Auckland: New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Martin Snedden has ended talks with the country’s first-class cricketers after the players rejected a final offer to settle the dispute which has threatened the start of the domestic season.
“Despite six months’ negotiations with the NZCPA (New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association) we have not made any progress on the key issues and the season is fast approaching,” Snedden said in a statement Tuesday.
“We have acted so we can get on with the domestic season and to ensure we can field a team for the National Bank Series against India (starting next month).”
NZC made a final offer of an extra $NZ 300,000 ($148,600) for the domestic and international players’ pool to bring it up to $NZ 5 million by November 1, issuing a deadline for acceptance of 4 pm local time Tuesday.
But a news conference called by the NZCPA two hours earlier than the deadline flatly rejected the offer and invited NZC to speak to the players on the issues and return to the negotiating table.
With the 128 members of the NZCPA reported by the association to be united in their rejection of NZC’s final offer, the visit by India for two Tests and seven one-day Internationals could see an entirely new, and weakened, New Zealand side take the field.
The players have been on strike since October 1 and the NZCPA said all action would be suspended while further negotiations took place.
But Snedden snubbed their proposal. “Our final offer to the NZCPA was fair,” he said. “It significantly increased remuneration and income security for both international and first-class domestic players. We have reached an impasse. The NZCPA offer today contained nothing new.
“The issues have been dealt with previously. It is now time for us to move forward and get on with the cricket season.”
Meanwhile, Two victims of the dispute are the ‘Cricket Max’, a mini version of the one-day game that was scheduled to open the season in Auckland on November 16, and the provincial second XI competition due to begin on January 2. Both have been cancelled.
The four-day, first-class matches are due to begin November 23 when Otago play Central Districts in Wanganui. So far there has been no threat to the first-class fixtures but they are likely to depend on Snedden’s success in persuading players to break NZCPA ranks.
“The bargaining process is at an end but if players decide they want to be involved, then that is fine,” Snedden said.