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‘This is utter lies’ – Stokes hits back over claim England players have refused offer of pay cuts

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has brandished the suggestion that England’s centrally contracted players have refused the offer to accept temporary pay cuts as “utter lies”.

A report from ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday stated that ECB chief executive Tom Harrison wrote a letter to PCA chief executive Tony Irish last Sunday on the subject of pay cuts.

The report expressed that the ECB hoped that players might take a pay cut as a gesture to help deal with the financial fallout from the current suspension of the professional game due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the governing body received “a less than enthusiastic response”. On Tuesday, Harrison said that the ECB will not be “seeking pay cuts from England players”. Harrison will be taking a pay cut himself. 

Responding to the report, Stokes took to Twitter to say: “This is utter lies”.

George Dobell, the author of the report, replied to Stokes’ criticism by saying: “C’mon, Ben. You know me better than that. I’ve just sent you a copy of that letter.”

Stokes appeared to take issue with the article’s headline, quote tweeting Dobell’s reply: “HEADLINE HEADLINE HEADLINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

The headline of the report was subsequently changed from ‘England’s centrally contracted players decide against temporary pay cut’ to ‘PCA stall on ECB’s request for players’ 20% pay cut’.

The report included an extract of Harrison’s letter. “I am encouraging the PCA and all professional players to support the recommendations the first-class counties present to you next week, which may very well propose a 20% reduction in salaries for April and May, with a view to revisiting this on a monthly basis until we have navigated through the crisis,” wrote the ECB chief.

According to the report, the PCA has not received the aforementioned recommendations from the first-class counties.


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