Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara has called for a minimum match fee to be introduced for Test cricketers from all nations in order to ensure the future generations have an interest in the format.
While it is no secret that Test cricket is on the decline due to the lucrative contracts on offer in global Twenty20 competitions, Sangakkara does not want to be the flame of the classic format fizzle out.
While the 40-year-old, who is currently playing in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz, admitted that Twenty20 cricket has spread the sport to numerous countries, he insisted that Test cricket cannot be shunned and ignored.
“T20 is the ideal format to introduce — you talk about the Americas, with China,” Sangakkara told AFP. “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. 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?”
In order to put Sangakkara’s comments into perspective, ESPNcricinfo conducted a survey last year that showed Australia captain Steve Smith was set to earn $1,469,000 in 2017. However, Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer was on track to earn just $86,000.
Given the vast difference in match payments for international cricketers from different countries, many of them flock to domestic Twenty20 competitions in search of a massive payday.
However, Sanagakkara feels that by offering the same minimum match fee for all cricketers that feature in Test matches, it will not only be beneficial for the players, but for the format as well.
“We need to understand what Test cricket means to players and what it is to fans,” he said. “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 honour of representing their country be it in Test, one-dayers or T20 cricket, it’s still the pinnacle of the game.”