Brian Lara: Lucrative Masters T20 tempts West Indies legend out of retirement

There is certainly a liberal sprinkling of stardust on show in the six-franchise tournament, with the likes of recently-retired Virender Sehwag, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Swann being joined by the long-since gone Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist

There will be plenty of people ready to argue that world cricket needs another Twenty20 tournament about as much as your local high street needs another coffee shop.

In Dubai today, though, a competition designed to cater for those of a more discerning age will aim to make a space for itself in a schedule that is already full to bursting. 

In contrast to the Indian Premier League (IPL) or Big Bash, the Master Champions League (MCL) is unlikely to put too many noses out of joint given that the majority of its participants have spent more time in the commentary box than on the field of play in recent seasons. 

There is no tug of love between the lure of a T20 payday and international duty here – and according to Sean Morris, the CEO of the inaugural tournament, the money on offer in the United Arab Emirates over the next fortnight is greater than most will earn in any other short-form jamboree. 

“One hundred per cent of the auction price that the player gets bought for goes to the player,” he tells The Independent. “It’s the same in the IPL but if you look at what was spent I’m pretty comfortable that the average payment per game is probably higher than any other league. 

“For the players and the workload I would say it was comfortably the most lucrative tournament out there. Say Jos Buttler went to the IPL for something like £400,000, he’ll be earning that over between 12 and 15 matches. It’s still great money obviously but there are players earning considerably more than that in MCL.”  

There is certainly a liberal sprinkling of stardust on show in the six-franchise tournament, with the likes of recently-retired Virender Sehwag, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Swann being joined by the long-since gone Brian Lara, Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist.

Alongside them will be the likes of Paul Collingwood, Jonathan Trott, Michael Lumb, Ryan Sidebottom and Michael Carberry, all of whom will be back with their respective counties by the time the English season begins again in April. 

Simon Jones, who played his last Test for England during the 2005 Ashes series, is also readying himself for a comeback with Lara’s Leo Lions, over two years after his last competitive action for Glamorgan.

“I don’t see why it can’t take off,” Jones says. “Because of the names they have there, like Lara, like Gilchrist, it’s really going to stir the appetite. 

“These guys are absolute legends of the game and people will want to see them play again.”   

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