The England and Wales Cricket Board announced central contracts for the men’s cricket team for the 2021/22 season on Friday. The ECB has awarded central retainers under a new system that doesn’t differentiate between red-ball and white-ball specialists.
The previous system, which was introduced in 2016 with the goal of winning the 2019 World Cup, allotted separate contracts to Test and white-ball specialists in addition to the all-format players.
Under the new system, the English board has awarded 20 annual retainers on a ‘single’ contract list.
Four increment and three pace bowling development contracts have also been awarded by the contracts awards panel, which includes England Cricket’s Managing Director, Ashley Giles and head coach + selector, Chris Silverwood. The ECB said in an official statement:
“The new system has been developed working in consultation with the players, Team England Player Partnership (TEPP) and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA). It is designed to meet England’s future needs in what has become a fluid and dynamic landscape. The system considers the likelihood of players featuring in England teams across formats in the next 12 months whilst also recognizing performances in the preceding year.”
The statement continued:
“Considerations were also agreed against a busy international schedule, made challenging by additional COVID-related constraints and taking into account the mental wellbeing and welfare of the players. In addition to the 20 Central Contracts, awards have been made for Increment Contracts and Pace Bowling Development Contracts. This structure recognizes players that may feature for England on a less predictable basis and supports developing and managing high potential pace bowlers across all formats.”
The 12-month annual retainers came into effect from October 1.
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All-rounder Ben Stokes has been included on the contract list despite him being unavailable for an indefinite period due to a finger injury and mental health issues.
Star pacer Jofra Archer is also part of the 20-member list. The Barbaros-born pacer hasn’t featured for England since March and is set to miss the upcoming T20 World Cup and the Ashes due to injury.
Meanwhile, discarded Test No. 3 Zak Crawley has managed to grab a contract while opener Dom Sibley has been dropped from the team.