday at the launch of lifestyle brand attiitude.com. “It goes to show players have started to realise what has been happening.
“Hopefully they put this thing right; this thing needs to be done. People come to watch them play the game as well. Players deserve their worth. This is something I want all teams to be, the players should be satisfied about what they are earning.”
Indian players too have issues
There are reports that even India players are keen for their remuneration to be revised and could meet BCCI officials soon.
The Australian players’ stand-off though is far more serious, and stars like skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc could boycott the home Ashes series this year unless the issue is sorted out. CA CEO, James Sutherland, has said unless the Aussie players’ association negotiates and the MoU is signed, players whose contracts run out in 2016-17, won’t get paid.
Aussie tension beneath surface
“I’m surprised it happened in Australia, when everything seemed perfect within their organisation,” he said. “To be able to have that battle with the players, it goes to show not everything is going according to plan, the impression you get over there.
“For me, I’m with the players, always.”
T20 will hit international game
The globe-trotting Twenty20 batsman though felt the shortest format will take over world cricket and change the attitude of players towards international cricket. IPL and Big Bash League lead the way while Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Indies all have their own leagues, and England and South Africa are set to launch theirs. It will leave the already busy annual cricket calendar packed.
“It (T20) has already taken over cricket by storm. T20 cricket is what is actually keeping cricket alive,” Gayle said.
“If you want to be honest about it, with more leagues coming up as well, it is a good thing. You have to see what international cricket has to offer, how beneficial will it be, for players, because only a few teams get paid well.
“If players see they can get a proper earning, because their careers are so short, big players, upcoming stars, will look to make a decision about their future. ‘Am I going to stick around in international cricket for this when I can earn this elsewhere? It’s a tit-for-tat when you look at it.”