Lehmann hopes no Ashes boycott, urges solution to pay row

(Reuters) – Australia coach Darren Lehmann hopes the ongoing pay dispute will not prompt the players to boycott this year’s Ashes series and urged both sides to resolve the matter.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) rejected a pay offer from their governing body, Cricket Australia (CA) earlier this month saying “a win for cricket administrators but a loss for cricket”.

CA has threatened to not renew contracts for 2017-18 and several players, including vice-captain David Warner and bowler Mitchell Starc, have hinted at a boycott of the Ashes series against England.

“I’m sure that (the boycott) won’t happen,” Warner told reporters in Brisbane. “I have my views but I’m not going to share it. I’m talking to both players and CA.”

Lehmann said that he would talk to the players when the squad assembles prior to the Champions Trophy in June.

“You have to do that. You have to keep it open and communication so we know what direction everyone’s going,” Lehmann said.

“Just getting together and working it out is the way to go. It always stays quite late in the negotiations – it happened last time and the time before that. You have those issues… There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together.”

Captain Steve Smith will join the squad after leading the Rising Pune Supergiants to Monday’s Indian Premier League final and Lehmann said that he maintained constant contact with the 27-year-old.

“He’s really looking forward to getting the lads back together. There’s been a lot of emails and text messages around the place. He is (in good spirits). He’s been there for four months and hasn’t been home. But he’s ready to go.”

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