24 Oct

Cricket England’s centrally contracted players have agreed to take a 15 per cent pay cut for the next 12 months.

Last month, the ECB announced that it was awarding 12 Test and 12 limited-overs central contracts with five players — Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer awarded both. Test contracts have previously been worth up to £650,000 and a white-ball contract up to £275,000. Root also earns a captaincy bonus of about £170,000.

As well as their basic salary, the players will take a 15 per cent cut on their match fees, which were worth £14,500 for a Test match and £4,500 for each limited-overs match last year, and 50 per cent on win bonuses. The bonuses, depending on the opposition, range from £44,000 and £175,000 for Test matches and up to £58,000 for white-ball cricket.

The pay cuts, which will save the ECB about £2 million, were agreed between the governing body and the Team England Player Partnership (TEPP) in light of the financial impact of Covid-19, which has resulted in the ECB suffering a revenue shortfall this year of more than £100 million and forcing it to cut 30 per cent of its workforce.

Throughout the pandemic the England players have been conscious about the financial impact on the game and at the beginning of the summer made a collective £500,000 contribution to the ECB and other good causes which was equivalent to a 20 per cent cut to their retainers for the first three months of the season in line with the pay cut that many county cricketers had taken while they were on furlough. It is likely that a number of counties will make further use of government support schemes during the off-season — the new Job Support Scheme runs from November 1 for six months.

This agreement reached between the ECB and the TEPP is likely to save the ECB around £2 million in this financial year but the governing body have warned there could be a further financial hit to their income if they cannot get full crowds back in next season or their new competition The Hundred has to be postponed again.

England’s centrally-contracted women cricketers earn considerably less with the largest contract being around £90,000 per annum and are not expected to be asked to take a pay cut.

Meanwhile, the ECB is in discussions with both Cricket New Zealand and Cricket Ireland about the possibility of arranging a short series in June should the World Test Chanpionship final be cancelled.

The ICC is hopeful that the final, planned to be played at Lord’s in June can still go ahead but with an increasing number of series in the competition being cancelled or postponed because of the global pandemic there is an increasing chance the inaugural edition of the championship will either need to be cancelled or postponed.

Although the final was due to be played at Lord’s, the ECB has put in place a contingency plan to host the final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton should the match have to be played under the same bio-secure conditions that matches have been played under during this past summer.

John Stephenson


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