Sydney. Cricket Australia have avoided the potential embarrassment of a strike by agreeing a new ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the players, albeit one which cuts the number of centrally contracted players from 25 to 17.
There had been rumblings about the possibility of a strike during protracted negotiations over the new deal, which determines the proportion of Cricket Australia’s revenue that goes to the players.
The new deal, which was announced on Friday and will run for five years, features a reduction in the number of players contracted for the national team but an expansion of players contracted by each of the states from 15 to 20.
The national selectors will be able to add players to the list, which is expected to form the basis of Australia’s teams in all three formats of the game, “as and when performance warrants,” chief selector John Inverarity said.
“The list of 17 players is brim full of talent, raw enthusiasm and determination to enhance the performance and reputation of Australian cricket,” he said in a news release.
“In addition, there are a number of very good and highly regarded players who (we) have considerable faith in — and hopes for — who didn’t, on this occasion, ‘make the cut’ for the contract list of 17. Ed Cowan, George Bailey, Peter Forrest, Clint McKay, Dan Christian and some others come readily to mind,” Inverarity added.
Batsman Bailey captained Australia’s Twenty20 side in two matches against India earlier this year and might have been expected to have won a contract given the World Cup in the shortest form of the game takes place later this year.
There were no major surprises in those contracted, although former captain Ricky Ponting and experienced wicketkeeper Brad Haddin might be considered fortunate to still qualify for the terms, which offer a basic salary of Aus $230,000 ($232,900).
Ponting was told earlier this year that his days as a one-day international were over, while Haddin has been usurped behind the stumps by Matthew Wade for the two shorter forms of the game and missed the recent tests in West Indies for personal reasons.
Wade, opener David Warner, spinner Nathan Lyon and pace bowler Mitchell Starc were the four new players added to the list compared to last year.
Those losing their central contracts included openers Phillip Hughes and Shaun Marsh as well as top order batsman Usman Khawaja, former Australia Twenty20 captain Cameron White and pace bowlers Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger.
Australia are currently in England for five one-day internationals and they will face South Africa and Sri Lanka in three-test series on home soil at the end of the year.