I wrote this article in 2019 and thought an update might be interesting.

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.

Central Contracts for the 2019-2020 season which covers a 12 month period from 1 October 2019. From 1st February 2020, in line with test and multi-format player, those on white ball contracts will have their contracts paid in full by the ECB rather than receiving a top up of their County salary.

Test Contracts

  • James Anderson
  • Jofra Archer
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Stuart Broad
  • Rory Burns
  • Jos Buttler
  • Sam Curran
  • Joe Root
  • Ben Stokes
  • Chris Woakes

White Ball Contracts

  • Moeen Ali
  • Jofra Archer
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Jos Buttler
  • Joe Denly
  • Eoin Morgan
  • Adil Rashid
  • Joe Root
  • Jason Roy
  • Ben Stokes
  • Chris Woakes
  • Mark Wood

Incremental Contracts

  • Tom Curran
  • Jack Leach

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what these central contracts mean financially opinion seems to differ online, but it appears they rose by 30% for this current year and a player with a contract across all formats will be earning close to £1million before any match fees or bonuses are paid. WIth Test contracts worth up to a maximum of £650,000 and White Ball £275,000.

A noted omission from the White Ball list is of course Alex Hales, his transgressions cost him big financially. An interesting inclusion in the Test list for me is Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow had his best year with the bat in 2016, the year England played Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home – some stats from his test career:-

  • 2016 – 29 innings, 1470 runs, average 58.8
  • 2017 – 19 innings, 652 runs, average 34.3
  • 2018 – 20 innings, 609 runs, average 30.4
  • 2019 – 19 innings, 334 runs, average 18.6

It’ll be interesting to see if Bairstow plays any test cricket this summer

3 Comments »

  1. Good piece., Debbie.

    I’ve always like Jonny Bairstow but what a shame his stats have declined in recent seasons.

    It would be interesting to know in which of those games he kept wicket and has it played a part in his decline?

    Like

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