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Players, organizers agree deal to end cricket pay dispute

Players, organizers agree deal to end cricket pay dispute

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Cricket Australia and the players' union have reached an in-principle agreement to end a long-running pay dispute that had threatened to derail upcoming tours to Bangladesh and India and the home Ashes series against England.

About 230 of Australia's elite professional cricketers have effectively been unemployed since the previous pay deal expired on June 30.

Cricket Australia carried a report on its website Thursday saying a deal had been reached following the latest round of meetings between its chief executive James Sutherland and Australian Cricketers' Association leader Alistair Nicholson. Both were expected to attend a news conference scheduled later Thursday in Melbourne to outline details of how the players will be contracted.

Players boycotted a developmental "Australia A" tour to South Africa last month and there were serious concern among Australian cricket supporters — from the prime minister down — about the potential fallout if the dispute wasn't resolved this week.

Steve Smith's test squad was scheduled to assemble in Darwin next week to finalize preparations for a scheduled two-test tour to Bangladesh which starts with a warmup match on Aug. 22. A limited-overs series in India was scheduled after that, and before the Ashes series starts in Brisbane in November.

The most divisive issue in the dispute involved revenue sharing. Cricket Australia wanted to scrap the revenue sharing model that has governed player salaries for 20 years.