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ICC’s chatter about primacy of Test cricket is just talk

Chandigarh:Shashank Manohar, re-elected the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), says that the “sport is in good health”. On the face of it, he is right. There are now 12-Test playing nations compared to just six in, say, 1980; every major country has a T20 league of its own, and they are very popular.

Manohar seems right, but sample another comment, this time from a player who just might know better. Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, said recently: “I firmly believe that Test cricket won’t be around in time, because there’s only so many teams that can afford to play it.”

If McCullum had spoken with greater forthrightness, he would have mentioned a vital fact: He’ll be making
Rs 3.6 crore from this year’s IPL, and he can’t even dream of making this sort of money playing Test cricket for New Zealand. T20 money allowed McCullum to retire from international cricket at age 34.

Rs 3.6cr for 6 weeks vs Rs 2.03cr for year

If he had been active as an international cricketer today, McCullum would have had a contract with New Zealand Cricket worth roughly Rs 1.39 crore yearly. He would also be getting a match fee of roughly Rs 4.5 lakh per Test, Rs 2.1 lakh per ODI and Rs 1.38 lakh per T20I. In the last 12 months, New Zealand have played 4 Tests, 16 ODIs and 9 T20Is. If he’d played in all of these, McCullum would have made around Rs 64 lakh from them. Including his annual retainer, his earnings would have amounted to Rs 2.03 crore for the year.

In this year’s IPL so far, McCullum has played six innings, a total of 88 balls, for 127 runs. He’ll take home Rs 3.6 crore.

So, just to emphasise: In 45 days of international cricket for New Zealand, McCullum would have been paid Rs 2.03 crore; for playing 88 balls over six days of cricket, he’ll be paid Rs 3.6 crore.

McCullum also plays in domestic T20 leagues of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and New Zealand. Do the math: It makes more economic sense for him to play T20 cricket than international cricket.