England's leading white-ball cricketers will earn up to £135,000 for their involvement in the Hundred next summer, following a 25% increase in salaries for the competition, ESPNcricinfo can reveal.
Men's salaries were due to range from £30,000-£125,000 - with a £10,000 bonus for captains - in the inaugural year of the Hundred in 2020 but were cut by 20% following the competition's postponement.
But according to regulations circulated to Hundred teams this week and seen by ESPNcricinfo, salary bands have reverted to their initial levels for the 2022 edition, meaning teams will have a purse of £1 million rather than last year's £800,000. As a result, the country's top limited-overs players including Jason Roy, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan and Liam Livingstone are in line for pay rises.
The ECB will also hope that the increase in earning potential helps to attract leading overseas players for the 2022 season after a raft of internationals including Glenn Maxwell, David Warner and Shaheen Shah Afridi withdrew from the first edition due to international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.
Men's teams will be allow to retain up to 10 players who were contracted for the 2021 season, including those who withdrew due to injury or Covid-related factors like Maxwell, Warner and Shaheen. The window for retentions opened at 9am on Wednesday morning and will run until mid-February, before the draft is held in March.
Changes in England's central contracts system have not had a major impact on the draft process, despite the removal of public distinctions between players on Test, white-ball and all-format deals. Test players are due to be available for up to three group games before the start of the South Africa series in mid-August and potentially the knockout stages in the first weekend of September.
Four out of the 20 centrally-contracted players - Moeen, Morgan, Roy and Adil Rashid - are considered white-ball specialists, meaning that they will continue to be paid through the draft mechanism, while the remaining 16 will either be retained or reallocated through a central contract draft. Some players, including James Anderson and Stuart Broad, will be given dispensation to miss the competition and be designated 'non-playing players'.
The order of picks in March's draft will be the reverse of the final standings for the 2021 season, meaning London Spirit will pick first in the first round and defending champions Southern Brave will pick last. Each team will have one 'right-to-match' option available in which they can re-sign a player who was contracted for 2021, so long as they have a free spot at the salary band offered to them by another team.
Australia and New Zealand players are expected to prove popular, with the majority of other major international teams due to play series during the Hundred's window. New Zealand are due to play three Tests in England in June before white-ball series in Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands in July and early August, while Australia have a window free between a tour of Sri Lanka and three early-season ODIs at home to Zimbabwe.
The wildcard draft will be held in July after the group stages of the T20 Blast, with each team picking one final squad member based on performances in that competition. As ESPNcricinfo revealed on Tuesday, the four-week window for the Hundred is due to start in early August, around two weeks later than in 2021.
Salaries for the women's competition are also expected to increase after a record-breaking first season, with Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive, promising "some good news" in August. The open-market system for retentions is expected to continue.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98