Australia batter Usman Khawaja has admitted that he would have stopped playing Test cricket by now, had he been asked to play for inferior wages by the board of any other cricketing nation. Ever since South Africa announced their squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand, several former cricketers have raised concerns over the future of the ‘purest format of the game’. For context, Proteas have named a second string squad for the two match Test series against the Kiwis. Uncapped batter Neil Brand is set to lead out the South African team, consisting of just three players from the ongoing Test series against India.
Khawaja, on the feedback of colleagues from other teams, has admitted that some of the countries pay less to Test cricketers.
“In my personal opinion, unfortunately the issue is that some of the other countries aren’t getting paid as well for playing international cricket. That’s just the raw facts. I know this because I’ve talked to players from other nations, I’ve asked them what their average salary is, what their match contracts are for their countries,” Khawaja told Fox Cricket, as quoted by Sydney Morning Herald.
Khawaja also confessed that he would’ve picked franchise over Test cricket, had he been playing cricket for countries offering less wages. He added that the players pick franchise cricket to secure the future of their family, and the decision has nothing to do with passion.
“If I was a player from another nation and getting paid ok to play international cricket, I’m getting paid a truckload more to play T20 cricket, I’m sorry but I’m going to be playing the T20 cricket. Not because it doesn’t mean anything – I love playing for my country, but it is also a case of looking after your family, doing things right. If two people get paid to do the same job and you’re getting paid twice as much at one firm and half at the other firm, you’re going to pick the one you’re getting paid [more] for,” he added.
In order to save Test cricket, former Australia captain Steve Waugh has vouched for a universal match fee for all players taking part in Test cricket.
Khawaja echoed Waugh’s sentiments, but felt that would be possible only if the cricket boards provide more “transparency”, as far as the cashflow is concerned
“We’ve got to figure out a way for them [other countries] to be incentivised to play international and particularly Test cricket. That requires transparency from all cricket boards around the world to try to figure out how to pay the players the best way they can,” he concluded.
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