$1 million bonus for Ashes heroes

$1 million bonus for Ashes heroes

Australia's cricketers have earned a bonus of nearly $1 million after their annihilation of England in all forms this summer – and there could be more cash to come if they can continue their hot run for another two months.

Few will begrudge Michael Clarke's men a lucrative pay day after a summer where they followed up a 5-0 Ashes whitewash with a 4-1 series victory in the one-day internationals and a 3-0 clean sweep of the Twenty20 series.

Million-dollar men: Australia celebrate a 5-0 clean sweep of England in the Ashes in January.

Million-dollar men: Australia celebrate a 5-0 clean sweep of England in the Ashes in January.

Photo: Getty Images

Although the nation's cricket fans would say the value of inflicting so much misery on the old enemy is priceless, the players will nevertheless be handsomely rewarded.

Just how substantial the windfall will be is yet to be finalised by Cricket Australia and the players' union, the Australian Cricketers' Association, but the figure will be between $900,000 and $1 million.

That England were ranked in the top four in the Test and ODI formats at the start of the summer is also factored into the incentives.


Australia's dream summer has also left the players well placed to collect a further $970,000 in cash incentives after the Test series against South Africa and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

That sum is made up of bonuses of $350,000 if Australia can displace India from second in the Test rankings, $280,000 if they can retain the No.1 ODI ranking until the cut-off date of March 31, and a further $60,000 if they can win the country's first World Twenty20 title.

Should India, who play in the Asian Cup in February and March, regain top spot in the ODIs then Australia's bonus will be $140,000 for finishing second.

There is also the chance for another $280,000 bonus if Australia is deemed to have been ranked the top ODI side for the 12-month period from April 1, 2013, until the end of March, irrespective of whether they remain first in the overall rankings.

The $700,000 cheque for the No.1 Test ranking, however, will remain out of reach for this year at least, even if Australia were to clean sweep the Proteas.

For Australia, ranked third in the Test arena, to move to second they would need to beat South Africa and have India either draw or lose their two-match series in New Zealand, which starts on Thursday.

Australia can also leapfrog India if they beat the Proteas 3-0 and M.S. Dhoni's men win 1-0, but the Indians would remain in front of Australia if they win both Tests against the Black Caps, regardless of the result in South Africa. Should Australia share the spoils with South Africa, they would need India to lose to the Kiwis.

The bonuses are part of a new performance-based player-payment scheme agreed to by the ACA and CA in 2012 following a recommendation in the Argus review that suggested financial incentives for success.

The players, however, maintain their desire for success is not driven by money.

Under the previous payment plan, players were entitled to 26 per cent of CA revenue, but under the terms of this agreement, they can claim between 24.5 per cent and 27 per cent, depending on the national team's success.

Australian cricketers were well represented on the Business Review Weekly top-50 sports earners list released this week. There were 11 cricketers on the list, more than any other sport. There were 10 golfers and 10 footballers on the list.

Shane Watson, with $6 million, was the highest-paid cricketer on the list, ahead of Clarke ($5.5 million), while David Warner, David Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Brad Haddin, Cameron White, Ryan Harris, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee also featured.

Andrew Wu

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

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