ECB braced for precarious future as England central contracts announced

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On the day when 24 central contracts were announced for the England men’s side, director of cricket Ashley Giles has confirmed negotiations are on-going over the terms of these deals with cuts due for the 2020/21 cycle.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a debilitating effect on the game in the UK, with the ECB feeling the pinch despite being able to salvage enough of their broadcast deal this summer. A loss of around £100 million will still be made this season, with that figure to double if there are further disruptions to 2021’s schedule. It was announced earlier this month that the ECB would have to lay-off 20 per cent of its workforce - equating to 62 jobs.

Last year, a white-ball contract was worth £250,000 with a Test deal earning a player up to £600,000, with match and tour fees added on. In a statement released by the ECB to announce the new deals, it was confirmed negotiations are ongoing between the ECB and the Team England Player Partnership to finalise remuneration.

Giles confirmed that an announcement will be made imminently. While confident an agreement is “very close”, he outlined the players are aware of how precarious the future could be.

“If we don’t play any cricket at all in next 12-months then the impact is huge,” said Giles. “It doesn’t matter what contract you have. If there is no income, they are not worth the paper they are written on. But we are very confident we will get cricket this winter.

Ashley Giles says if there is no cricket in the next 12 months, the contracts ‘are not worth the paper they are written on’Getty
Ashley Giles says if there is no cricket in the next 12 months, the contracts ‘are not worth the paper they are written on’Getty

“Although the players have been in a bubble for the majority of the summer they are not blind to the reality of what is going on in the world. I think they understand they have to play a part in that. The players have done a huge amount this summer, to saving a lot of money for cricket across the board and in some aspects, I suppose, keeping the lights on across the country in cricket. They still understand they've got a part to play and we are finalising those discussions and we're getting very close.”

There remains optimism that England will be able to fulfil their winter programme. They are expected in South Africa later this year for a limited-overs tour, before a Test series against Sri Lanka in the new year - making up for the tour they had to cancel in March because of coronavirus - and then Tests against India. Though dates and locations have not been set or agreed - there is strong suggestion the India series takes place in the UAE, where the Indian Premier League is currently being held – the ECB hope to pass on the favour that touring sides did for English cricket this summer.

“We are in constant dialogue with teams around the world. We are due to tour South Africa, Sri Lanka and India, and we are confident all this cricket will happen. But we have to remain flexible and agile as we have done throughout the whole process and leave final decisions to last minute.

“We are very confident cricket will go ahead and it is important we work together across the globe to get cricket on. We are very lucky this summer way West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland came to play cricket here and we have responsibility to do that as well.”

Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and Ollie Pope have been given Test deals for the first time after establishing themselves over the winter and into the 2020 season. Tom Curran has been upgraded to a white ball contract having been handed an incremental one in 2019.

There are four incremental deals in this cycle, which have been handed to Test spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach, along with Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan.

Players in both formats receive a ‘ranking’ based on their performances on the pitch, as well as factors including off-field contribution, fielding and fitness. Those rankings correlate with the level of remuneration. Contracts start from 1 October and last for 12 months.

Test Central Contracts

James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

White Ball Central Contracts

Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Tom Curran (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Increment Contracts

Dom Bess (Somerset), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Jack Leach (Somerset)

Pace Bowling Development Contracts

Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Olly Stone (Warwickshire)

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