Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has dismissed the notion that players are paid “pittance” by the board but said the emergence of even more franchise leagues meant an increase in economic opportunities for them.
Speaking to former England Test captains Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, Grave said CWI was actively seeking “balance and compromise” with players, in order to ensure full-strength sides were selected for its Future Tours Program obligations.
“We do pay our players very, very well. I think there is a perception in the world that we pay them pittance,” Grave asserted.
“Most of our top international players, when you include and factor in Caribbean Premier League contracts, they’re probably earning half a million US dollars a year, so it’s not like they’re playing for us for free.
“But the challenges exist and we like all the boards are fighting to find the balance and the compromise and at times, like we did with this tour, we can’t compromise.”
It is a World Test Championship obligation. “We acknowledge it clashes with other lucrative leagues and we accept and respect that the players have that choice.”
Grave said CWI had made an arrangement with its players, which would see a window created to allow their availability, not only for the IPL, but for the domestic Caribbean Premier League.
However, Grave noted that with even more nations launching franchise leagues in recent years, it was proving difficult for CWI to “create the perfect window.”
“The first year that I joined in 2017, we played Pakistan in the IPL window and obviously their players were all available because they don’t play in the IPL,” Grave explained.
“And then we played England in the CPL window, so players had to effectively give up both earning opportunities, which was never going to be sustainable.
“So pretty obviously we agreed very quickly with all the players that we would give them an exclusive window for the IPL and for the Caribbean Premier League, which was in our own interests to do so.”
He continued, “The earning opportunities now particularly January and February with four leagues going up against each other for overseas players, have increased. You’ve got the ILT20 in the UAE, you’ve got the SA20 in South Africa, you’ve got the Big Bash finishing and the Bangladesh Premier League going on. ”
“Unfortunately at this stage with the Future Tours Program set, we can’t always create the perfect window for them to go and do that and still represent the West Indies.
“It’s about balance and compromise and hopefully in the next cycle of ICC events we can get a better schedule for both the boards and also the players.”