Long-term contracts could see Aussie players move away from IPL
Australia's top cricketers appear ready to launch a case for long-term contracts with the game's governing body in a bid to secure greater financial stability.
- Some players are concerned they're missing out on massive IPL contracts due to injury or international scheduling
- Mitchell Starc says he'd prefer any option that allows him to play more Test cricket
- Starc, Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon will all play for NSW this week to prepare for the India Test series
Fairfax Media is reporting that fast bowler Pat Cummins has already opened up negotiations with Cricket Australia (CA) about signing a five-year deal, to help provide some compensation if international commitments make him unavailable for lucrative Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.
Currently, CA only offers one-year contracts to the game's top 20 players, with second-tier deals topped up by the states.
Cummins was signed by the Mumbai Indians at this year's IPL player auction for $1.05 million, but missed out on the lucrative payday because of a back injury he sustained whilst playing for Australia.
Cummins' Test teammate Mitchell Starc also missed the six-week tournament in April because of injury, despite signing with the Kolkata Knight Riders for $1.8 million.
The New South Wales fast bowler said the financial safety net of a long-term CA contract could help offset any loss of income due to injury or a clash of schedules.
"I'm sure it would [help] for a lot of people. It's probably no different to working life outside of the sporting field," Starc said.
"When you look at some of the dollars involved in IPL or some of the T20 leagues around the world, for guys who might be on the fringe or who want to concentrate on T20 cricket, it's very beneficial to play in those leagues."
Many Australian players could find themselves having to choose between the riches of the IPL and the honour of representing their country next year, with the 2019 edition due to finish less than a month before the start of the ODI World Cup.
"If I don't play the IPL next year it's a good opportunity to freshen up for a massive six months of cricket in the UK as well," Starc said.
"I just want to play as much Test cricket and one-day cricket for Australia as I can. The IPL is a lovely bonus on the pay packet but if I [can] miss that to be playing more Test matches, I'm taking that option."
According to Fairfax, the negotiations between Cummins and CA stalled following the departure of high-performance manager Pat Howard. His replacement, former women's captain Belinda Clark, could face a baptism of fire if more elite players request longer deals.
But it doesn't appear Starc will be joining his fellow fast bowler in the queue.
"I'm not too worried about contracts at the moment, it's about performing on the cricket field and that will take care of the rest of it come contract time, whenever that is," Starc said.
For now, the pair, along with Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, will line up for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield clash against Queensland at Canberra's Manuka Oval starting on Friday.
Those players who are likely to feature in the first Test against India in Adelaide beginning on December 6 will skip two T20 matches against South Africa, to gain valuable red-ball experience in the next two rounds of the domestic first-class competition.
"As bowlers I think we're under no illusion that we can't play every game," Starc said.
"Although it would be nice to play every game that you can for Australia when available, you have to look at the bigger picture sometimes, and for us that's performing the best we can in Test cricket for Australia.
"Test is definitely the number one for me.
"I love playing shield cricket, I love playing Test-match cricket. You can't play every game that's on the schedule."