Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow gets his just rewards with England central contract
YORKSHIRE's Jonny Bairstow has been awarded his first central contract after an outstanding year at international level.
Bairstow is one of 10 players awarded Test deals along with county colleague Joe Root.
Root is also one of four men – along with Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes – to be awarded a newly-created ‘White Ball’ contract.
Yorkshire’s Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and David Willey have also been handed ‘White Ball’ deals, designed to reflect the increasing importance to England of limited-overs cricket.
Test specialists – and those playing in all forms of the game, such as Root – will have their salaries paid in full by the England and Wales Cricket Board, while those solely on ‘White Ball’ deals will receive a supplement on top of their county salary.
Clubs will be compensated for the absence of white ball specialists, while players in both formats will be paid according to a new rankings system.
According to the ECB, rankings will be “based on performances on the pitch, as well as a number of other factors, including off-field contribution, fielding and fitness. These rankings will then correlate with the players’ level of remuneration.”
The governing body have also awarded an ‘increment contract’ to Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance. Increment deals are intended to reward players in-and-around the England set-up, with counties continuing to pay the player’s salary, and the ECB paying an incremental supplement based on appearances.
It is thought that Test deals for the highest-ranked players, such as Root, are worth up to £700,000, with ‘White Ball’ contracts potentially nudging £200,000.
Bairstow, 27, is a standout name on this year’s list.
The batsman/wicketkeeper has gone from strength to strength since scoring his maiden Test hundred against South Africa in January, and he was England’s leading batsman across the seven Tests against Sri Lanka and Pakistan last summer, scoring 753 runs at an average of 75.30.
Commenting on the changes to the central contract system, director of England cricket Andrew Strauss said: “We believe the restructure of the central contract system will recognise the increased focus of the shorter format and the importance that we place on this as we continue our progress towards hosting the 2019 World Cup.
“It is undeniable that the introduction of central contracts in 2002 has greatly benefited the fortunes of the England Test team. During this period, the team has consistently performed well against the other Test nations around the world.
“The international game is evolving rapidly, and we have to keep pace with developments on the field. Our game-wide strategy sets out the objective of creating balance between the formats, and this is reflected by the restructure of central contracts.
“Ultimately, we are fully committed to developing world-class players in both red and white ball cricket to aid the goal of becoming the world’s number one team.”
Under previous provisions only the one-day captain, Eoin Morgan for the time being, was eligible for a central deal while other non-Test players could at best earn incremental deals.
The Team England Player Partnership has joined the Professional Cricketers’ Association in giving the green light to these changes.
Test contracts: Moeen Ali (Worcs), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Notts), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwicks), Mark Wood (Durham).
White Ball contracts: Ali (Worcs), Jos Buttler (Lancs), Alex Hales (Notts), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Stokes (Durham), Woakes (Warwicks), David Willey (Yorkshire).
Increment contract: Gary Ballance (Yorkshire).