Twenty20 cricket is like a runaway train,which would crush Tests and One-dayers if it is not handled properly,warned former Australian cricketer Dean Jones.
Jones said the kind of money which private T20 leagues are offering is too good to resist and the ICC must pay the players well for representing their country in Test and ODI format.
He cited the example of Australia’s domestic tournament Sheffield Shield,where players’ income has decreased due to the Big Bash league.
Jones argued that if representing the nation was not rewarding enough financially,the players would automatically be more drawn towards lucrative private leagues.
“T20 cricket cannot be stopped. It is a runaway train prepared to kill everything in its way. I am not joking when I say this. If we don’t handle T20 cricket properly,it will crush everything in its way,including the Test and one-day formats,” Jones wrote in his column for ‘Sydney Morning Herald.’
Jones said Cricket Australia along with the Australian Cricketers Association have to be very careful about how they govern the game from now on.
“They dropped the squad from 20 paid players to 18 and payments were also dropped by up to 40 per cent. Let’s look at a quality player such as Chris Rogers from the Bushrangers.
“Rogers was earning in the vicinity of USD 100,000,but under the new deal between CA and ACA he is now earning as little as USD 40,000. So this gives me the impression playing first-class cricket is not financially rewarding. Shield cricket has become the ugly sister.”
“The money being offered around the world to T20 cricketers is staggering. So how do we stop youngsters who don’t want to play Sheffield Shield cricket from following the T20 gravy train?,” Jones said.
He also suggested the ways to tackle the problem.
“First,the ICC must standardise Test and ODI payments around the world: make it financially rewarding for players who do play international cricket for their country. Under the present system,why wouldn’t Chris Gayle become a private contractor and earn more than USD 3 million a year instead of USD 200,000 for his country? Cricket boards will realise money will win as it speaks all languages.”
He also suggested that only those cricketers who have played internationally should be allowed to play Twenty20 and that too with the permission of their boards.
“This will make players want to play Test and ODI cricket first and foremost,as the rewards will be there. Once a player reaches international level,he will understand what the big deal is about and,hopefully,try to keep playing for his country.”
“The way things are going,Australian cricket could easily lose quality youngsters such as Mitchell Marsh,Matthew Wade,Aaron Finch,Moises Henriques and Glenn Maxwell to the big dollars offered by other T20 competitions. CA must try to stop this from happening.”