Support Suggests, The Minimum Wage Is To Stop Kolpak-T20-exodus > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Holder suggests minimum wage to stop Kolpak-T20 exodus

"Personally I have had a few conversations with people at FICA, they are doing a hell of a job trying to get a level playing field for everyone." - Holder

West Indies captain Jason Holder believes a minimum wage needs to be implemented for cricketers at the top level to prevent further players heading down the Kolpak or T20 franchise routes. This week, fast-bowler Duanne Olivier joined the list of those players turning their back on international cricket by signing a contract to play county cricket for Yorkshire despite recently having established himself as a mainstay in the South African squad. It is a move which effectively ends his international career.

Olivier is not the first player to decide to take the Kolpak route - county cricket is now littered with such players - but whereas some, such as the likes of Morne Morkel, who is playing for Surrey, are at the end of their careers, others, such as Olivier and Kyle Abbot, who moved to Hampshire two seasons ago, are choosing this option when still in their prime. It is a similar story on the T20 franchise circuit which is increasingly enticing players away from playing for their countries. West Indies have been particularly hard hit in that regard.

The disparity between income for players in the best paid countries, which include England and India, and the worst paid, including West Indies, has many causes but the effect is increasingly obvious. The countries who cannot afford to pay their players enough will continue to lose them to other opportunities unless something is done to address the disparity. It is the loss to the international game of the players at the peak of their powers which particularly concerns Holder and he thinks it risks the credibility and quality of the game at the top level.

"It's really sad to see another quality player lost to Kolpak cricket," he said. "Until something is properly done to keep players a little bit more grounded financially I don't know how much longer you can continue putting up the front. People still want to see international cricket being at the forefront."

Holder has held discussions with the Federation of International Cricketers Associations who represent all the individual players' unions to attempt to find a way of keeping players in the international game for as long as possible. "I just think, going forward, we need to find a way to keep players playing for their country so we can have an attractive product," Holder said. "Probably the ICC and FICA needs to get together and institute a substantial minimum salary so that players will feel comfortable coming home to represent their country.

"Test cricket is something that has picked up in the last year and a half. West Indies beating England; Sri Lanka beating South Africa: these are significant things. These can continue to spark Test cricket. There's so much prestige behind it and so much work behind it. I can only hope we can find some common ground where players are properly compensated and encouraged to play Test cricket as opposed to running off to domestic leagues.

"Personally I have had a few conversations with people at FICA, they are doing a hell of a job trying to get a level playing field for everyone. I don't know if we'll get there as soon as we like but hopefully in the not too distant future we can find common ground where players are playing for their countries and also have time to play in domestic leagues."

There have been numerous suggestions touted as the way to resolve the player drain away from international cricket. This has included limiting the amount of T20 tournaments players can play in a year and creating separate windows for T20 competitions and international cricket. A minimum wage for international players is another but Tony Irish, executive chairman of FICA, acknowledges that it is a complex issue.

"I agree that it is sad when a player such at Duanne is lost to international cricket but one also has to understand that the Kolpak situation is similar to the issue of free agency in cricket," he told Press Association Sport. "In both, a player is free to exercise a choice as to where and how he plies his trade. Players are often blamed for the choices they make but the system is set up to allow those choices.

"Jason's suggestion of minimum match fees for international cricket would assist the situation and may just be one component. There isn't one simple solution, and it's not always only financial, but ensuring that players are incentivised to continue to play international cricket is certainly part of it."

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