ECB fights threat of Twenty20 with £2m win bonuses

England's Test cricketers are to be offered bonus payments of up to £2m a year in an attempt to check the cash-driven shift towards Twenty20 as cricket's predominant format.

The move follows the announcement of another massive jackpot for the shorter version of the game when the first Champions League takes place in October, with a £2.5m prize for the winning team.

That tournament will feature the top two sides from the Indian Premier League plus two each from the English, Australian and South African domestic competitions. England's Twenty20 Cup begins on Wednesday, with the £42,000 first prize for the winners of the final at the Rose Bowl now looking dwarfed.

The England captain, Michael Vaughan, last night expressed disquiet about the effect the Twenty20 cash explosion might have on Test cricket, fearing that the change of emphasis might have a detrimental impact on the development of Test players.

But the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Giles Clarke, said that Vaughan's concerns were already being addressed and that win bonuses available to his Test team were being increased from the current maximum of around £800,000-a-year to £2m with immediate effect.

"It is impossible to prevent the enormous commercial success of Twenty20, indeed we want to encourage it," Clarke said. "But we need to ensure that if we have people who are pure Test specialists they are properly rewarded.

"You need only to look at the fact that we had 16,000 at Trent Bridge to see England win to know that this is a country that values Test cricket highly."

Vaughan is concerned that the incentive of winning £2.5m from the Champions League will persuade counties to concentrate on developing Twenty20 players instead of four-day cricketers, with negative consequences for Test cricket.

"It is exciting but my only fear is that it will become the ultimate competition because there is such a carrot at the end of it," Vaughan said. "Teams and counties might start developing their Twenty20 team rather than their four-day team."

But Clarke said he believed lucrative rewards for Twenty20 competitions could benefit the game if handled carefully.

"There is no desire to devalue the nature of the county championship, which remains the competition all players want to win," he said. "It is the firm view of the board that county cricket is a critical developmental element for Test cricket.

"It is a path we have to go down with care but I very much hope there will be an opportunity not for just international cricketers but for county players to make good rewards and that will show young boys that cricket can be a financially attractive career."

The Champions League event, which will take place in India or the Middle East this year but is likely to be based in England in future years, has been announced despite there being many potentially contentious issues to be resolved.

A number of players may qualify for the finals with more than one team. Michael Hussey, for example, is a member of Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and of Western Australia, who have also qualified, while Morne Morkel, who plays for Rajasthan Royals and South African side Titans, could also go through with Yorkshire. Who has first call on their services has yet to be determined.

Full details will not be finalised until the annual conference of the ICC in Dubai on 29 June but some points will have to be clarified before then. Of immediate consequence for counties is the question of whether the selection for the domestic competition of players who have appeared in the rebel Indian Cricket League might lead them to be barred from taking part in the Champions League.

The IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, yesterday restated his claim that teams fielding ICL players would not be eligible. English county players who participated in the ICL before April 2008 have been told there would be no retrospective penalties, but others, such as Lancashire's Stuart Law and Johan van der Wath of Northamptonshire, have taken part subsequently.

Unclear of whether potential bans would apply to teams or players, counties were last night seeking clarification of their position, though Clarke was a little cryptic about the matter.

"Cricket Australia have been charged with drawing up rules and regulations for the competition and when ourselves and the other boards have reached a conclusion we will advise the counties," he said.

"How counties pick their sides on Wednesday is entirely a matter for them but the board have made the position very clear to them."

Money makes game's new world go around

How counties and players could benefit from cricket's Twenty20 cash bonanza

Twenty20 cricket offers counties the potential for rewards that outstrip any sums available previously. This year's Twenty20 Cup winners will pocket £42,000 for winning the final at the Rose Bowl on 26 July. The runners-up receive £21,000 with £10,000 each for the losing semi-finalists and £5,000 for each beaten quarter-finalist. Yet the winner of the first Champions League will pocket £2.5m, with further substantial prizes for the runners-up and teams finishing third and fourth.

Such a prize would transform an average English county club, many of whom rely on their share of Test match proceeds from the England and Wales Cricket Board – currently around £1.4m per year – for survival.

The biggest domestic prize is £100,000 for winning the county championship. The Friends Provident Trophy winners take £43,000, while the Pro-40 winners collect £44,000.

Cricketers remain the poor relations of professional footballers. While a regular international player might make £350,000-£400,000 per year, the average senior county professional can expect between £60,000 and £70,000.

Twenty20 offers participants much greater rewards. England players will expect to be paid at least £350,000 each for taking part in the Stanford £10m challenge match against West Indies in November, while Kevin Pietersen could land a contract worth £2m for playing in the Indian Premier League.

Jon Culley

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little