The importance of international tournaments has seen a rise over the past few years, and of late, this has called into question the sustainability of one-day cricket. It was also mentioned in the recent annual report by FICA which suggested international cricketers apart from India, reject central contracts for their own country to become independent agents for T20 tournaments across the world.
It should be noted that the body of Indian players is not under the auspices of FICA whose sample survey does not include Indian cricketers.
According to FICA’s annual report, “49% would consider turning down a central contract if they were paid more to play in domestic leagues”.
This has come to light at a time when controversy has been raging over the importance of ODI cricket. So the report indicates that there has been a significant decrease in the percentage of cricketers who still believe ODI Globalism The Cup is the most important event in the ICC calendar.
“54% still consider the 50 years over the course of the World Cup to be the pinnacle of an ICC event, although this has fallen significantly from 86% in the FICA 2018/19 survey,” the report stated.
FICA, in its report, divided the current employment scenario for cricketers into three distinct categories – the traditional market, the hybrid market, and the free agency market.
The percentage split is 18% in the traditional market which relates to players with underlying domestic/international contracts. The hybrid market, which includes a primary domestic/international contract as well as an overseas domestic contract (T20 leagues, county), has 42% of cricketers while the most worrying rate of increase is the free agency market which makes up 40 per cent.
The free agency market only includes multiple domestic and foreign contracts (a country’s own T20 league as well as other T20 leagues around the world).
Interestingly, the conclusion drawn from this trend is that the traditional market constitutes only Indian players as they are not allowed to play overseas T20 tournaments.
“An increasing trend is for players to move towards mixed or free agent status, with 82% of the top 100 T20 Player Index players now in this category. 40% of the world’s best T20 players now do not have a central contract with the top nine Nations in Cricket”.
“Most of the best players in the world are now in hybrid/free agency markets. The percentages shown above reflect only central/nationally contracted players who appear in the top 100 in the T20 Player Index. All 18% are ‘traditional market’ players Almost from India, which highlights the restrictions on these players that prevent participation in overseas domestic leagues.”
Huge difference in international cricket exposure. The report stated that countries ranked between 1-9 in the ICC list played 81.5 days of international cricket in 2021 while countries ranked between 10-20 played an average of 21.5 days.
There were 485 international matches in 2021 alone, up 195 from the 290 matches played in 2020 due to COVID-19 but still far short of the 522 matches played worldwide in 2019.
Mohammad Rizwan’s 80 calendar days in 2021 achieved the highest international workload in cricket, while Rishabh Pant with 75 was the highest among Indians. And in between, there’s Joe Root with 78 days of cricket in 2021.
(with PTI input)