Players able to move teams prior to next summer's postponed Hundred

Tim Wigmore
·2 min read
There will also be new salary bands for the men's competition - PA
There will also be new salary bands for the men's competition - PA

England’s top players may switch teams before the inaugural season of the Hundred begins next year.

At the Hundred draft last October, each of the eight sides received one centrally contracted player. But with the contracts changing every year, teams who drafted someone who does not retain his – as is likely to be the case with Jonny Bairstow, recruited by Welsh Fire – face having to negotiate with the player or risk losing him to another side.

The 10 Kolpak cricketers included will have to sign as overseas players – replacing overseas players already signed – or face losing their berths. Kolpaks will not be permitted in English cricket after the 2020 season. The England and Wales Cricket Board has decided against an increase in overseas players from three per team. This will increase opportunities for young English talent.

The ECB has decided that teams can retain as many players as they like during a window that will run from next month until January, but teams who may not have been happy with their drafts will not be obliged to retain any players.

The ECB confirmed the new salary bands. They all involve a reduction of 20 per cent – the top band is down from £125,000 to £100,000. The changes should save the ECB £1.6 million a year.

As players will be free to renegotiate contracts, some may attempt to re-enter the slimmed-down draft – which will take place early next year. For instance, Dawid Malan was signed for £40,000 but, as the top-ranked Twenty20 batsman in the world, would now hope to be signed much earlier than a team’s 11th pick, as he was for Trent Rockets.

Another complication will be players who earn central contracts but did not previously have them. For instance, Zak Crawley was signed by London Spirit for £40,000 in the draft, but will be in England’s next batch of central contracts. This will mean that London Spirit have to decide which centrally contracted player – either Crawley or Rory Burns – they retain.

During the draft itself, teams will have a “right to match” option, allowing them to retain players contracted for 2020, but released into the 2021 draft, for the same price as a new team signs them should they have an available slot at that salary band.

In the women’s competition, teams will be able to rollover their 2020 contracts for all players. Any not retained will then be signed in an open-market system.