21 February 2024 last updated at 21:37 GMT
Cricket insurance booms after players scramble to protect IPL riches
Thursday 21 March 2019

Overseas cricketers in the Indian Premier League have been scrambling to insure themselves for massive sums because the rewards are greater than ever.

IPL players earn more for one match than in any other sport in the world – with the recent global sports salary survey suggesting they receive a pro-rated £274,624 per game on average, far ahead of the NFL (£138,354) and the Premier League (£78,703).

However, with players’ payments structured so they get 50% of their salary merely for showing up fit for the tournament, several players from England, South Africa and the West Indies have recently taken out personal insurance against injury in other matches that would jeopardised their IPL income.

One company, Vantage Sports Finance, said that such insurance policies had mushroomed from one or two before the IPL last year to a “significant number”this year.

“In the last month, our cricket business has underwritten more than 20% of the total value of all the overseas players’ contracts from England, West Indies and South Africa – a figure more than $4m,” said the chief executive of Vantage, Paddy O’Clery, adding that most players were not aware they could insure themselves this way until recently.

“Players have become much more clever and informed,” O’Clery said. “They know that once you have been auctioned, you are entitled to half the fees for the tournament if you arrive fit and ready to play. And that if they injure their knee, say, during a Test or one-day series beforehand and aren’t able to play, they could easily forfeit a six or seven-figure sum.”

Michael Vaughan, who is a nonexecutive director of Vantage and has been advising some cricketers on the issue, said players were only being sensible given some earned more in an eight-week stretch playing in the IPL compared to their income for the rest of the year.

The former England captain said: “There is serious money to be made in IPL these days – not only through playing but with huge commercial contracts for those players who do well, so it’s only sensible to get insured.”

Vaughan predicted that such insurance policies would become even more common as more players became cricketing free agents, focusing solely on the white-ball game. “It is fully justifiable to me,” he added. “I am a Test cricket diehard, I love the game and if you can play all three formats, great. But I wouldn’t blame players coming up if all they only focused on the shorter formats, because there are so many more opportunities out there.

“These days I wouldn’t argue against any young kid who said: ‘I am just going to focus on the white-ball game.’”

However, Vaughan insisted that he certainly didn’t think Test cricket was dead – yet. “I see it going from five days to four days to shorten it and make it a bit more impactful, and I am sure there will be more monetary rewards coming to Test cricket with the cricket championships starting in September,” he said.

“There has never been a better time to be a cricketer. A huge amount of money has come into the game but in 10 or 15 years’ time it will be like football. People will think: ‘I can’t believe they only earned $1m 15 years ago’ – when come 2030 it will be more like $4m-$5m.”

This year’s IPL tournament, which includes England’s Johnny Bairstow and Sam Curran, will not be shown on Sky Sports after Star TV UK confirmed it had the rights. Fans can also watch the tournament via the Hotstar streaming service that costs £11.99 a month.

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