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England Test captain Ben Stokes turns down multi-year contract to sign year-long deal

Cricket

England Test captain Ben Stokes turns down multi-year contract to sign year-long deal


Ben Stokes declined the opportunity to sign a multi-year central contract with the England & Wales Cricket Board, while Harry Brook, Joe Root, and Mark Wood were handed three-year central contracts as part of a new multi-year system.

While these three agreed to three-year deals, 15 others have signed two-year contracts, introduced this year by the ECB to counter the attraction of white-ball franchises. An additional eight players, excluding Stokes, who can be described as older, injury-prone, or peripheral, have accepted one-year contracts. Ollie Robinson of Sussex, aged 29 and a Test regular with an average of 22.21, falls into this category.

Stokes is grappling with a persistent knee injury, but he serves as the Test captain, was part of the team that secured the T20 World Cup victory last year, and is currently competing in India for the 50-over format, making him a valuable asset for England in all formats. He has expressed his aspiration to continue leading his country beyond the upcoming Ashes series in Australia in 2025-26, despite acknowledging the inevitability of the end of his career at the age of 32. He stated last month, “Now that I’m 32, I’m very realistic that things will come to an end at some point, but I have my eyes set on something I want to be a part of for the next three to four years.”

“The system, which covers both red-ball and white-ball players, considers the likelihood of players featuring in England teams across formats over the next period while recognising performances in the preceding year,” the ECB said in a statement.

“Multi-year contracts have been awarded for the first time since central contracts were established in 2000.

“The ECB has worked closely with the Professional Cricketers’ Association and Team England Player Partnership on behalf of the players to reach an outcome for all parties.”

Brook is one of seven players who have been awarded central contracts for the first time. The other recipients of these initial central contracts are Rehan Ahmed, Gus Atkinson, Brydon Carse, Ben Duckett, Matthew Potts, and Josh Tongue, all of whom have secured two-year contracts.

“We are rewarding those players who we expect to make a significant impact over the coming years playing for England,” said Rob Key, managing director of England men’s cricket.

“It is great news and a credit to the players for demonstrating their commitment to English cricket in the ever-changing landscape of the sport.”

Published On:

Oct 24, 2023

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