Thatscricket- Cricket News - UCBSA looks at cost cutting measures

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2001, 19:15 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The days of huge fees and guaranteed employment for South African cricketers at the provincial level may soon be over. The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) is reported to be looking at ways of reducing the huge costs in domestic cricket which has seen a number of provincial structures battling to make ends meet in recent months.UCBSA treasurer John Blair told the daily 'Sportsday' it was clear the system currently being used could not continue for much longer. There was a view that players were being paid far too much despite games being played in front of rapidly dwindling crowds.The revelation by the paper that central to the UCBSA discussions will be the reduction in professional contracts from 17 per province to a number nearer four or five per province has caused a stir in cricket circles here.There is also some concern about reports that the number of first-class cricket provinces would be reduced from 11 to 6.But UCBSA communications manager Bronwyn Wilkinson said she could not comment on these matters as the council of the UCBSA will have its first meeting for the year on January 27 and she did not know what was on the agenda.A Gauteng cricket source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told 'Sportsday' that costs of maintaining players on their staff alone came to about 1.5 million rands annually. "Extrapolate that to 11 provinces and you are looking at an enormous amount of money," said the source. "It is ridiculous when you think that two-thirds of the cricketers under contract wouldn't be good enough for contracts in a country like England.""What we have created is a safety net for mediocre cricketers who need do nothing more than get up at 11 am., go to practice for two hours and then go out on the tiles every night. There is no planning for the future, no perceived need to acquire extra skills," added the source."We should be shifting to a situation where only the best four of five cricketers at each province have contracts. The rest should be on match fees, performance incentives and expenses. They should have to find jobs to supplement their incomes in off-season - like most English county cricketers have had to do for years."India Abroad News Service

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