Cricket: Lamb warns of spiralling wages

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The Independent Online
Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has urged counties to show restraint in their offers to available players and to avoid the spiralling wage costs which threaten other sports.

Shane Warne was reported to have been offered more than pounds 150,000 by Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Sussex before deciding to reject the chance to play in England and Waqar Younis was on a similarly lucrative contract with Glamorgan last season.

Jonathan Barnett, Chris Adams' agent, has been quoted as wanting around pounds 20,000-a-year more for his client than any other English player following his release from Derbyshire.

Lamb is urging counties to look at the long-term future of the game. "Even allowing for the fact that agents do hype things up a bit and these offers are exaggerated a little in the media, we have an over-riding responsibility not to pay the current crop of cricketers more than the game can afford," he stressed.

"We understand that it is important to pay the players fair levels of remuneration, which is why we have enhanced the pension arrangements and sit down every year to discuss the minimum wage.

"We have a responsibility to invest in the future of the sport from the development of players to the improvement of facilities and it would be irresponsible of us to over-spend."

David Graveney, the general secretary of the Professional Cricketers' Association, said: "We realise there are comparisons with other sports if we start to overstretch ourselves. It threatens the future of the game at the lower end."