England players, including opener Jason Roy, are considering to terminate their incremental contracts with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play in the inaugural season of Major League Cricket (MLC) in the United States of America (USA).
According to an ESPNCricinfo report, Roy, who holds an incremental deal with the ECB, plans to terminate his contract in order to play in the league.
Apart from him, his England and Surrey team-mate Reece Topley is considering the same move, but a lot of it depends on his fitness status after undergoing shoulder surgery last month.
"Surrey are expecting Roy to play MLC -- most likely for LA Knight Riders -- between the end of their Blast season and the start of the Hundred, and that he would have to agree to a release from his incremental contract to do so. If Surrey reach Finals Day, Roy will be available for them and miss the start of MLC," the report said.
Apart from him and Topley, Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Matthew Potts, and David Willey hold ECB incremental deals in the 2022/23 cycle worth around 66,000 pound per year and effectively act as a top-up to county salaries.
"Roy played for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2023 and is understood to have held informal discussions with the franchise about the possibility of a contract to play for their teams in other leagues, including MLC. His representative declined to comment," added the report.
Talking about Topley, who left IPL 2023 due to shoulder injury, signing up with the MLC depends on his rehabilitation. Interestingly, on a live-stream for Surrey last week, he said, "If you'd have asked me when I was young, I'd have said I'd love to play 100 Tests for England."
"Now, if you asked me, (I'd say) I'd love to go to as many IPLs as I can. I don't think the stigma around saying you want to play and be successful in white-ball cricket is that bad."
For the uninitiated, the inaugural season of the MLC is set to take place from July 13-30 at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas. Four of the six franchises have organisations who own IPL teams, while Cricket Victoria and Cricket New South Wales from Australia have stakes in the other two teams.
The league has a small clash with the semi-finals and finals of the T20 Blast take place on July 15, while there are two rounds of County Championship fixtures between Finals Day and the start of the Hundred on August 1.
But the report added there are concerns within English cricket that MLC is likely to expand in future and could clash directly with the Hundred.
"As a result, the ECB will not give No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) that would enable contracted players to feature in MLC. And while players are unlikely to negotiate a release from full white-ball contracts to play in the US, such a move would make financial sense for those on incremental deals," it further said.
During the inaugural MLC draft at the NASA Space Center in Houston, many leading T20 players like Marcus Stoinis, Quinton de Kock, Wanindu Hasaranga, Anrich Nortje and Glenn Phillips were unveiled as overseas signings for the first edition of the tournament.
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