In a bid to play in the inaugural season of Major League Cricket (MLC) in the United States of America (USA), several England players, including opener Jason Roy, are reportedly looking to terminate their incremental contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
According to an ESPNCricinfo report, Roy, who holds an incremental deal with the ECB, is planning to terminate his contract in order to play in the league.
Not only Roy but his England and Surrey team-mate Reece Topley is also considering the same approach however, it all depends on his fitness status after undergoing shoulder surgery last month.
“Surrey are expecting Roy to play MLC — most likely for LA Knight Riders — between the end of their Blast season and the start of the Hundred, and that he would have to agree to a release from his incremental contract to do so. If Surrey reach Finals Day, Roy will be available for them and miss the start of MLC,” the report added.
Apart from the duo, Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Matthew Potts and David Willey also hold ECB incremental deals in the 2022/23 cycle worth around 66,000 pound per year and effectively act as a top-up to county salaries.
“Roy played for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2023 and is understood to have held informal discussions with the franchise about the possibility of a contract to play for their teams in other leagues, including MLC. His representative declined to comment,” added the report.
Coming to Topley, who was forced to leave IPL 2023 due to shoulder injury, signing up with the MLC depends on his rehabilitation.
Recently in a live-stream for Surrey, the pacer said: “If you’d have asked me when I was young, I’d have said I’d love to play 100 Tests for England.”
“Now, if you asked me, (I’d say) I’d love to go to as many IPLs as I can. I don’t think the stigma around saying you want to play and be successful in white-ball cricket is that bad,” he added.
Notably, the inaugural season of the MLC is set to take place between July 13-30 at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas and four of the total six franchises have organisations who own IPL teams, while Cricket Victoria and Cricket New South Wales from Australia have stakes in the other two teams.
The upcoming tournament has a meagre clash with the semi-finals and finals of England’s T20 Blast, slated to be held on July 15, while there are two rounds of County Championship fixtures between Finals Day and the start of the Hundred on August 1.
However, the report said that there are concerns within English cricket that MLC is likely to expand in future and could also clash directly with the Hundred.
“As a result, the ECB will not give No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) that would enable contracted players to feature in MLC. And while players are unlikely to negotiate a release from full white-ball contracts to play in the US, such a move would make financial sense for those on incremental deals,” it said.
Many star T20 players like Marcus Stoinis, Quinton de Kock, Wanindu Hasaranga, Anrich Nortje and Glenn Phillips have already been unveiled as overseas signings for the first edition of the tournament.