Melbourne, Jan 21: Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is reportedly set to unseat Ricky Ponting as the highest paid player in the country by signing a new Cricket Australia (CA) contract worth up to $2 million.
Watson will claim the No.1 ranking when CA announces its new 25-man contract list in April.
The rankings are kept a closely guarded secret, but Ponting has been the highest-paid cricketer in the country for many years.
According to the Daily Telegraph, there was a brief period when former fast bowler Glenn McGrath usurped former captain Steve Waugh as Australia's most expensive cricketer, but captains have traditionally had a stranglehold.
The CA contracts are assigned on an arithmetic system in which players are ranked on their Test, ODI and Twenty20 performances.
Last year, Watson averaged 42.7 with the bat in Test cricket compared to the 36 of Ponting.
However, it is the 29-year-old's arrival as a genuine star with the ball (19 Test wickets at an average of 27 last year) that will be the key element that propels him to becoming the highest-paid cricketer.