T20 League Windfall Puts Pressure on Domestic Cricket

Greenberg notes the mounting pressure on domestic systems, citing Spencer Johnson’s INR 10 crore deal with Gujarat Titans at the IPL 2024 Auction on December 19 in Dubai, highlighting the shift in players’ priorities…reports Asian Lite News

Todd Greenberg, CEO of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, believes that the increase in earning opportunities for players from the franchise T20 leagues circuit will put more pressure on domestic and bilateral cricket systems.

“We’re certainly looking well in advance of where we are now and trying to predict what that looks like, the hard thing to do is if we go back 10 years we never would have predicted where we sit right now.”

“I’d love to tell you I’ve got that crystal ball, but what I can say with some certainty is the T20 leagues around the world are growing, they’re growing commercially and they’ve got much more private investment in them than they’ve ever had, which means that earning opportunities for players will increase which will put more pressure on the system domestically here and will put more pressure on bilateral cricket here,” said Greenberg on SEN Radio.

To strengthen his case, Greenberg also gave the example of South Africa potentially sending a weakened team for two Tests tour of New Zealand due to its clash with SA20 season two. “When I say here, I don’t just mean in Australia, I mean every competing nation in world cricket. We’ve already seen the West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa being challenged by this and I saw recently South African cricket were telling their players not to tour in a Test match series in New Zealand, but to stay and play T20 cricket.”

“If I’d said that to you 10 years ago you would have laughed me out of the room, but that’s happening today. So I don’t think that we can turn our attention away from that and think it won’t happen here because it will, in my view, it’s a matter of when.”

To add more into how domestic systems come under pressure, Greenberg cited Australia pacer Spencer Johnson’s INR 10 crore deal with Gujarat Titans at the IPL 2024 Player Auction on December 19 in Dubai, saying that the priorities for players will change in this way.

“It’s enormous. The numbers are enormous but as you’ve just articulated nicely, the numbers are enormous to what you can earn domestically. Whilst we’re really pleased for players to do that, it puts huge pressure on the domestic system, it puts the pressure on boards – both here and abroad – to continue the traditional bilateral concept of cricket where players will commit to it.”

“We’re in an era now where all of our best players want to play red-ball cricket, they want to wear a Baggy Green, male and female by the way. We can’t take that for granted though because the next generation of player probably won’t think like that. I think that’s a real challenge and that challenge is upon us right now in my view. We’ve got to make sure we understand those challenges and compete because it’s getting away from us.”

Greenberg also recalled a meeting he had in England, which made him realise that one has to embrace the change quickly in the cricketing ecosystem. “I’ll share this with you. When I was in the Ashes in the UK I spent some time with a gentleman who is my counterpart in the EPL, his name is Maheta Molango (Professional Footballers’ Association CEO). (He) doesn’t know anything about cricket, but he’s responsible for the players who play in the Premier League.”

“Now, his first question to me was, ‘how long are you here for, how long are your players here for?’ When I explained the length of time we were at the Ashes, the next question was, he said, ‘geez, their clubs will be unhappy about that, being released to their countries for that long’.”

“When I tried to explain to him that they were actually here being centrally contracted from their countries, he basically said to me, ‘well, that’s not going to last much longer’. Now that’s from someone who’s completely outside the sport who lives in a very different world, these are hard things to talk about, potentially for people who have been entrenched in cricket their whole life and have seen it in one way.”

“But my view is we’ve got to embrace change and we’ve got to be prepared to talk about it because it’s coming. It might not be the terrible demise of the game that some people think, it might actually be a growth opportunity for the game if we get it right. I still want our players playing for their country, but it might just be in a different way.”

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