England award 13 central contracts September 20, 2006

ECB gambles on walking wounded

Cricinfo staff

Michael Vaughan awards Geraint Jones his England cap ... but there was no place for the wicketkeeper among the 13 picked by the ECB © Getty Images
The England board has announced that 13 players have been awarded central contracts for the next 12 months. Of those who had existing contracts, only Geraint Jones has been omitted, although Chris Read, who replaced him in the national side, has not been made an offer either.

Monty Panesar and Alastair Cook - who have established themselves in the last nine months - are included for the first time. The contracts are estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of £250,000-£400,000.

Three of those named - Michael Vaughan, Ashley Giles and Simon Jones - have hardly raised a bat or bowled a ball in anger in the last year. David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, explained the board's thinking: "The selectors were also keen to demonstrate our support and faith in those players who are currently recovering from long-term injuries but remain an important part of our plans as we prepare for an intensive programme of international cricket in both forms of the game over the next 12 months."

Referring to Read and Geraint Jones, Graveney was keen to point out that "the selectors can, of course, award Summer Contracts to individual players from next April if we feel that performances on overseas tours merit this and I am sure that both Chris Read and Geraint Jones will be competing hard to demonstrate their value to the team this winter."

The contracts also benefit the counties as they receive around £2,000 per Test and £1,000 per ODI when their contracted players appear for England, and these figures are set to increase significantly. It is seen as their reward for youth policies that produce the players in the first place, and it explains why counties such as Leicestershire are keen to hold on to youngsters like Stuart Broad even though he is likely to be increasingly away on international duty.

England central contracts 2006-07 Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Simon Jones, Kevin Pietersen, Monty Panesar, Andrew Strauss, Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan.

  • England 12-month central contracts were introduced in 2002-03. Nine players were awarded this in the first year, eight in 2003-04, 12 in 2004-05 and 2005-06

  • The ECB's International Teams Group is chaired by Dennis Amiss. Other members are John Carr, David Collier, Duncan Fletcher, David Graveney, Brian Havill, Peter Moores, Hugh Morris.

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