MELBOURNE: Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has said players are willing to take salary cuts if it helps the sport keep itself afloat during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has brought the entire cricket calendar to a grinding halt.
Last week, Cricket Australia had said that it would furlough 80 per cent of its staff to meet the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis which has claimed more than 1.6 lakh lives across the globe. There have been reports that have suggested the game will run out of cash in Australia by August.
"It probably took me a little bit by surprise. Just through the fact that it's probably happened at a perfect time, I guess, this pandemic, for Cricket Australia," Sydney Morning Herald quoted Hazlewood as telling the media on Monday.
"(The pandemic) happening in March compared to the footy codes, who are really in some trouble heading into their season. I was a bit surprised there but there has to be some impact, no doubt," he added.
However, with very little chances of game resuming in the near future, level of the impact is more than most expected, considering the next broadcast payment isn't due until September.
"We're obviously partners in the game and we've always said that. We have ridden the highs and now it's probably time to ride the lows, a little bit," Hazlewood said.
According to the MoU signed between Cricket Australia and Australia Cricketers' Association (ACA), by April 30, the former must provide the latter with revenue estimates and a national contract list for the upcoming summer.
"We are no different from any other sport. It just depends how long it hangs around as to how much it is going to affect us, I guess. If it leads into next summer, it will be quite serious," Hazlewood said.
Right now, there's uncertainty as to what percentage pay cut the players may be forced to take if no cricket is played this summer and the right-arm pacer would still like to see that deadline met in 10 days.
"April 30 is what the players want and it's in the MOU but I guess these are strange times. Anything can happen," Hazlewood said.
"The ideal (situation) is that they're put out before April 30 and obviously then we will know, financially, what we can get ready for and how much of a percentage is lost and how much of our contracts are affected.
"The sooner we know that, the more we can plan for the next 12 months," he added.
Recently, Australia's tour of Bangladesh, scheduled for June comprising two Tests, was postponed due to outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The IPL also stands postponed indefinitely while there are doubts over the T20 World Cup slated to be played in October-November in Australia as well.