Melbourne: Terming the Big Bash League a gamble, Australian Cricketers’ Association chief Paul Marsh has said there is plenty of motivation for young players to aspire to play Test cricket.
Marsh was responding to criticism from Western Australia coach Mickey Arthur, who said the new, dual-contract system would harm Australia’s chances of reclaiming the No. 1 Test ranking.
Arthur argued that by carving money away from the state payment pool to offer Twenty20 deals, incentives to play traditional cricket were removed.
Marsh said the contract system reflected the importance of the Big Bash, on which Cricket Australia is pinning its hopes for future prosperity but for which there will be no new money in the first two seasons, The Age reports.
He said if match fees and other benefits were included, the payment pool for state cricket (Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup) amounted to 13.6 million dollars, compared with 9.5 million dollars for Big Bash players.
“I don’t think you can look at that and say it’s ridiculously over the top in prioritising towards Big Bash. The future of the Big Bash is very important to all of us. We need it to be successful if Australian cricket is going to progress,” Marsh said.
“It is a gamble, but I would rather see CA taking a punt on something like this, that has significant upside if it works, than sitting back and doing what they have been doing for the past however many years. There are enough indicators that cricket has some issues, and to sit back and do nothing is not going to solve those issues,” he added.
Marsh further added that there was still ample incentive to play first-class and ultimately Test cricket. “The players who are contracted by CA are very well paid across the board, and that is where the real incentive is.”