David Warner might become first example of playing for match fee over contract, suggests Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist expressed concern over BBL's anticipated loss of David Warner to other leagues|
Adam Gilchrist explained in detail the possible consequences of David Warner abandoning his home country's T20 league to go and compete in other tournaments, suggesting he might end up playing for Australia on a match-to-match basis. He went on to state Warner had earned such discretion for himself.
With the upcoming ICC Future Tours Programme rumoured to have sizable windows for different T20 franchise competitions over the year, the spotlight on these tournaments around the world has only increased. The headlines are currently featuring the new South African T20 League and the UAE T20 league, both of which are scheduled to hold their first editions across the first two months of 2023.
A large number of English and Caribbean players have already announced their intentions to play in either tournament, handing them an impressive status on the global forum. However, their introduction has put at risk the commercial success of Australia's Big Bash League, which completed its 11th edition earlier this year. The BBL is expected to return in December this year and will run well into the next year. This has provoked recent reports of star opener David Warner contemplating skipping his home competition for one of the two new leagues. Legendary wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist has explained what the culmination of such a move could be.
"This is the big kicker, isn't it, of possibly the step towards being contracted to club before or over country for the predominant amount of cricket you play. I think it would almost be commercial suicide for them to allow a player like him to go head-to-head up against their own competition. They can't force David Warner to play in the BBL. I understand that. But to let him then go off, or another player, let's not just single out Warner, because there will be other players on the radar, it's all part of this, I guess, global dominance that these IPL franchises are starting to create," he said on SEN Radio as reported by ESPN.
Warner is largely considered to be one of the greatest batsmen in T20s ever, having tallied nearly 13,000 runs in the format. Over 2,500 of those have come for Australia, for whom he also has 5,610 runs in ODIs along with 7,817 runs while wearing the baggy green. According to Gilchrist, such accolades have earned him the freedom to choose whatever's best for his future without much speculation from the Australian cricketing authorities.
"David Warner, again using him as an example, we can't question his commitment to Australian cricket over the years. He's carved out one of the great careers. So if he rides off into the sunset and says, 'sorry Australian cricket, I'm finished, I'm just going to become a gun for hire for my Indian franchise team in various tournaments', you can't question him on that. That's his prerogative and he's done everything he needs to, to get the profile and get that sort of market value. It's the new younger player that comes in and starts to make those noises where it will be really challenging," he explained.
There have been suggestions by various experts lately of a cricketing structure where players are primarily contracted by clubs while still representing their nations on a match to match basis, similar to club football. Gilchrist feels Warner might become the sport's first stereotype for such an experiment.
"Perhaps it is the first example where David Warner doesn't sign a contract with Cricket Australia at all, he just plays for a match fee. He goes and plays whatever he wants but says, 'I'm available for every Test match, for every one-day international, every T20 international' by way of example. 'I'll be there for you in national colours, but other than that I'm going to play my club, my franchise cricket wherever I want to', knowing that none of those big tournaments will be clashing with international cricket. That might be an opportunity to explore that and see how it looks. It's a tough one," he expressed.