For Warner, the UAE offer is around US$500,000 ($700,000) a year for three years, or more than $2 million in total on top of its IPL earnings – around US$800,000. ($1.1 million) per season with Delhi Capitals, part-owned by GMR Group.
It was GMR Group’s recent purchase of one of the UAE’s league franchises that likely helped to accelerate Warner’s demands to make itself available in January. IPL and Indian club ownership is growing at a rapid pace.
Not only will all teams in the UAE be owned by extremely well-heeled Indians, but every club in South Africa’s new league has been bought by the owners of an IPL team.
Senior cricket sources said age and The Sydney Morning Herald that Warner had discussed several UAE league offers with Australian figures during the recent Sri Lanka tour.
At the same time as these talks were taking place, Usman Khawaja, Warner’s Test opening partner and longtime friend, was speaking openly about the need for private investment in the BBL, primarily to ensure it can deliver globally competitive cash to top players. Khawaja clarified that it’s not just foreign players.
That imbalance is, at least in part, a problem that stemmed from the 2017 pay deal the ACA signed after a protracted dispute with CA.
While the deal provided for a fixed percentage of revenue for all players, it did not extend to this being fully reflected in the expansion of the BBL salary cap once the 2018 broadcast deal was signed. for $1.18 billion over six years.
In the last summer of the old Ten deal, worth around $20 million per season, the BBL holdback cap was $1.6 million per club, meaning CA was spending the equivalent of more than 50% of player salary dues revenue in what was at the time a 10-game season per team.
But after four years of 14-game seasons, the current cap is still below $2 million per club — less than 20% of the roughly $80 million in broadcast rights per year — with additional money doled out this year for abroad. players. The top “platinum” draft picks will win $340,000 each. That’s closer to a competitive global fare, but out of reach for Warner, Pat Cummins and company as local players.
The fact that overseas players can earn so much for playing half of the BBL season this summer, while Australian cricketers are barred from the extra windfall, has caused widespread consternation. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade, all BBL mainstays, have never been able to pull in more than $150,000 a season.
As IPL clubs and Indian corporate titans take over Twenty20 franchises around the world, high-paying overseas tournaments now stretch far beyond the April-May window that CA helped engineer BCCI when the league was created in 2008.
This puts a third player, alongside Warner and Lynn, in a fascinating position. The mighty Tim David has proven his abilities beyond any remaining doubt in the IPL this year, and without a CA contract he has more freedom to play abroad outside of the BBL window.
In 2017, Warner pushed CA by publicly stating “they might not have ashes” amid a bitter pay dispute that resulted in a rushed deal signed weeks after a foreign tour at the Bangladesh.
This time, Warner is pushing to the limit of what the current system will allow. CA and the ACA will have to grapple with issues of contract flexibility and Twenty20 market value for players in their next compensation deal, before Warner’s demands turn into something more widespread.
Sports weekend expert news, results and analysis sent every Monday. Subscribe to our Sports newsletter.