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England stars unhappy at bonuses for cricket chiefs

T

ensions between ECB executives and the England men’s team are rising over bonus payments and the touring conditions for this winter’s Ashes tour.

England’s Third Test against India began today against a complicated backdrop, with uncertainty over their calendar this winter.

England players have been left unimpressed by the revelation in the Guardian that a number of ECB executives — including CEO Tom Harrison and the Hundred’s Managing Director Sanjay Patel — are set to receive six-figure bonuses next year, despite financial difficulties across the game.

This is the maturation of the board’s five-year Long Term Incentive Plan and effectively amounts to a bonus for the successful delivery of the ECB’s new competition, the Hundred, which finished its first season on Saturday.

The ECB made 62 redundancies last year, mostly to lower-paid workers, making the bonuses a source of resentment among staff at the governing body. That frustration extends to the England men’s players, who saw their own win bonus structures slashed in half last year due to the pandemic.

The Ashes situation is more complicated. England are due to have a busy winter, with the T20 World Cup in the UAE just before the Ashes, which are due to start on December 8 in Brisbane.

Players met Harrison and the ECB again this week to discuss travel to Australia, a country that is behind the rest of the developed world on its vaccine rollout and is largely back in lockdown. Having spent much of the past 15 months in bubbles of varying degrees of stringency, England players are extremely weary of being confined to their hotels.

Jos Buttler, whose wife is set to give birth to their second child next month, told the Sunday Times this week that he could miss the tour.

“One of the challenges is working out where the line is where you say I can’t do that,” he said. “I’ve sacrificed a lot for cricket and my wife and family have sacrificed a lot.

“You have to be open to saying no. It would be incredibly disappointing if some players feel like they can’t do it, but we’re in a world at the moment where that is a possibility.”

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