An acceptance that professional players will increasingly make pragmatic decisions about their careers, which may involve playing less Test cricket or even perhaps, none at all. That the arrival of rich, franchised based competitions like the IPL will hasten this trend and reduce the primacy of playing for your country or provincial team. That a young first class cricketer in Bangladesh or the West Indies may have an entirely different set of playing priorities and goals to those youngsters playing in England or Australia. goals to those youngsters playing in England or Australia. That Cricket Administrators must adapt to these realities with clever programming of international fixtures to dove-tail off these competitions and if necessary radically change, even jettison the Future Tours Program in order to achieve this.Let's leave aside for a moment the reality that Gilchrist contradicted himself in that statement. If the FTP was jettisoned, this would directly result in the likes of Bangladesh, West Indies & Zimbabwe playing less cricket against the 'stronger' (cricketing & economic factors) teams like Australia, South Africa, India & England. That would imply a reduction in the quality of cricket they're exposed to as well as revenue for boards. Do you seriously expect a cricketer from West Indies to say "No thanks, I'd rather play a test against Bangladesh because I'm so much in love with my administration"? Of course not! He's going to take the first opportunity available to throw away the WICB contract and play in one of the T20 leagues. So actually, by jettisoning the FTP, you could be increasing the risk that "a young first class cricketer in Bangladesh or the West Indies may have an entirely different set of playing priorities and goals to those youngsters playing in England or Australia". Having digressed, we now go back to the question - how to best balance the self-interests of the players and the administrators? Would a retainership-based payment structure work? What if the IPL (or other T20 leagues) split up the player's payment on a 60-40 basis, whereby 60% of the money they get is based on the number of games they play? But the remaining 40% is actually given to their cricket board. The cricket board could reduce the payment made to the player if he skips commitments (training, other contractual obligations, international games, etc.) because he gave a higher preference to playing in the T20 tournament. That 60-40 split is just a number. It could have been 50-50 or even 70-30, but the split-up needs to provide sufficient incentives & disincentives. Players who are not contracted to their boards would receive a pro-rata amount based on the number of games they played along with other contractual obligations fulfilled. This gives cricket boards enough incentive to release players for the tournament, knowing fully well that they will get something out of it if the players don't honour their side of the bargain. Players have an incentive to balance playing T20 leagues and international cricket. They don't fall under the 'daily wage worker' category, because really speaking when you're paid on a pro-rata basis, that is what you are! The tournament organizers & sponsors benefit since they know that cricket boards and players are both committed to the event because they both stand to gain. What are the potential problems associated with such a model? Manipulative boards (and there're plenty in that category) could reduce the payments on the basis of flimsy arguments. Players could opt out of board contracts, thereby removing the boards from the equation altogether and destabilizing international cricket. Tournament organizers & sponsors could offer incentives for players to give up their existing board contracts.
Labels: ashes, ashes 2009, burnout, champions league, colin cowdrey lecture, fatigue, flintoff, future tours programme, gilchrist, indian premier league, lord's, mcc, retire, spirit of cricket, twenty20, vaas
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