Australian star-batsman David Warner has spoken openly about his feelings towards the big money now hitting cricket on such a scale that could impact upon a sport rich with tradition.
“The simple fact is that if the rebel league comes in and takes off, I don’t think there’s going to be Test cricket,” Warner commented recently.
The typically vocal Warner has tried to clearly reflect an honest opinion of the concerns that he and other players have about the privatisation of cricket in Australia and around the world. Warner fears only the countries that can support the financial bombardment of organisations like the rebel league will remain true to the traditional game.
” I think what they’re [Essel Group] talking about sum-wise it’s going to be hard for a lot of the minnow countries to say no,” Warner said.
David Warner and his Test cricket captain Michael Clarke have reportedly each been offered a massive $50 million contract over ten years to play in the rebel cricket league. The league is funded by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra and has many cricket fans around the world excited yet curious as to the demands on players.
Just as the Kerry Packer funded World Series Cricket did in 70’s, participation in the rebel league would almost certainly rule out players from any ICC sanctioned competitions such as the Ashes series.
“I don’t like pointing things at people, but say for instance in the NRL or NFL or NBA if someone puts out a couple of extra thousand dollars on the table … nine times out of 10 they do take that,” Warner told Sydney’s Sky Sports Radio on Monday morning, from London.
“It’s about being honest. You can’t rule it out, you can’t say no, because … we love playing the sport we do but we also love getting paid for what we do, so if we can be honest and up front [that it is better].”
Cricket Australia have offered longer deals to a greater number of players in response to the big money coming from other directions.
“We’ve got to deal with what’s out there,” commented Cricket Australia’s executive general manager of team performance Pat Howard. In an attempt to stem the issue in preparation for the Ashes series, Howard flew to London and held contract meetings with the nineteen 2015-16 squad members.