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Old 6th August 2008, 11:02   #1
Zebroston Chase
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The Central Contracts Conundrum

There has been talk, especially before MPV fell on his sword, that the top six batters were in too much of a comfort zone. People have rightly pointed that none of their places seem to be under threat even though they have as a unit and some of them individually have failed to perform.

People on central contracts seem to be given a lot longer in the side when not performing than people without. Witness the amount of time it took to drop the clearly misfiring Steve Harmison, Geraint Jones, Strauss and Collingwood. This is and has been clearly to the detriment of the team even if the later two have saved themselves when all looked lost with a hundred.

The central contracts seem to have created a sense of entitlement for an England place even when players are not performing, so the question is have Central Contracts run their course? Is the system being used in the right way (or the way it was intended) and what we can replace or evolve them with?

Also how are central contracts to survive with the advent of the IPL?

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Old 6th August 2008, 11:40   #2
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I think the original idea of central contracts was a good one but the implementation has been a bit of a disaster.

My main gripe is that the counties who produced the players are deprived of their services, or dictated to when the players can appear. Couple this with the ridiculous management speak drivel that eminates out of most ECB representatives mouths about "player burn out" and players being "tired" when they play hardly any flaming cricket during the season !

The best preparation for batting, bowling or fielding is (surprise, surprise) actually batting, bowling and fielding and if the out of form England players actually played some first class matches they'd have a chance of regaining some sort of form.

The true folly of this is highlighted on every England overseas tour where they go into a test series hopelessly undercooked, having usually played one hit-and-giggle 50 over match, plus a 13-a-side nonsense against some President's XIII......
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Old 6th August 2008, 11:45   #3
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The counties do get renumeration when their players are playing for England. I'm not too sure about how much they get!
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Old 6th August 2008, 13:01   #4
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I think there clearly is a reluctance to drop centrally contracted players (especially batters) along the lines Zebras has suggested. Perhaps this would be less of a problem if there were more of them? Then one could be dropped for another.

The selectors often seem to be overly keen to stick with decisions they have already made. For example, when the batting was ropey and there were calls for change last winter, we were told on more than one occasion that "these are the best six batters available", when what this seemed to mean was actually something more like "we decided last year when we gave out the central contracts that these were the best six batters available".
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Old 6th August 2008, 13:17   #5
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The ECB seem to be very good at giving central contracts to players in September who then don't figure at all.

James Anderson had a central contract for 2004/05. He played one test in South Africa (which was a disasterous performance to say the least) and was 12th man for the Oval test. He also played 3 ODI games against Zimabwe not exactly good value for money.

Trescothick, Jones, Giles and Vaughan all received central contracts whilst injured or ill but I guess those where given out of loyalty.

Harmison will have played 4 tests this year for his contract and Hoggard will have played just 3 tests for his central contract.

Not the best examples of value for money are they?
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Old 6th August 2008, 20:14   #6
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The simple solution is that instead of providing 11 or 12 central contracts, you award 20-25.

This is what the Aussies, who we appear to slavishly follow, appear to do.

That way you retain control over players, whilst allowing competition.

The ECB are however too stingy to do so, despite all the money they have taken with their short-sighted decision not to allow live cricket to be shown on terrestrial TV.

My really radical solution would be to abolish the county subsidy. Instead the ECB centrally contracts all the English players they want. Counties have then a choice of either playing an English player for free, or paying a South African journeyman to play.
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Old 6th August 2008, 20:21   #7
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I like the Aussie solution of 25 contracts and paying them less than the ECB do. It rewards one day players, reserve players and now twenty20 players. And it seems to work.
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Old 7th August 2008, 00:01   #8
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What I would like to see happen with central contracts is for there to be some kind of performance clause in them for the players.

At the start of each series every member of the squad should be made aware of what we require from them runswise/wicketwise etc. Obviously this wouldn't be set in stone as anybody can have a bit of a dip, a good ball, a batsman in stupidly good form, dropped catches whatever, but it does allow for some sort of measuring stick and it makes the players aware of the minimum requirement we have of them. After each series it can then be reviewed and then the player dropped for someone else (25 central contracts or there abouts would make it easier to call people up etc) if they don't come up to standard.

This system would have allowed us to then get rid of Strauss, Harmison and Collingwood earlier and would (this is conjecture I grant you, but considered conjecture) maybe have made them come back better players and not allowed this sense of entitlement that seems to fester the England team at the moment exist.
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Old 11th August 2008, 00:56   #9
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Contracts will be announced on the 30 September, the same day as the touring squads to India.

Well today some players might be playing to keep their contract.
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Old 11th August 2008, 01:04   #10
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Contracts will be announced on the 30 September, the same day as the touring squads to India.

Well today some players might be playing to keep their contract.
Wishful thinking I expect.
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Old 11th August 2008, 10:10   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff_boycotts_grandmother View Post
The simple solution is that instead of providing 11 or 12 central contracts, you award 20-25.

This is what the Aussies, who we appear to slavishly follow, appear to do.

That way you retain control over players, whilst allowing competition.

The ECB are however too stingy to do so, despite all the money they have taken with their short-sighted decision not to allow live cricket to be shown on terrestrial TV.

My really radical solution would be to abolish the county subsidy. Instead the ECB centrally contracts all the English players they want. Counties have then a choice of either playing an English player for free, or paying a South African journeyman to play.
So the counties are then to scout, coach and produce these players - in Ian Bells case from the age of 11 - for free? Cant see that working.

The real solution is the other way round. Pay the counties a lease payment (its not a subsidy) for providing the infrastructure that develops players then reward the counties for producing England players. Its better now as there is a profit element (original central contracts just took the cost of player off counties - but even then not all - eg pension contributions and NI) but its not much. Warwickshires benefit for producing Bell is losing Bell and the cost of Bell plus a small incentive payment. Its not enough.
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:11   #12
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Quote:
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I like the Aussie solution of 25 contracts and paying them less than the ECB do. It rewards one day players, reserve players and now twenty20 players. And it seems to work.
How much are the central contracts?
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:18   #13
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I think they are in the hundreds of thousands.

I think I read somewhere that the England captain gets 400k or something and the rest 300,000.

Strauss gone for 58, not good.
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:32   #14
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Quote:
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I think they are in the hundreds of thousands.

I think I read somewhere that the England captain gets 400k or something and the rest 300,000.

Strauss gone for 58, not good.
Cheers

Thats not really that much, Ponting earns 800,000 and Australias 25th cricketer gets 155,000 so their top 12 or so would probably be all well over the 300,000 mark. Hell I think overseas players at County level get over 200,000

I assume central contracts are their only contract and they dont also have county contracts?
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:38   #15
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800,000 Australian Dollars or have you converted that into ?
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:38   #16
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800,000 Australian dollars
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:45   #17
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800,000 Australian dollars
Well, then it's roughly equivalent. Funnily enough the English contracts are in Great British Pounds
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:47   #18
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That's less than 400,000.
Edit - Joe got there first.
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:49   #19
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Quote:
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Well, then it's roughly equivalent. Funnily enough the English contracts are in Great British Pounds
I know they are the same converted, but surely the ECB would have plenty of money. Besides I have seen the prices in England, its alot more expensive over there than down here. Hell a ticket to the cricket costs more in pounds than it does down here in Aus dollars

I was suprised to see the earlier suggestion they should be making less, then to find out how little they get, its not much
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Old 11th August 2008, 14:51   #20
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I'm not sure where all the money goes to be honest. I mean literally, I don't know how much of the ticket prices is recouped by the counties or indeed redistributed etc.
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