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Cricket Australia chief faces reckoning in bid to reunite game

There is quiet confidence at headquarters that the game will have more clarity and unity by the end of the week, but there is much to do and little time to do it.

For all the effort CA has made on improving its culture since a damning review into the organisation in 2018, the reaction to the events of the past few days has shown trust is not easily earned.

Though the relationship between CA and the Australian Cricketers Association has improved since the pay war of 2017, there is lingering resentment, directed almost entirely at Roberts, who led negotiations for the establishment.

Roberts is playing a reduced role this time in talks at a board-to-board level, ensuring he does not have to square off with ACA chair Greg Dyer.

CA insists Roberts, who was appointed chief in 2018 in the final days of David Peever’s reign as chairman, has not been deliberately sidelined, but there is no doubt discussions will be smoother without him on the front line.

The players, whose pay is tied to the game’s revenue, accept their wages will be hit next season, but want to see updated financial forecasts from CA before discussing more cuts.

It is a thorny issue for cricketers, who have been rebuilding their reputation after the ball-tampering scandal, as they cannot be seen to be crying poor at a time when many of their fans are struggling financially.

CA has until April 30 (Thursday) to send the ACA revenue estimates and finalise a contract list, in line with the memorandum of understanding.

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The states rejected a proposal by CA to cut grants, worth $127 million in 2018-19, by 45 per cent as it would lead to significant job losses. CA then offered a 25 per cent reduction, which can fluctuate depending on variables, such as whether India can tour and how much of the BBL can be played.

CA accepts its initial number asked too much of the states, but wants them to know they cannot ask too much of head office either.

CA believes the level of discontent among states has been overblown, but there is disquiet, even if some are agitating louder than others.

The states were instrumental in Peever being overthrown in 2018, but ousting Roberts would be a board decision.

A source close to the board has indicated Roberts has their support, a view the CEO publicly stated last week, but there are murmurs suggesting otherwise, which will grow in volume until cricket gets its house back in order.

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