Heath Mills demands changes in international cricket schedule

Kiwi FICA president Heath Mills called for a T20 franchise window and centrally run international schedule.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is holding its annual meeting in Dubai this weekend.
Mills believes that the bilateral program needs to be handed over to an independent party like the ICC.
The international cricket schedule has been disrupted due to the dire need for windows for Twenty20 franchise leagues.

Heath Mills demands

That’s the view of Kiwi Heath Mills, acting president of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations and chief executive of the NZ Cricket Players Association.

World cricket’s respective board chairmen and chief executives are attending the three-day International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai this weekend. International cricket’s “confusing” World Test Championship and disorganized schedule needed to be addressed, Mills said.

“The core problem is the schedule and the reluctance of all boards to come together and agree on a centrally run schedule that makes sense to everyone.

“Ultimately if they want to grow Test cricket, we need an annual Test Championship that makes sense to the fans and followers of the game and even to the many participants, where there is a balanced schedule.”

Mills demanded a dedicated T20 franchise league window at the annual international event. By doing this, some of the problems associated with players choosing to play in lucrative T20 leagues rather than representing their country will be solved.

He said that to do this, the respective international cricket boards need to hand over control of the bilateral schedule to an independent party like the ICC.

This means that some boards will not be able to play certain series, and sometimes historical series, as scheduled. Everyone has to make compromises to create a collective system that works.

“It all comes back to the schedule. There could be an international sporting event with a window for T20, or a clear window for international and Test cricket.

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“As long as boards insist on doing their own thing and negotiating independently of each other across all these series, we will continue to have this mess.”
Mills pointed to the 2021-23 edition of the World Test Championship, in which England played 22 matches compared to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, who played 12 matches each.

While the standings were ordered by percentage of points won rather than total points, it was still ambiguous because not every team played the same opponent. Some Test series were played over one or two matches, and others over five.

“Nobody I talk to can understand how the Test Championship works. “This is a fundamental point and boards need to put their hands up and take notice.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australia and England will push to establish minimum Test match pay for all male cricketers at the ICC meeting.

The international benchmark is expected to be set at Australian Test fees of around $A20,000 ($NZ21,500) per match as a starting point, to make Test cricket more attractive to current and future generations of players. Can go because there is danger from T20 league. Red ball game.

The minimum rate could go as high as $A27,000 ($NZ29,000) which players representing India currently earn.

Mills was encouraged to see that there were discussions on how the Test game could be improved, but was unsure where the money would come from. He wondered whether the proposed payment would include countries like Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland, which play only sporadic Tests.
“The ICC, its money is generated from its white ball events and it has already been distributed to boards around the world.

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“Where is the money going to come from? Is that something that English cricket and Australian cricket are going to help fund and I would be surprised if that were the case and their stakeholders would be happy with it.

New Zealand’s Test cricketers are paid $10,500 per match. NZC also has a central contract list of 20 players. Last season, the top-ranked Black Caps received a maximum of $523,396, the 10th-ranked player $444,196 and the 20th-ranked player $367,196.

Mills felt that NZC’s collective agreement was one of the best in the world, as it allowed players to take advantage of opportunities for T20 franchises outside the Black Caps.

Trent Boult controversially opted out of his central contract in August 2022 to allow himself to play in T20 competitions around the world and spend more time with his family. He has not played a Test since and is unlikely to play again, but has featured in top World Cup events and the recent T20 series against Australia.

Boult had earned the right to opt out of his national contract at the end of his career.

The cricket landscape was constantly evolving and Mills said NZC had to remain flexible in terms of contracts, especially with the Black Caps.

“We may see some more players opt for the casual playing agreement, but ultimately I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

“The game is growing. The game is growing globally, so we are not going to change it. So we need to find a way to co-exist with our contract system and, where appropriate and right, allow players to go abroad to increase their earnings.”

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