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White-ball players benefit from England revamp

Joe Root

Batsman Joe Root is set to earn about £1m a year as part of a revamp of England’s central contract system.

The shake-up has been designed to better reward one-day and Twenty20 international players.

Previously, contracts were geared towards Test players and white-ball specialists would only receive partial contracts.

Yorkshire’s Root is one of four men to be awarded both contracts by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The others are Warwickshire pace bowler Chris Woakes, and all-rounders Moeen Ali (Worcestershire) and Ben Stokes (Durham).

The way financial packages will be calculated will also see Root, 25, benefit.

To decide how much players will earn, the ECB will rank them based on their performances on the pitch, “as well as a number of other factors, including off-field contribution, fielding and fitness”.

“For Root on the most senior grade, which also now reflects off-field contribution, fielding and fitness, this means an income from the ECB in the vicinity of £1m a year,” BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said.

The new 12-month contracts – 10 of which have been given to Test players, and 11 in white-ball cricket – come into effect from 1 October.

The ECB said it was making the changes in recognition of how limited-overs cricket was increasing in popularity.

Director of cricket Andrew Strauss added: “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.

“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. We hope that continues over the next few years.”

Batsman Ian Bell, who last played for England in November 2015, is the only player with a full 2015-16 central contract to drop off the new list completely – meaning that his county Warwickshire must now take over his salary.

Analysis

Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

The restructuring is designed to emphasise the ever-growing importance of one day cricket, with the Champions Trophy to be staged here next summer and the World Cup in 2019.

Central contracts have revolutionised English cricket, at times causing friction with the counties as players are rested. Surely key to this structure will be the availability of players for the proposed city-based Twenty20 competition.

Test contracts: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire); James Anderson (Lancashire); Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire); Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire); Alastair Cook (Essex); Steven Finn (Middlesex); Joe Root (Yorkshire); Ben Stokes (Durham); Chris Woakes (Warwickshire); Mark Wood (Durham)

White-ball contracts: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire); Jos Buttler (Lancashire); Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire); Eoin Morgan (Middlesex); Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire); Joe Root(Yorkshire); Jason Roy (Surrey); Adil Rashid (Yorkshire); Ben Stokes (Durham); Chris Woakes (Warwickshire); David Willey (Yorkshire).

Increment contracts: Gary Ballance (Yorkshire)

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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