Cricket: Players prepare for the big freeze

As a select few get ready for an Ashes tour, the game's rank and file must look elsewhere to make ends meet

THE COMING of misty autumn evenings signals, among other things, the end of another English cricket season, a time of sadness and reflection for the game's devotees and the final surrender of the sports pages to the great god, football.

For players bound for foreign shores with the England Test squad and the other representative teams, the bringing down of one curtain merely beckons the raising of another. For the vast majority peddling their talents in the county game, however, the prospect looms of six months in which their principal employer deletes them from the payroll.

Unlike the footballers with whom, for a couple of months at least, they are afforded equal status by the image makers - and breakers - of the national press, cricketers are paid only when they work. And, more to the point, they are paid at rates for a season that some of their better- heeled footballing brothers would expect to apply by the week.

A Test player might earn pounds 40-50,000 - perhaps even more - for his six months, but that category represents a tiny proportion of the workforce. At the other end of the scale a junior professional might pick up as little as pounds 7,000-8,000. The average senior probably collects around pounds 25,000, although this is not necessarily a firm rule: the minimum for a second- year capped player - one who has served an unspecified "apprenticeship" and proved his worth - is much lower, at pounds 20,800.

Hence the need for most bread-and-butter county players, without whom there would be no bedrock to underpin Test cricket, to find gainful employment during the winter. Yet the current situation is considered to be substantially better than that which existed only a few years ago.

"Things have improved," Nottinghamshire's 1998 beneficiary, the 35-year- old Kevin Evans, said. "When the television deal with Sky was negotiated, the Professional Cricketers' Association won a share of the fee for the players, which gave us a pay rise of about pounds 3,000.

"Minimum levels were established, meaning a capped player can at least be sure of what some people would regard as a decent income. Above that it is down to the individual and what he can negotiate for himself. And it depends on where you play because some counties pay better than others."

What constitutes a "decent" income varies, of course, from one individual to another, depending on his circumstances. "We are better paid," Evans' team-mate, Paul Johnson, said. "But at the same time your overheads have risen; you might have moved house and taken on a bigger mortgage. So you need to earn something in the winter to pay the bills."

Johnson has driven lorries and even killed cattle in an abattoir during his 18 years at Trent Bridge. But the range of employment possibilities has shrunk.

"In the past, a committee member might have found a player a job in his company but these days businesses are less able to do such things," Nottinghamshire's chief executive, Mark Arthur, said.

"At Trent Bridge we employ seven or eight players on our cricket in the community scheme and we use contacts overseas - we have established links with New Zealand, for example - to help players find clubs abroad.

"We cannot afford to go Lancashire's way and put people on 12-month contracts but we do our best to help and I'm happy to say none of our staff will need to draw the dole."

Suggested Topics
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine