x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Twenty20 cricket vision that impairs

Kevin Pietersen and all the other English cricketers who could command a contract in any of the lucrative T20 leagues are being sinned against by the prevailing system, writes Paul Radley.

Kevin Pietersen of England and others feel they are underpaid for T20 appearances. Gareth Copley / Getty Images)
Kevin Pietersen of England and others feel they are underpaid for T20 appearances. Gareth Copley / Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen was right all along. Back in the early days of the Indian Premier League, when his participation was limited by the powers that be in English cricket, he railed against being deprived "a million dollars" for six weeks' work.

Back then, it was seen as the ramblings of that South Africa-born loner, who moved to England for a better financial deal and then became a star, bleating about unfairness.

Now the penny has dropped. He was right. He – and all the other English cricketers who could command a contract in any of the lucrative T20 leagues – are being sinned against by the prevailing system.

"It is quite wrong to presume that central contracts are adequate compensation," Angus Porter, the chief executive of England's players union, told espncricinfo.com. "England players are substantially underpaid even before we factor in the lost earnings from potential T20 appearances."

Porter may have lacked tact, but he spoke the truth. T20's global circus has made princes of paupers.

For instance, one Irish cricketer mused on Twitter whether to upgrade his Emirates business-class ticket to first, solely on the basis of expected performance bonuses at the Bangladesh Premier League.

Not long ago, Irish cricketers had to eke out a living doing a proper job first.

England's players may miss the extra payday, but they are hardly on the poverty line. They must realise dangling their three lions caps out the windows of their Jaguars, looking for a donation, may stick in the craw of many supporters.

pradley@thenational.ae

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