Australian cricket is heading for an uncivil war and the fallout will turn fans off the game, cricket writer Robert Craddock says in an opinion piece in the Courier Mail.

And they are fans the game cannot afford to lose given its struggles at all levels bar the booming Twenty20 scene, he says.

"Both Cricket Australia and its players must be careful where they tread as they butt heads over a new pay deal.

"During the last pay war 20 years ago the general public reacted with extreme disdain over the threat of a player strike.


"And the current players are paid four times as much as what they were then.

"Good luck drawing a tear-drop from Bob the Busdriver over your pay demands when you are on $2 million a year and he's struggling to pay the electricity bills.

"Of course it's more complicated than that but the essence of the matter is that no Australian cricketer will ever die in poverty and the best of them are extremely well paid as they deserve to be.

"Cricket Australia must also watch its step.

"Its players are its most precious resource and they need to be treated with the utmost respect.

"The email sent from chief executive James Sutherland to his players last Friday night was abrupt to say the least.

"One of the reasons CA is so aggressive in its stance is that it believes in its cause.

"Cricket is desperate to shore up its standing in the fight against AFL clubs.

"It is outnumbered by more than three to one AFL development officers around Australia and constantly loses the battle for the game's best young talent.

"The fight is getting more intense by the year.

"Cricket Australia must also respect the fact that game is changing. They don't own players any more. The players have options and they will use them.

"The Big Bash is growing and interstate cricketers who headline that act deserve a decent slice of the pie.

"This dispute will be like most others in sport.

"They two parties will curse and hiss at each other and fire bullets from 20 paces then eventually sit down at a table when its all over and say what a good job each other did.

"But that moment is a long way away."