It appears Elvis Dumervil wasn’t the only athlete unhappy with his manager of late.
Last week Usman Khawaja was one of four Australian cricket players suspended for the following test match against India. It was later discovered that they failed to submit a team assignment on time. The news made headlines in Australia, as the tour of India was already being seen as somewhat of a disaster with Australia down in the series.
In times like these, it is usually the player’s manager who is standing by them and seeking a remedy for their client. This was not the case for Khawaja. His long time agent Daniel Zammit voiced his support of the ban on radio, having this to say on the suspensions:
‘We shouldn’t be surprised by what happened in India, cricket has considered itself separate to other sports… For Mickey Arthur, who is a very strong coach, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“The entire cricket universe is soft in the belly compared to other sports.”
Zammit defended his comments by writing an article for The Telegraph, having this to say:
” I defended the coach because the long-term interests of any player is to be a regular long-term player, playing at the highest standard. This is only possible when a team ethos is strong.”
While it has been reported that their relationship was strained prior to this, it looks like this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Despite Khawaja still being with the team in India, he has sought the advice of the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), which is the players’ representative body for cricketers Australia-wide. With the ACA only bringing in an Agent Accreditation Scheme this year, the matter of the cooling off period for the ending of a representative agreement has not been addressed. Therefore, it will most likely come down to the terms in the agreement Khawaja signed with Zammit.
Zammit was only looking out for the best interests of his client, though the forum in which he chose to speak was probably not the best avenue. Privately mentioning what is expected of the player from the team and the opportunity he has in front of him may have been a safer option.
Khawaja has contracts with Queensland, Sydney Thunder and Derbyshire. He opted against playing in the lucrative Indian Premier League to further his cricketing education and being on the cusp of the national team, he would be a strong chance to earn a national contract next season. This would be worth significantly more than his other contracts and potentially upgrade his off-field endorsements. Sydney based Zammit has a large stable of rugby league players with Khawaja being his only high profile cricket client.