The Daily Telegraph

ECB looks at multi-year deals to stem England talent drain

- Cricket By Tim Wigmore

England will consider multi-year contracts to prevent players being lured away from representi­ng their country.

The proposal has come from Richard Thompson, the new chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who also wants players to resist the attraction of short-format leagues.

Internatio­nal cricket is facing major pressure from Twenty20 leagues. Two major competitio­ns, in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, launch in January, adding to an already congested field.

Trent Boult, the New Zealand fast bowler, recently withdrew from his national central contract to give himself more time to play in domestic competitio­ns, highlighti­ng the threat to the internatio­nal game.

Thompson suggested that England could start to offer players multi-year deals as a way to guard against talent being lost from the national team.

“We’ve got to find ways the schedule, the financial commitment­s, other areas where it’s not all about money, security, that we can provide them,” he said. “If you’re going from one league to another and you get injured, you’re done. But if a country can say, ‘Here’s a three-year contract’ – that’s very different.

“I do feel we are at a tipping point of how we control our talent and are not losing them. So in five years’ time, if we’ve lost our best talent to multiple global tournament­s, that’s a tragedy.”

Thompson also said that the vote on changes to the domestic structure, scheduled for Sept 20, had been delayed as attempts continued to find consensus among the counties to enact the changes to the schedule advocated by the high-performanc­e review.

As Telegraph Sport first disclosed, Sir Andrew Strauss’s ECB high-performanc­e review proposes a six-team Premier Division with two feeder leagues of six underneath competing for a promotiona­l play-off. But agreement among the first-class counties remains a considerab­le distance away.

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