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Edward Craig: Central contract madness

September 11th, 2009 by Edward Craig in England, International, Test cricket, ecb

So long Monty and Harmy. You’ve been a bit rubbish for England this year and you’ve missed out on a central contract. Fair enough – international cricket’s a tough game, you let your form then your place slip and you find yourself plummeting.

And that is precisely why Collingwood, Bell and Cook have all been given central contracts for the next 12 months. Eh?

England now have two types of contracts – the full, central ones and the half-baked, increment contracts. These secondary ones come in smaller type face on the press release; they are cheaper and provide solace to those afflicted by the negative vagaries of selection: Owais Shah, Luke Wright, Ravi Bopara – as well as a pension house for the infirm – Andrew Flintoff.

Maybe the ECB feels obliged to fill a team’s worth of central contracts, but when it has no real idea what the best batting line up is and who the best XI is, why bother? Hand out fewer central contracts and let the failing batsmen in Collingwood, Bell and Cook feel the heat of selection.

And stop being so coy – Jonathan Trott is clearly a world-class player, give him a full contract – none of this weak, don’t-want-to-hurt-Colly’s feelings, nonsense – Trott will be batting No.4 for England in 12 months with plenty of hundreds behind him.

And Sidebottom!? Just mind-boggling …

Full contracts: James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Graham Onions, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann.

Increment contracts: Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Andrew Flintoff, Adil Rashid, Owais Shah, Jonathan Trott and Luke Wright.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, International, Test cricket, ecb |

6 Responses to “Edward Craig: Central contract madness”

  1.   Paddy Briggs says:

    I’m surprised that Michael Vaughan has been left out. He’s retired? Oh well nobody’s perfect - give him a piece of paper that says we love him anyway…

  2.   England swing the axe « SpunOut says:

    [...] 11, 2009 by A P Webster The ECB’s decision not to offer central contracts, nor even incremental contracts, to Steve Harmison or Monty Panesar has left both with their [...]

  3.   Dave says:

    Central contract for Ian Bell? I’d have given him a P45.

  4.   Cricket Betting Blog says:

    There does appear to be a ‘Face Fits Policy’ with the selectors. The “Central contracts are designed to reward players who perform well consistently for England” statement from Geoff Miller does leave you wondering.

    Fair enough Harmison and Panesar haven’t done enough to be rewarded with Central contracts but have Cook, Bell, Collingwood and Sidebottom?

    In Collingwoods defence (and I hate to do this) he plays in all three forms of cricket - which might go some way to explaining why our batting is poor in all three forms of cricket - so for that reason a central contract might be valid.

    But of the others, currently Bell and Cook are only playing test cricket and Sidebottom is only in the one day squads so why not just award them the increment contracts?

    Think we already have a strong idea that the same failing players (mainly batsmen) will retain their places for the South Africa squad!

    Can only hope that the selectors have the brains to take a spare opener and a couple of middle order batsmen to say too Cook, Bell and Collingwood that their places are no longer guaranteed.

    But knowing what we do, we will probably end up with a farcical situation like the one after the 1st test on the West Indies tour earlier this year when both Bell and Cook should have been dropped but we only had one spare batsman in the squad. But wait! fear not! The selectors had it all in hand after all as we had a mighty THREE spin bowlers in the 16 man squad instead.

  5.   Marcus says:

    I came up with this article, but I did not know anything about central contracts. Then I found that central contracts, introduced in 2000, have been seen as a significant part in England’s recent improved results.
    Those awarded 12-month central contracts can expect to earn about £250,000-a-year.
    I’ve found all this information in one webpage which has many documents of different subjects called: Yellow documents.


  6.   Paddy Briggs says:

    Without Ian Bell’s top score in the first innings of the Oval Test match England may well not have regained The Ashes. Doesn’t seem deserving of a P45 to me…

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