EXCLUSIVE: Jason Roy set to become first England player to walk away from an ECB central contract to sign two-year, £300,000 deal with Los Angeles Knight Riders in new US Major League Cricket… despite the risk to his World Cup place
- Roy’s deal with the Los Angeles Knight Riders is worth £300,000 over two years
- Big-hitting batter wants to pursue the deal despite jeopardy to England place
- Roy lost his T20 World Cup place last year but remains in the 50-over fold
Jason Roy is set to cancel his ECB central contract in order to sign a lucrative deal to play Major League Cricket in the United States this summer.
The World Cup-winning opening batter has been offered a two-year deal worth around £300,000 by the Los Angeles Knight Riders, which he wants to pursue despite the risk it could jeopardise his place in England’s squad for this year’s 50-over title defence in India.
Roy is currently contracted by the ECB on a so-called incremental deal until October, which gives the governing body some control over his schedule.
In a historic move Roy would become the first England player to walk away from a central contract in order to pursue alternative ambitions with a Twenty20 franchise.
Roy was a mainstay of England’s white ball revolution under Eoin Morgan which climaxed with winning the 50-over World Cup for the first time at Lord’s four years ago, but lost his place in the side last summer and was left out of the squad for the Twenty20 World Cup last autumn, which England went on to win.
Jason Roy plans to walk away from his England central contract to sign a lucrative two-year deal with new Major League Cricket franchise Los Angeles Knight Riders
Roy has been a regular presence at the top of the order for England in 50-over cricket
The 32-year-old was recalled to the 50-over team after the short-form World Cup however and played nine one-day internationals against Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh last winter, so remains in contention to be named in Matthew Mott’s 50-over World Cup squad this autumn.
Roy has held talks with the ECB over the last few weeks with an announcement on his future expected shortly.
As Major League Cricket clashes with the County Championship and T20 Blast it is understood that the ECB are only prepared to grant Roy the No Objection Certificate required to play if they cancel his incremental deal.
While Roy retains ambitions to play for England the security of the two-year offer he has received from LA Knight Riders is a significant factor in his reasoning.
Mail Sport first revealed the American interest in Roy, who would become the first England player to sign up for the new league that has already recruited other overseas stars such as Aaron Finch, Quinton de Kock and Anrich Nortje.
The ECB have told Roy that his decision will not impact on Mott’s selection plans or the next round of central contracts, which are awarded in October.
With the Ashes starting next month England do not have any white-ball matches until series against New Zealand and Ireland in August and September, by which point Roy will be back in the country as he is also contracted to play for Oval Invincibles in the Hundred.
Roy’s willingness to walk away from an ECB deal illustrates the threat to international cricket posed by the rise of T20 franchise leagues, fuelled by the huge growth of the IPL.
Roy played a key role when England won the 50-over World Cup back in 2019
He has been playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders during the latest Indian Premier League
Mail Sport revealed earlier this month that Mumbai Indians are preparing to offer Jofra Archer a 12-month contract that would take precedence over his ECB deal and Roy’s move reflects this trend, as the LA Knight Riders are owned his IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders.
The inaugural Major League Cricket which launches in Texas this summer represents a particular threat to English cricket due to scheduling, with Mail Sport revealing on Wednesday that the new competition will expand into August next year, leading to a clash with the Hundred.
Four of the six franchises in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas and Washington are owned by IPL teams who are offering salaries of up to £300,000, compared to a top rate of £125,000 in the Hundred.
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