Cricket: Stewart: We're not money-grabbers

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The Independent Online
THE ENGLAND captain, Alec Stewart, yesterday insisted his World Cup squad were not "money-grabbers" and would not hold Lord's to ransom over the contract wranglings that are threatening to disrupt their preparation for the tournament.

Stewart has been elected as unofficial shop steward in the negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board over the contract for the seven weeks the 15-man squad will be together should they triumph in this summer's event.

But as he and the rest of the party still wait for a contract to be drafted, Stewart claimed they were not asking for unreasonable amounts and insisted this issue would not deflect them from their main objective of winning the World Cup.

"Conversations have taken place but as yet we haven't had anything official from the Board," Stewart said. "The players have had a couple of meetings, but when we go on to the field of play or when we do any practice, as always, it's not on our minds. We are not saying we want pounds 1m a game or anything like that, but we are the elite players and we have been picked for the World Cup."

The players are believed to want a set salary, appearance money for each game, incentives for World Cup progress and a bonus should they win the tournament. The board's offer is likely to be much less.

This weekend England play back-to-back day-night fixtures in Lahore against Pakistan A, whose line-up is expected to include Test players Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed.

ENGLAND (from): N V Knight (Warwickshire), A J Stewart (Surrey, capt), G A Hick (Worcestershire), G P Thorpe (Surrey), N H Fairbrother (Lancashire), A J Hollioake (Surrey), M A Ealham (Kent), R D B Croft (Glamorgan), I D Austin (Lancashire), D Gough (Yorkshire), A D Mullally (Leicestershire), A Flintoff (Lancashire), A R C Fraser (Middlesex), V J Wells (Leicestershire).