As Australia looks set to capture the third test of the Ashes series, it is as good a time as any to look at how well they are compensated.
The Australian Cricketer’s Association (ACA) and Cricket Australia (CA) negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last year. Under the terms of the agreement players are entitled to roughly 24.5-27% of all player generated revenue. State cricket and Big Bash League (BBL) contracts also fall under the scope of the CA CBA.
There are currently 20 players contracted to Cricket Australia. This is a reduction from 25 in the previous CBA. Each contracted player has a base salary of a minimum of $230,000. The highest paid player is Michael Clarke, on a contract worth $2 million, not including a bonus for being captain. On top of the base salary, cricketers are paid a match fee, that being $14000 per Test Match, $5600 for a One Day International and $4200 for a Twenty20 International. Non-CA contracted players can still compete in international matches, as Steve Smith has shown. Players without a CA contract can be upgraded during the year to be held on retainer, for a contract of $190,000. A player on a CA contract who is named in a squad but not selected for he match is still entitled to a portion of the match fee.
At a state level, there are up to 25 players contracted per state. The minimum base salary for a state cricketer is $50,000, with the maximum being $150,000. Like national matches, the cricketers receive a match fee, and while figures aren’t reported, a rough estimate would around a third of the national fee.
In terms of the BBL, each team has a salary cap of $1 million to pay 18 players. This pales in comparison to the $9 million cap in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The minimum salary is $20,000 with no maximum. Chris Gayle recently played a season for $250,000. It would be likely that an increase in the salary cap will happen next season as CA received nearly double what they were expecting for TV rights.
It is quite conceivable that a player can hold 3 contracts within Australia. Add in the possibilities of contracts in the IPL and County Cricket in England and it can be quite a minefield for agents. With that in mind, CA made it a rule under the latest CBA that all agents negotiating Australian contracts must gain accreditation. Some of the big agencies in Australian cricket include Elite Sports Properties, DSEG and Essentially Group. While there is no maximum commission an agent can earn on a contract, it is understood the fee would be between 4-10%.
Cricketers can make just as much off the field as do on it. CA has a relatively loose policy when it comes to sponsorship and endorsements in comparison to other codes. These can include bat and footwear sponsors. Michael Clarke, who was angling for a new bat sponsor, famously played a test with a blank bat. Shortly after he signed a 5 year, $3 million deal with Spartan. Ricky Ponting was synonymous with a host of endorsements, as the former captain had a very strong connection with the Australian public. Many players have a strong international presence, thanks largely to the game being played internationally. Mitchell Johnson, hot off the heels of a strong Ashes series, has recently signed with an agent in India to explore opportunities.