Australia news August 12, 2011

Hohns queries size of contract list


Trevor Hohns has revealed that he raised concerns about the dimensions of the Cricket Australia contracts system when chairman of the national selection panel, a post he exited in 2006.

Having resumed an active role in Australian cricket as Queensland's chairman of selectors and state talent manager, Hohns said he believed the contracting of 25 players was too many. He also said that the system had to be made more flexible on a year-to-year basis depending on the nature of the Australia team's schedule.

"We had plenty of depth then [pre-2006], but I'm not sure that 25 is the right number. I must admit I was always saying that [as chairman]," Hohns told ESPNcricinfo. "But that was the deal that was done and we had to work with it. To have 25 seems a lot to me, and I think the players' association and CA need to be a bit flexible on this, we're going through different times and I think it does need a little bit of tweaking.

"Where we go with it I don't know, you and I aren't going to change that, it's more a matter for CA and the players association I believe. It certainly needs to be looked at, and what the answer is I don't know. There are several lines of thought, whether it should be more incentive-based for those that play get the pay, or whether T20 cricket should have separate contracts, there's several lines of thought and I'm sure they're going over all of those."

Hohns also agreed that the state and national contracts system should be weighted more heavily towards Test cricket aspirants and participants, so as to provide a worthy incentive for players who are currently able to earn far more for playing a handful of Twenty20 tournaments than for focusing on the arduous task of representing their country.

The slim financial outlook for players concentrating on the Sheffield Shield competition and not also earning T20 contracts in the Big Bash League was exposed when the selectors chose Trent Copeland for the tour of Sri Lanka. On a state contract of about $75,000, Copeland is earning a fraction of the salary presently being raked in by the likes of the young allrounder Steven Smith.

"Most cricketers still want to play Test cricket I believe," Hohns said. "I've been out of the loop for a little while now but I presume most still want to represent their country in Test matches. Sure the shorter version of the game, T20 and to a lesser extent one-day cricket, generate a lot of money, so that's all got to be taken into account and there's got to be a balance somewhere."

Michael Brown, CA's head of cricket operations, and Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, have both agreed there is room for adjustments. However, Marsh believes the issues would be less conspicuous had the current national selectors not changed their views so much between naming 25 contracted players in June then picking three players from outside the group for a Test tour in July.

Australia's selection and contracting processes are presently under the harsh glare of the Don Argus-led review into the performance of the national team, which is expected to table its findings for the CA directors at their August 18-19 board meeting. It remains unclear whether or not the recommendations will be shown to the public.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • KEN on August 15, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    @RandyOz If you think that a couple of half centuries against the weakest bowling attack in world cricket means that Ponting has now made up for 3 years of crap batting, think again.

  • Philip on August 15, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    "Most cricketers still want to play Test cricket..." How many times has that been said recently? Yes, I'm sure lots of young players still want to play Tests, but will they change or develop their game to prepare themselves sufficiently for it? Or will the system and the lure of easier opportunities prevail, so that the wanting and the doing never meet? Cricket Aus needs to send a clear message down through the state systems that it values Test cricket as the paramount form of the game. With India's abysmal tour of England, even Indians seem to have started saying that T20 has had a deleterious effect on their performance and that the only other country to embrace the shortest form so eagerly is Australia. I do not believe that it is a great coincidence one is a former number-one Test nation and the other is, well, in exactly the same boat. As for England, there are two Ashes series in the not-too-distant future. Does anyone really expect Australia to be able to compete, even at home?

  • Randolph on August 14, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    @jonesy2 - 100% agree. Also, where's all the Ponting bashers now???

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2011, 4:44 GMT

    there was a time in australian cricket when domestic players could compete at test level,they had that kind of class and proved it over the years but there is big question mark on the performance of AU team in tests,No doubt they are still number 1 in One dayers but the class the thrill they had 3 years back is missing

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2011, 18:32 GMT

    End of the day, you need to create a 'pool' , but of worthy players. In their pomp McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and Lee had back-ups like Stuart Clark, Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming, McGill etc. They'd walk into first teams anywhere else. Heck even Nathan Bracken, world's best ODI bowler at the time, or Shaun Tait of immense pace wouldn't get a look into the test team. Their third choice players like Brad Williams felled Ganguly with a bouncer. Ditto with their batting - which other team could afford to leave Blewett, Slater, Katich and Damien Martyn ( at different times) cooling their heels or not pick Michael Hussey in his youthful prime? Barring ENG who have their county riches, no country today has that kind of bench strength luxury. IND vs ENG right now is an apt example of how your reserve pool can make or break a series.

  • Anthony on August 12, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    It seems outrageous to reward mediocrity. The talent pool in Australia is empty.

  • Bryn on August 12, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    blah blah blah, lets just start winning. we have the players and always will so there is no excuse at all.

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    and they seem to hand out contracts willy nilly to players who have virtually no experience at top-level cricket, and then pick uncontracted players anyway

  • Aidan on August 12, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Any suggestions that give good incentives to players to focus on representing the nation, in particular in Test area above T20 (which has so much more finanical incentives) has my backing. Measures to achieve an outcome that creates a nation of players who want to represent the country first and foremost will be what brings up the world ranking again. Don't think their are not a significant proportion of players who seem them selves as commodities and wil focus on T20 as a priority. I know some bowlers have retired from test cricket for legitmate reasons, but others you have to question.

  • far on August 12, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    kinds of contracts should be test , odi's , hit and giggle oopps t20 , test and odi's , odi's an t20 and test an t20 it may lead to more people on contracts but it will cut back the price of the contracted people

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