Brett Lee decision ‘selfless’: ACA boss
Brett Lee’s decision to knock back a contract offer from NSW is a selfless move unlikely to replicated, according to players’ association boss Paul Marsh.
Lee, on tour with Australia in England, announced on Wednesday he didn’t want to sign a NSW contract when he would only be playing a handful of one-day matches at state level next summer.
Instead, the 35-year-old paceman believes the likelihood he’ll earn a $190,000 Cricket Australia upgrade under the new contract system will look after him and he’s happy to leave his spot at the Blues free for a younger player.
Lee did however say he’d be available to NSW on a “match-by-match” basis.
Under the contract system released last week, a player needs to earn 12 points playing matches for Australia to receive the $190,000 retainer.
Lee, a member of Australia’s one-day and Twenty20 teams, can earn the upgrade by playing either six ODIs (two points per game) or 12 T20s (one point per game).
With four of Australia’s five ODIs against England coming after June 30 and then Lee’s likely participation in the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September, the former Test quick could have his upgrade before the start of the domestic summer.
Marsh, the Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive, applauded Lee’s decision but didn’t think it would be one taken by many others.
“I think Brett’s on the record as saying his focus is still on playing limited-overs cricket for Australia so he’s not necessarily going out there to chase the money from the Twenty20 leagues,” Marsh told AAP.
“He’ll end up getting an Australian contract which means he’s still going to have all those restrictions that come with the contract.
“You look at the state contract that was offered to him, he was only going to be playing one form of the game … and that’s an eight-game tournament. I’d imagine the contract he’d been offered was the minimum or close to it.
“With an upgrade that’s potentially only a matter of weeks away, I think it was a very selfless thing that he did.”
Marsh’s belief that Lee’s call would be a one-off appeared to be supported by the news Test opener Ed Cowan and national T20 captain George Bailey had both signed new two-year deals with Tasmania.
Neither player was on last week’s 17-man Cricket Australia contract list but Cowan can earn a retainer if he plays three or more Tests while Bailey is set to earn one through limited-overs cricket in the same way as Lee.
“We’re just not seeing those type of players not sign contracts,” Marsh said.
“I don’t think those type of players are at risk. The ones we’ve seen that are potentially going down that freelance path are the guys at the end of their careers who are no longer in the Australian set-up.
“I don’t see Brett even as one of those. It’s been guys like (Dirk) Nannes, (Shaun) Tait and (Brad) Hodge, who have looking at those freelancing opportunities.
“Some players are going to pursue it but if players have got ambition to keep playing for their country, then you won’t see that as a huge threat.”© AAP 2013
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