Jason Holder has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reciprocate West Indies’ gesture over the last 51 days by touring the Caribbean before the year is out.
The visiting captain was speaking after his side had been defeated in the third Test by 269 runs, a victory that gave England a 2-1 series win. The matches, hosted at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford, were played in bio-secure environments at great expense, including chartering a flight to the tune of £500,000 to get the West Indies over for the series that was postponed from 4 June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the series showed that international cricket can be played in these uncertain times, the outlay highlighted the vast difference in resources the ECB are able to call on. These matches, along with the ODI series against Ireland later this week, the Pakistan Test and T20I series against Australia later this summer, are with a view to salvaging £280 million that the ECB could lose out on as part of their broadcast deal for 2020.
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These are sums unfathomable to the likes of Cricket West Indies (CWI), whose players accepted a 50 percent pay cut before travelling to the UK. As such, playing cricket under these restrictions, which were aided by onsite hotels in Southampton and Manchester, cannot be replicated in regions with fewer resources to call on, like West Indies.
Holder, who has worn West Indies’ issues on his shoulders with distinction since becoming captain in 2015, called on the ECB to tour and help to boost their finances during these testing times.
“I was speaking to our chief executive, Johnny Grave, who highlighted that we really only make money from playing England and India. Maybe we break even with Australia and Pakistan. But we lose money against other teams.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen after this series with the international calendar, but if there is an opportunity for England to come over to the Caribbean before the end of the year that would help significantly. It’s been a tough last few years for us financially pretty much, and we’ve taken a pay cut due to the circumstances. A tour hopefully, if it is possible before the end of 2020, would help keep us afloat.”
Prior to the tour, the ECB gave CWI a loan of around £2.4m after the CWI had asked the International Cricket Council for emergency funds to help them cope with the effects of Covid-19. That has now been repaid.
This period has shone a light on the financial disparity between the 12 Test playing nations, especially the fact that the hosting board receives all broadcast revenues.
Holder, who together with CWI chief executive Grave has championed the idea of a revenue-sharing model to help out the less advantaged nations, reiterated his stance on Tuesday.
“Now more than ever highlights the differences in finances. England get a huge chunk of money, Australia do too and India are a powerhouse. Outside those top three, the rest struggle. We’re having difficulty funding our cricket, our A team, our development programmes.
“It is definitely something that needs to be looked at by the powers that be,” answered Holder when asked about revenue sharing. If something doesn’t happen soon enough, we’ll see less international cricket played by the so-called smaller countries.”