Former quick puts BBL player payments under scrutiny

Former n fast bowler Dirk Nannes has questioned the financial “fairness” of the Big Bash League, declaring he has an “ethical” problem with how clubs are retaining players.

Nannes claimed there are players from BBL franchises who have had their Sheffield Shield salaries topped up by their state association in order to offset being paid less than they are worth by their local BBL franchise. The BBL salary cap this year is $1.6 million.

The claims have been dismissed by Cricket , with the governing body insisting the integrity department was scrupulous when it came to examining the books.

“We don’t comment on anecdotal speculation. Suffice to say Cricket is comfortable that clubs and states understand and contract within the rules and this is rigorously monitored by CA’s integrity unit,” a CA spokesman said.

Nannes, a former Twenty20 specialist, questioned whether there were BBL players not being paid their “market value”.

“Of course, you are going to get some changes – there are stars on the rise or stars on the wane and the money they are going to get is out of whack. But a player who does not play four-day cricket can’t be almost on a maximum state contract and getting a pittance for their Big Bash contract. That just shouldn’t happen. You shouldn’t be able to manipulate your Big Bash list by using your state contracts,” he said.

Speaking during ABC radio’s commentary of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney, Nannes was questioned whether franchises had manipulated the system or breached rules.

“I have an ethical problem with it, definitely. There are a few other things I think they need to look at. The Big Bash functions so well because of the fairness of the competition and the equity of the teams. And the Big Bash works so well because you will see a game and you will have no idea who is going to win because the competition is so tight,” he said.

“Of course, Perth is going to have a natural advantage because playing over there has always been hard … but when there is a little bit else in there and they have the ability to pay a little bit more, not so much pay a bit more but manipulate the system to retain, I think there is an issue that needs to be looked at.

“But there is more to it as well in terms of marketing. People get marketing contracts to try and promote Big Bash. I don’t begrudge anyone for earning money for doing more work but I think that has to be spread in a fair way as well.

“There are some people in the competition who are getting – and this is a bit more anecdotal than the other stuff – marketing contracts to promote the Big Bash. That’s fine if those are evenly spread across every team in the competition, every team gets a certain amount and you pay in that way. It doesn’t seem to be happening, either.”

Nannes’ comments about the Scorchers came after Melbourne Renegades veteran Brad Hodge last month questioned the Perth club’s list-management practices.

“It’s something that maybe should be looked into,” Hodge said heading into the clash between the two clubs in Melbourne. The Scorchers were unimpressed by the remarks.

Nannes also questioned whether overseas stars need to have a marketing component to their contracts, as the retiring Kevin Pietersen – one of the BBL’s major drawcards – has had with the Stars.

“Once again, as long as it is all fair, then that is fine. So all this extra marketing stuff surely must, because it is associated with Big Bash, should somehow fall under this umbrella of a team’s salary cap,” Nannes said.

“And it might be hard to police, maybe I am wrong – I am trying for it to be fair for want of a better word – but I see it as something Cricket has to look at.”

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