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Windfall awaits Clarke's side after Ashes triumph

The Age logo The Age 2/01/2014 Chris Barrett
Australian players celebrate reclaiming the Ashes after their third Test victory in Perth. Australian players celebrate reclaiming the Ashes after their third Test victory in Perth.

Australia's Ashes-winning players are to be granted a tasty bonus of more than $500,000 as reward for their drubbing of England this summer.

Leading 4-0 approaching today's fifth and final Test in Sydney, Michael Clarke's players have emphatically put behind them a year of turmoil to be the toast of the country. And just as the MCG was full as a world-record crowd descended on the MCG on Boxing Day, so will be the players' pockets with the lucrative financial windfall for their exemplary efforts over the past seven weeks.

The impending bonus payments for the Australians who have reclaimed the Ashes total $520,008, a figure that will rise to $580,008 if they complete a series whitewash at the SCG.

Few would argue that they do not deserve every cent.

The 11 players who featured in all four Tests to date this summer will collect a win bonus of $5000 for each of their wins over England in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, as will the 12th man across the campaign, James Faulkner.

On top of that, the squad members will each receive a series-win bonus of $23,334.

The extra payments are a drop in the ocean for Clarke, who rakes in an estimated $2 million a year from Cricket Australia alone and others on the higher end of the pay scale such as Shane Watson and David Warner.

Yet for those on base incomes closer to the minimum CA player retainer of $235,000 and the likes of Chris Rogers and Steve Smith, who were not even in the national contract list of 20 when it was released in April and have since been upgraded to $190,000 deals, the share of the spoils is nothing to sniff at.

The bonuses are by far the most substantial to be dealt out since a framework for incentive-based player payments was included in the five-year agreement between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association that was thrashed out last year.

A recommendation of the Argus review that followed Australia’s 3-1 defeat to England at home three summers ago, the inception of a bonus pool to reward achievements such as this  triumph is an attempt to mirror the corporate world.

 ‘‘A key element of our memorandum of understanding with the ACA is a performance bonus pool for Australian players on top of their retainers and match fees,’’ CA chief executive James Sutherland said on Monday.

‘‘Put simply it’s a pay for performance incentive structure, similar to what many of today’s organisations are putting in place for their employees. In the case of the Australian players, bonuses are paid for match and series wins and for making significant progress towards our goal of regaining the No.1 ranking in all forms of the game.’’

The payments will be drawn from an Australian team performance pool of $4.8million that had not been seriously drained this year, such was the 10-month break between Test wins.

The bonus concept is a relatively new one for Australian cricketers. Previously, a fixed share model was in place that saw them receive 26 per cent of CA revenue but under the post-Argus  sliding scale pay model they pocket between 24.5 per cent and 27 per cent depending on the team’s level of success. If the bonus pool money is not allocated as a result of match, series or tournament victories – and top-two placings in the ICC rankings across the three formats – it stays in CA’s coffers.

The series win bonus to be dished out to Clarke and his men for beating England is double what they would receive for victory over a lesser opponent, with success over rivals ranked in the top four of the ICC standings highly prioritised.

The cashes: Australia’s bonus windfall

  • All 12 Australian players who have played or been 12th man against England will receive $5000 win bonuses for each Test victory.
  • They will also also pocket $23,334 each as a bonus for the series win over England.
  • Players already receive a match fee of $14,000 on top of their retainers regardless of the results.

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