England all-rounder Chris Woakes has suggested that pay cuts for the country’s leading cricketers are still on the table.
The current inactivity caused by coronavirus has thrown up financial issues that Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has predicted could become “the biggest challenge in this history of the game”.
Harrison has volunteered a 25 per cent reduction in his salary as part of wider cost-saving measures, while similar plans are likely to come into effect throughout the county game.
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England’s centrally contracted players have not been directly asked to forego any of their lucrative deals, but they could yet come together to help support the wider game.
The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) and Team England Player Partnership represent players on a collective basis, and Woakes is happy to let them work towards a conclusion.
“It’s a tricky one, talking about finances and people’s wages, it can be a delicate subject,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.
“The PCA is our governing body [union] as players and they do a fantastic job for us. They’re looking after us as well as they can and trying to help the ECB through this. Those discussions are ongoing between the ECB and the PCA, and there’s every chance that might happen, but at the minute we haven’t been asked to take a pay cut.
“By no means does that mean it won’t happen in the future; we are likely to have to help the game get through this tough period. Time will tell.
“Those discussions are taking place. We’ve got a good governing body who will help us through this period but I’m sure it will come through to some sort of agreement.”
Woakes also praised his team-mate Jos Buttler, who this week took the decision to auction the shirt he wore during the closing stages of last summer’s World Cup final win to raise money for two London hospitals.
“It’s an incredible thing Jos has done, to give away one of his most valuable shirts,” he said.
“The price is already up at £65,000 upwards. Let’s hope it can get up to £100,000. The NHS are doing fantastic things at the moment. They’re the real heroes taking the brunt of this.”
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