There are plenty of places to find out about Central Contracts but here’s an attempt to put the information into one place.

Central Contracts were introduced in 1999, the amount of international cricket was increased and the ECB wanted greater control of the England players. As far as the Counties were concerned it was clear they’d be without their players for the majority of the summer, it suited them to have those players paid by the ECB.

A study carried out by 3 members of the Sheffield Hallam University looked at matches played, changes made and performance over 2 periods.

1987 – 1999 – Matches Played – 130, Changes Made – 368, Matches Won – 26

2000 – 2012 – Matches Played – 166, Changes Made – 263, Matches Won – 75

So, 20% of matches won pre-central contracts against 45% post, that’s some difference!

Looking at the years post 2012 – a break down by year of Test matches played and results;

  • 2013 – Played – 14, Won – 5, Drawn – 5, Lost – 4.
  • 2014 – Played – 8, Won – 3, Drawn – 2, Lost – 3.
  • 2015 – Played – 14, Won – 6, Drawn – 2, Lost – 6
  • 2016 – Played – 17, Won – 6, Drawn – 3, Lost – 8
  • 2017 – Played – 11, Won – 6, Drawn – 1, Lost – 5
  • 2018 – Played – 13, Won – 8, Drawn – 1, Lost – 4.

That’s 62 played and 33 won, a win ratio of 53%

England offer 3 different types of contract – Test, White Ball and Increment. Those on the full Test and White Ball contracts, have their availability dictated by the ECB and are paid directly by them.

The red ball contract is worth in the region of £700,000 and the white ball £170,000. Several players are on both. The contracts run from October to September, although news has come out today about changes to that. In the 2016-17 season each player received £12000 per test on top of the contract, £5,000 for each ODi and £2500 for each T20.

Players contracted for the year starting in October 2018 are:-

  • Test Cricket
  • Moeen Ali
  • James Anderson
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Stuart Broad
  • Jos Buttler
  • Sam Curran
  • Adil Rashid
  • Joe Root
  • Ben Stokes
  • Chris Woakes
England’s Test team waiting for a decision on a wicket at Lord’s
  • White Ball
  • Moeen Ali
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Jos Buttler
  • Alex Hales
  • Eoin Morgan
  • Liam Plunkett
  • Adil Rashid
  • Joe Root
  • Jason Roy
  • Ben Stokes
  • David Willey
  • Chris Woakes
  • Mark Wood
  • Increment
  • Jofra Archer
  • Tom Curran

Here are the conclusions of the Sheffield Hallam Study;-

Conclusions

The findings presented suggest that central contracts have had a positive impact on the stability of the England Test cricket team. As the stability of team selection has improved, the main performance indicators (win ratio and points per match) have improved considerably, as evidenced in the quantitative findings. The national coaches now have regular access to the players, a marked improvement on the situation prior to the introduction of central contracts. This has led to more time for coaching, training and managing workloads with periods of rest and recuperation.

Although the impact of central contracts has raised a small number of issues with the domestic counties in England and Wales, the main reason they were introduced was to directly improve the performance of the English Test team. This has been achieved through a blend of better preparation, more focussed itineraries for practice and playing, and increased stability in team selection, with England’s results improving since the system of central contracts was implemented.

Being a centrally contracted player is a lucrative place to be of that there’s no question. To a large degree their introduction has worked for England Cricket. There is of course no requirement to prove your form when you are in one of those slots and it must make it hard for the management to drop players. It remains to be seen if this is a system that continues to benefit England.

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