Cricket: England's pounds 200,000 to win cup

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THE SPONSORS of the England team have pledged a pounds 200,000 bonus for the squad should they lift the trophy at Lord's in the World Cup final.

England will be guaranteed pounds 50,000 by Vodafone if they reach the semi- finals and pounds 100,000 if they reach the final, as well as being given other bonuses providing they qualify from the groups into the Super Six stage of the competition.

The bonuses will help the 15-man England squad earn around pounds 60,000 a man under the terms of a newly drafted World Cup contract following protracted negotiations between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the players over several weeks.

"As a player you always play your heart out for your country and we'll be going all out to win the World Cup," the England captain, Alec Stewart, said. "But it's also nice to see our sponsor getting behind the team so positively and doing everything they can to help us succeed."

England's squad assembled at their Canterbury training camp yesterday after being given Tuesday off to attend a lunch at the House of Commons. Their opening warm-up match is against Kent at the St Lawrence Ground tomorrow.