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Players should stand their ground: Harris

Former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris says the players have every right to dig their heels in with their employer Cricket Australia, as a second pay dispute in four years looms ahead of the 2020-21 summer.

Harris, who played 27 Test matches, 21 ODI’s and 3 T20I’s for Australia from 2009 to 2015 told Sports Drive on Monday that players had every right to demand answers from the organisation, with cost cutting measures slashing cricket programs in nearly every state across the country due to COVID-19.

“I know it’s been a really tough situation going on in the world, but the players association (ACA) wanted to see the books from CA and they wouldn’t show them,” he said.

“There’s obviously something there that’s not right. I just hope it’s amicable and they get things done.”

Reports circulating suggest players will have to accept 50 per cent pay cuts to play next summer, with talks of players being disgruntled and in the dark as to the financial situation of Cricket Australia.

Harris hopes things don’t end up following a similar path to 2017, when players threatened to strike ahead of a tour of Bangladesh.

“I don’t want it to be ugly again, but we’ve been there once before and we are heading back there,” the 40 year old said.

“Cricket Australia to my knowledge to this stage hasn’t lost a cent. I know they are trying to save money by standing down workers, but if there’s been some potential bad investments made at the top and they are going back to the players to find some money, that to me is wrong.

“I find it hard to believe they are struggling for money to be honest.”

Harris, who claimed 113 Test match wickets in a very successful if not short Test career because of injury, suggested those at the top at board level should be more willing to accept pay cuts to help the game continue to prosper.

“To sit down and tell your staff that you have to take an 80% pay cut and then say we are taking a 20% cut, I can tell you when that video call came through there were a lot of people who were very angry at that,’ he said.

“I would’ve thought taking a little bit more (of a pay cut) would have looked a bit better. From my point of view that should’ve been a bigger cut, even a 50% cut.

“To do what they did with the staff and save three million, maybe another 30% cut might have saved two and a half or three million so there’s six. I would’ve thought taking a bigger cut would have been more logical.”

Harris weighed in to the debate around a five Test series against India, saying he was happy with four Test despite the disappointment of Perth being snubbed for the series.

“Being a traditionalist, I think the Ashes should be the only five Test match series,” he said.

“It’s something that is and should be discussed; it’s really unfortunate that Perth misses out because it’s a great stadium. But as a player, the history we have at the Gabba, we haven’t lost there in 32 years.

“You want to come somewhere where the opposition doesn’t like. Perth’s pretty similar, but we play pretty well in Brisbane too.”

Harris departed his role with Cricket Australia at the National Performance Centre last month, but has applied for the vacant South Australian coaching position which is expected to be filled by July.

IMAGE: The Australian.

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