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World Cup-winning batter Jason Roy insists he will never “walk away from England” despite accepting a deal with Major League Cricket in the United States.
Roy has had to cancel the remainder of his current incremental contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board to pursue a lucrative T20 deal across the Atlantic, but both parties have made it clear that need not spell the end of his international career.
The 32-year-old has reportedly been offered in the region of £300,000 to represent Los Angeles Knight Riders on a two-season deal in the new MLC tournament, a figure that dwarfs the terms he is foregoing with the ECB.
Representing my country continues to be my proudest moment as a professional cricketer. I hope to play for England for many more years, that remains my priority
Roy’s incremental agreement was worth between £60,000 and £70,000 and ran until October. His participation in the inaugural season of MLC in July will not directly rule him out of any England fixtures and he has been given assurances that the termination of his ECB deal will not count against him in future selection.
With the ODI World Cup coming later this year, Roy is still holding out hopes of leading the side’s defence of their 2019 crown.
Posting to Twitter after news of his move began to be reported, Roy wrote: “Following a bit of unwanted speculation over the last 24 hours, I wanted to clarify that I am not and never will “walk away from England”.
“Representing my country continues to be my proudest moment as a professional cricketer. I hope to play for England for many more years, that remains my priority.
“I’ve had clear and supportive conversations with the ECB about participating in Major League Cricket. The ECB were happy for me to play in the competition as long as they didn’t have to pay me for the remainder of the contractual year.
“As a single format player with no central contract I wanted to take the opportunity to play this competition as there are currently no scheduling conflicts with England. It benefits me as an England player to play as much competitive cricket as possible.
“Just to be very clear, my priority is England cricket, especially with a World Cup soon upon us. It is for me, and for any player, the greatest honour to receive a cap to play for their country.”
A statement followed soon after from the ECB, confirming the apparently amicable decision.
“The ECB have agreed for him to play in the competition on the proviso that he gives up the remainder of his ECB incremental contract, which both parties have agreed to,” it read.
“The ECB wish to clarify that this decision will not affect Jason’s selection for England teams going forward. We have absolute confidence and faith that Jason is committed to England cricket.”
It has been reported that Surrey seamer Reece Topley, who also receives an incremental deal from the ECB, has also been targeted by MLC, while there has been mounting speculation that IPL franchises could soon be looking to sign up high-profile star names on 12-month deals. Jofra Archer, who was recently ruled out of the English summer through injury, is among those to have been linked.
The ECB’s contract system is likely to be overhauled soon, with longer-term deals and an increase in the value of match fees both on the agenda.
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