At a press conference in London on May 24, Steve Smith backed away from opening batsman David Warner's remark that Australia might not have a team for the Ashes starting in November.
At a press conference in London on May 24, Steve Smith backed away from opening batsman David Warner's remark that Australia might not have a team for the Ashes starting in November.

Australia captain Steve Smith has played down fears his team could boycott the upcoming Ashes amid a stand-off between the players' union and Cricket Australia (CA) over a new pay agreement.

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has rejected an offer by CA which waters down a revenue-distribution deal that the players have enjoyed for 20 years.

The old agreement is set to expire on June 30.

CA has said players would not be offered alternative contracts if they failed to agree to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Smith said players were supportive of the ACA, who was "working really hard with CA to get a deal right."

He backed away from opening batsman David Warner's remark that Australia might not have a team for the Ashes starting in November.

"I saw the comments... Of course we want to play in the Ashes, and of course we want everything to go well there," Smith told media in London ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.

"It's just about making sure the guys finalise a deal and get the MOU (memorandum of understanding) sorted and everything will be fine.

"There's certainly nothing from us where we don't want to play, we certainly want to be playing in the Ashes so, hopefully, they'll get things resolved soon and everything will be back to normal."

The ACA on Wednesday said it had set up a company to manage and market player image rights and intellectual property if the pay negotiations failed to produce a deal by the deadline.

Smith said the venture had the players' support.

Both sides have blamed the other for the impasse, but the ACA has requested CA agree to mediation to get back to the negotiating table.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies