Kumar Sangakkara calls for minimum pay in order to boost youth interest in Test cricket

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Kumar Sangakkara calls for minimum pay in order to boost youth interest in Test cricket

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SportsCafe Desk


Kumar Sangakkara has voiced his concern over the disparity of pay across the three formats of cricket and called for a minimum pay blanket to be introduced in the Test format. The Sri Lankan, however, praised the T20 format for increasing the popularity in countries like UAE, China amongst others.

When the fifth-highest run-getter in the history of Test cricket talks, you need to listen, and former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said a lot in a recent interview with AFP. Sangakkara, hung up his boots from the first-class cricket last year but has continued to participate in domestic T20 franchises around the world, which included this week's Hong Kong’s T20 Blitz tournament.

Sangakkara, who was captain of the team that made it to the 2011 ICC World Cup final versus India, believes that although the shorter format of the game is a popular choice to market the sport of cricket in countries where it isn’t played much, it is very important to preserve the Test format by matching the pay grade offered by T20 matches as he called for a minimum pay to be introduced for Test matches.

"T20 is the ideal format to introduce -- you talk about the Americas, with China. Since its inception it's been a huge pillar of strength for world cricket.But there are a few negatives ... a lot of young players taking up T20 instead of playing international cricket," Sangakkara said.

"There are various things that have been discussed, about parity of pay, especially when it comes to match fees for Test cricket. Shouldn't there be a blanket minimum pay for Test cricketers? The top countries are being paid a certain Test match fee -- shouldn't that be reflected all throughout the Test-playing countries?" 

At present, international match fees paid to cricketers from different Test nations vary considerably, with cricket’s so-called "Big Three" - India, England and Australia - imbursed handsomely as compared to the rest. According to a survey conducted in 2017 by ESPN Cricinfo, Australian captain Steven Smith was set to earn $1,469,000 in 2017 while Zimbabwean skipper Graeme Cremer took home just $86,000.

With popular tournaments like the IPL and the Big Bash League drawing loads of attention across the globe, players from associate countries jump at the chance of playing for franchises in leagues like these in order to make a quick buck. Similar T20 leagues have also sprung up in the UAE, West Indies, Bangladesh, and Hong Kong as well.

"The MCC world cricket committee promoted calls for wage reform at its annual meeting last month in a bid to keep the spirit of Test cricket alive. Fans along with players need to be canvased on the changes required to keep Test cricket as the sport's epitome, including day-night and four-day Tests," said Sangakkara.

"We need to understand what Test cricket means to players and what it is to fans.Relevance in sport is so important in terms of not just growing the sport but also sustaining it. I think international cricket is very strong still. For any player, I think the honor of representing their country be it in Test, one-dayers or T20 cricket, it's still the pinnacle of the game."

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