Many cricketers have opted out of central contract with their country to play in T20 competitions throughout the world.
The landscape of cricket is shifting as the shortest version of the game grows in popularity. The way cricket is played is undergoing a fundamental shift in ecology. The rising popularity of T20 cricket has also prompted the boards to create their franchise-based organization to keep the game alive. The move has also resulted in a significant decrease in ODI numbers.
According to a recent survey conducted by FICA (Global World Players Body), over 49% of players are interested in renouncing their central contract and focusing on T20 leagues throughout the world. Jimmy Neesham, a Kiwi all-rounder, started the trend, and on December 10, 2023, a few of the top West Indian players opted out of their central contracts. Let’s take a look at the players who have turned down the central contract offer to focus on franchise cricket.
Cricketers Who Opted Out of Central Contract
Trent Boult, a New Zealand fast bowler, has been a prolific wicket-taker for the Kiwis across all formats. When he refused the central contract from New Zealand Cricket a few months before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Kiwi supporters were taken aback. Boult agreed to participate in the mega event and other bilateral series but denied the central contract. As a result, he is a free agent and will be available to represent clubs in franchise-based T20 league cricket.
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Along with left-arm fast bowler Trent Boult, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham refused New Zealand Cricket’s core contract. All-rounder Jimmy Neesham has stated that while serving his nation is an honor, he will not be signing a contract with New Zealand Cricket (NZC). Since declining the central contract, Neesham has represented New Zealand in all ICC tournaments as well as in bilateral series for the Blackcaps.
West Indies middle-order hitter Nicholas Pooran has likewise refused the central deal with Cricket West Indies. Nicholas Pooran, a T20 specialist, will look for lucrative agreements in franchise cricket throughout the world while continuing to represent the West Indies in international cricket whenever he is called up. Nicholas Pooran has been retained by the Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL and will now try to play in other tournaments.
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Jason Holder, a former West Indies captain, has also declined the central contract from their board. Holder refused the central contract given by Cricket West Indies to focus on T20 leagues throughout the world. The shortened game format will also allow him to be considered for the national team. Jason Holder will be a huge fish for teams at the forthcoming IPL auction.
Kyle Mayers, a West Indian all-rounder, has been an outstanding performer for the West Indies. Mayers has also followed Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder in declaring his availability for T20 leagues throughout the world, declining a central deal with CWI. Kyle Mayers will be available for national selection as well, but by refusing the contract, he becomes available for franchise-based cricket. Kyle Mayers has appeared in 29 T20Is for the West Indies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The central contract is a yearly agreement between a cricket board and its players that determines the retainer fee and other benefits for the players. The contract is based on the performance and potential of the players and is divided into different categories or grades.
The players are selected by a panel of selectors, board members and the national head coach based on various criteria such as consistency, fitness, attitude, team spirit, etc. The contract list is updated every year and players can be promoted, demoted or dropped from the list depending on their form and contribution to the team.
The benefits of the central contract include a fixed annual salary, match fees, daily allowances, insurance, medical facilities, travel expenses, etc. The contract also provides security and stability for the players and motivates them to perform better for the national team.
Most of the major cricket boards such as BCCI, ECB, CA, PCB, CSA, NZC, etc offer the central contract to their players. The contract amount and categories vary from board to board and depend on the revenue and resources of the board.