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English players warned over BPL
English cricket remains "very nervous" about the participation of players in the Bangladesh Premier League and has warned those taking part of the risks. The head of the players' union does not believe any significant improvements have been made since last year's controversial debut edition.
Alex Hales, Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara are the highest-profile English players to have been bought by franchises although a host of other county cricketers have been snapped up. Michael Lumb and James Taylor, who both play for Nottinghamshire alongside Hales, withdrew from the auction. All the players who earned deals on Thursday are understood to have been granted No-Objection Certificates by their counties but not without concerns.
"We remain very nervous about the competition," Angus Porter, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, told ESPNcricinfo. "I don't see any evidence that the competition is going to be better off or better organised than it was last year. I'm not sure anyone involved in the game is very comfortable with this event.
"We haven't yet seen any final contracts, we are uncomfortable with the proposed payment schedule for players. We brought all the issues we can to the attention of players but at the end of the day it is their decision whether they go. From a financial and organisational point of view, we still think the tournament has a lot to prove."
Following the first edition of the BPL last year players suffered from delayed payments and the PCA had to get heavily involved to ensure money was delivered. Although those issues have now been resolved some of the coaches and backroom staff from the 2012 tournament are still without fees.
A new payment structure is in place for this year's tournament with players receiving 25% before the tournament, another quarter before it finishes then the remaining 50% within six months but Porter does not believe this system is any more secure.
"The proposed payment schedule for this year is actually worse than last year," he said. "The players will get to the end of the tournament with only 25% of the fee in their pocket if it goes to plan and of that a chuck is having to go to an agent proposed by the BPL. They won't have an awful lot of money even if the schedules are met until a considerable time after the tournament. That is far from satisfactory, given the events of last year."
The other significant area of concern was the policing of corruption. Porter has spoken to a number of the players involved in the auction to outline the risks and the PCA's concerns, but he also understands why some continue to pursue an opportunity.
"A number of players I've spoken to have said they want to go for the experience and boost their talents," he said. "They are aware of the risk they are taking. I am concerned though that the tournament is sending a signal to organisers of tournaments that you can mess with players and not deliver an event that has the governance you want to have."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo