COVID chaos causes cricket contract backflip
Cricket Australia is set to push back the announcement of its annual contract list by up to a month as a result of the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
Australia's summer pastime has largely escaped the eye of the storm that has ripped apart the football codes like a hurricane, but with no end in sight to the global pandemic, pay cuts for the top cricketers cannot be ruled out.
The National Selection panel was planning to unveil the list of centrally contracted players to lead Australia through a Twenty20 World Cup and home series against India on Thursday, but The Daily Telegraph understands Cricket Australia is likely to delay the announcement for a number of weeks.
In an uncertain world changing by the hour, CA's bean counters believe there's no point rushing to commit to player contracts that don't need to be finalised until the end of April.
Cricket Australia had April 30 originally slated as its contract release date, but brought it forward to try and make contracting smoother for the states.
The escalating corona situation has prompted it being moved back again and current contracts don't expire until June 30 so there is still plenty of wiggle room for head office if they choose to continue to wait and see.
CA officials are busily crunching the numbers in a bid to gain the strongest possible financial forecast of what the game is up against before contracts are offered.
Pat Cummins was the No.1 contracted player last season on a salary in excess of $2 million, and the fast bowler will almost certainly keep his spot at the top of the charts, or at least remain in a top three alongside David Warner and Steve Smith.
Scenarios that must be mulled over before contracts are offered include what change to the contract situation might be caused by June's tour of Bangladesh being cancelled, or July's white ball tour of England.
Cricket Australia are also looking at rescheduling the white ball series against New Zealand which had to be dumped at the last moment when the coronavirus lockdowns first hit Australia earlier in the month.
No decisions on pay cuts have been made, but if cricket series are being cancelled, it's not out of the question that players would have to cop a financial hit.
Cricket Australia is in a strong position for this financial year, but the next one remains shrouded in uncertainty based on the current crisis.
The players' historic pay victory over Cricket Australia a couple of seasons ago ensured cricketers would keep their stake as partners in the game.
It means they ride the highs with head office, but they also have to share in the low times - which is the bleak reality the entire world is currently facing.
It's not just the game's finances which CA officials are busily working on, contingency plans for whether series' are going ahead or being rescheduled are also being worked through.
No small task when the international cricket schedule is already so complex.
Originally published as COVID chaos causes cricket contract backflip