Players reject four-day Tests and call for better pay protection
Three-quarters of male international players are opposed to making all Test matches four days.
The findings were in the biannual survey from global players’ union Fica. Four-day Test matches were reintroduced in 2017, but all matches in the World Test Championship are five-day affairs.
England seemed open to the idea of further four-day Tests, but Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, later clarified he supported such fixtures only against emerging nations. There was also 82 per cent player support for promotion and relegation in the World Test Championship, which launched last year.
The threat to international cricket posed by the rise of Twenty20 leagues was highlighted by 53 per cent of players saying they would consider an improved domestic deal over a national contract. The financial uncertainty facing many nations was highlighted by West Indies players taking a 50 per cent pay cut, with captain Jason Holder saying: “If something doesn’t happen soon, we’ll see less international cricket played by the so-called smaller countries”.
Fica’s report lamented the lack of solutions to address “haves and have-nots” in the sport and warned: “The have-nots continue to face almost insurmountable issues around revenue generation, investment, playing opportunity and flight of talent. These countries flirt with systematic failure year on year and are reliant on handouts.”
Contract breaches and non-payment of players around the world were also highlighted, with 34 per cent of all players – including 32 per cent of men – having experienced issues. Problems have arisen in the Bangladesh Premier League and Global T20 Canada, while Bangladesh players have not received International Cricket Council prize money, and Zimbabwean players have not had some contractual pay.
The proportion of players reporting non-payment problems has doubled in two years.
“Cricket is behind other sports in committing to protecting people, including players at global level, and that needs to change,” said Tom Moffat, the chief executive of Fica, who called on the ICC to help resolve the issue.
After the introduction of concussion substitutes last year, 53 per cent of players now support introducing substitutes for all genuine on-field injuries.
The majority of players also backed expanding the 50-over World Cup from 10 countries.