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Other SportsKey: Stokes is still committed to England

Key: Stokes is still committed to England

England managing director Rob Key believes Test captain Ben Stokes is fully committed to international cricket and says his decision to reject a multi-year central contract in favour of a 12-month deal is linked to the next cycle of broadcasting rights.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed today which England players had agreed new deals and there were eyebrows raised by Stokes’ decision to sign for a year. In contrast, former skipper Joe Root, fellow Yorkshire batter Harry Brook and Durham paceman Mark Wood agreed three-year contracts.

Key said Stokes was keeping his options open by aligning his deal with the renewal of the memorandum of understanding between the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the ECB next year which in itself is linked to television deals.

Key told Sky Sports News: “Normally the contracts follow the broadcasting cycle and the next broadcasting cycle starts next year. At that point you can renegotiate and change the way you do contracts.

“So what that means for the multi-year deal guys is that they will be on no less than what they’re on now but next year there may be a different system.

“At the minute there’s a points-scoring system, so you get a certain amount of points for what we think you’re going to do in red-ball cricket, what we think you’re going to do in white-ball cricket, whether that’s T20s or ODIs, but that system might change.

“We don’t know yet what that is. We’re going to work on that as this has taken a while.

“Like with all contracts, Ben will feel that if you’ve got one year you’re in a stronger negotiating position but by no means does it mean that Ben Stokes doesn’t want to play for England.

“He’s captain of our Test team and all he ever talks about is how we can get better. We’re going to meet in bit and talk about the India tour after Christmas, so I wouldn’t read anything into it at all.”

Stokes’ explosive game means he is a natural fit for T20 cricket with new franchise leagues starting up all over the world.

The central contracts do not prevent players taking up lucrative franchise deals, but they do allow the ECB greater oversight on availability.

James Anderson, 41, has signed a one-year deal after indicating he wants to extend his Test career while 19-year-old spinner Rehan Ahmed was the youngest player to agree terms.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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