~~We wanted elite players to be best paid~~

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2001, 0:40 [IST]
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Melbourne: An Australian player will become the first millionaire Test cricketer under a new four-year deal agreed by the Australian Cricket Board. ACB chief executive Malcolm Speed said on Wednesday the deal would make Australia the best paid cricket team in the world.

Speed and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief Tim May said that the two bodies had worked in concert to ensure young athletes were not lost to other sports.

"What we've sought to do in this agreement is to put together a very healthy career path for young athletes coming into the game of cricket," Speed said.

He said the rookie contracts and minimum retainers for ACB and state players were all designed to convince young sportsmen they could view cricket as a viable career.

"One of the important messages to come out of this is that the game can afford to pay this money to put in place those infrastructures," Speed said.

May said although he admitted the two parties were poles apart at the beginning of the talks and both had had to back down on several issues.

"One of our objectives was to ensure the elite players are the best paid and one of our chief objectives was to increase the player payment pool," May said.

"But it was not an exercise in raping the ACB of all its monies. It was absolutely important that the ACB had significant reserves so that it can meet its objectives."

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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