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A number of English cricketers are reportedly fuming that a group of leading executives are set to share a £2.1 million (AU$4m) payout after players were forced to take a paycut last year.
As revealed by The Guardian on Monday, leading executives such as Tom Harrison and Sanjay Patel will share the enormous payout as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board's 'long term incentive plan'.
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But it comes less than a year after ECB-contracted players took a 15 per cent pay cut and the organisation axed 62 jobs (20 per cent of its workforce) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harrison said at the time: “The entire cricket network has pulled together to get us through this challenge so far and overcoming it will mean continuing to make tough decisions.”
A former ECB staffer tweeted that the decision makes him “feel pretty sick”, labelling it “absolutely shameful”.
the role I was previously in at the ECB was made redundant so to see this makes me feel pretty sick. can’t remember the exact number but think it was around 50 people lost their jobs; absolutely shameful https://t.co/bFg5xK0P47
— harryfre (@harryfremantle) August 23, 2021
Like many other county cricket fans, I donated my membership fees last year to help out. Also donated a similar to my local club to help them. Shouldn't any surplus this year be ploughed back into the sport?
— Simon Hancock (@simonhancock_uk) August 23, 2021
— Huw Turbervill (@huwzat) August 23, 2021
It's not cricket. It's the world the country keeps voting for.
— David Hopps (@DavidKHopps) August 24, 2021
Shocking. Not the best timing and caught in the slips. #Pompusarses.
— Richie Mc 🏴 (@muckie1) August 24, 2021
Players question payout for executives despite cuts
Domestic players also forfeited £1m in prize money last year, while centrally-contracted male players made a collective £500,000 wage donation at the beginning of the pandemic.
One unnamed England player told The Guardian it felt like senior administrators have “looked after themselves”.
The payout is said to be a "retention tool for key senior leaders", but it is being reported as reward for staging the inaugural Hundred tournament.
A county cricket executive told Sportsmail that “everybody knew it was solely to do with the Hundred”.
“It was to the extent where it was causing quite a lot of issues within the ECB about who was included in the LTIP and who wasn’t,” they said.
“The issue in the wider county game is that people were promised big bonuses to put the Hundred first at the expense of everything else.
"As a result of that you get one-eyed decision-making.”
ECB chairman Ian Watmore said Harrison and senior executives were “among the first” to take pay cuts last year.
England's men's team are currently in the midst of a Test series in India, skittling the tourists for just 78 on the opening day of the third Test.
The hosts then responding with 120 for no loss to completely dominate the opening three sessions of the Test at Headingley.
Jimmy Anderson wrecked India's top order with a three-wicket burst on Wednesday before Craig Overton and Sam Curran mowed down the tail to bundle out the tourists inside two sessions.
Haseeb Hameed (60) then put on the team's highest opening stand of the summer, an unbroken century partnership with Rory Burns (52), as England had a day they could hardly have dreamed of.
It was just the fifth time in Test history that England's openers had overtaken their opposition's total in the first innings as they built up a 42-run lead.
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