The cricketing ecosystem has changed from how it used to be a decade ago. Ever since the introduction of T20 cricket, there has been an evolution in the way the game is played. After the T20 internationals came the T20 leagues and things changed from thereon. While there were only a few leagues ten years ago, there are almost uncountable T20 leagues taking place over the year.
As every T20 league wants to reach the levels the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Big Bash League (BBL) have reached, they look to rope in popular names in the cricketing fraternity. But it’s not possible for players to play across leagues for 12 months consistently while also representing their respective countries. So, it comes down to making a choice and as per the latest survey, modern-day cricketers have made a clear choice.
In a survey report released by FICA (Federation of International Cricketers' Associations), it has been revealed that 49 per cent of cricketers would choose T20 league contracts over their national contracts. Also, only 54 per cent of cricketers consider ODI World Cup as a pinnacle ICC event. The number has come down from 86% in 2018/19.
"49 per cent would consider rejecting a central contract if they were paid more to play in domestic leagues,” the FICA report stated. "54 per cent still consider the 50 over World Cup as the pinnacle ICC event, although this has reduced significantly from 86 per cent in the 2018/19 FICA survey," the report added.
The FICA, in its report, has segregated the current employment scenario of cricketers into three distinct categories --- Traditional market, Hybrid market, Free Agency Market.
The division of percentage is 18% in the traditional market which is about players having primary home domestic/international contracts. The Hybrid Market, which involves primary home domestic/international contracts as well as overseas domestic contracts (T20 leagues, county), has 42 per cent cricketers while the most alarming rate of increase is the Free Agency market which constitutes 40 per cent.
Interestingly, the inference drawn from the trend is that the traditional market only constitutes Indian players as they are not allowed to play overseas T20 leagues.
(Note: Indian players were not part of this survey as the Indian players' body is not under the aegis of FICA).