Sydney, May 18: Coach Darren Lehmann admitted that pay dispute will be a distraction for the Australian team at the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy, starting June 1 in England.
However, Lehmann rubbished claims of the team’s boycott of the Ashes series. Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association are locked in a deadlock over payment and David Warner has warned of the team not taking part in the Ashes, starting November.
Lehmann did admit that the players’ would be distracted playing in the Champions Trophy but ruled out Ashes pullout. The coach also said that he is in constant touch with Steve Smith, who is currently playing for Rising Pune Supergiant in the Indian Premier League.
“We’ve spoken quite a lot, on many issues at the moment,” Lehmann said. “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 (in India) for four months and hasn’t been home. But he’s ready to go,” Lehmann said.
Earlier this week, Australia vice-captain Warner had warned of a Ashes pullout if players’ demand were not met by the board. However, Lehmann is confident of sorting out the matter once the whole team gets together for the Champions Trophy.
“You have to do that. You have to keep communication open so we know what direction everyone’s going,” he said.
“It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there’s no doubt about that.
“Just getting together and working it out is the way to go. There’s no panic, it’s just about the two parties getting together,” Lehmann added.
(With Agency inputs)