West Indies captain Jason Holder has called on the International Cricket Council to introduce a minimum wage for Test cricketers to stop players turning their backs on the format.
Holder’s comments come in the wake of Duanne Olivier quitting South Africa last week to join Yorkshire as a Kolpak player. Olivier’s estimated £150,000 deal at Headingley will triple his annual salary.
The decision by Oliver effectively ends his international career at the age of 26 and comes after he had established himself on the international scene with 31 wickets in five Tests since being recalled by South Africa in December.
Kyle Abbott and Simon Harmer, two other bowlers in their prime, have also left South Africa in recent years to sign county contracts on Kolpak terms, which affords players from nations with a free trade deal with the European Union the same rights as locals as long as they forego representing their country for the duration of their contracts.
Holder, who has signed for Northamptonshire as an overseas player for the start of the summer, said: “It’s really sad to lose another player to Kolpak.
“It’s always going to be a big debate. I don’t know what the ICC can do in terms of better compensating players. Maybe setting a minimum wage for Test cricket?
“As players we’ve got to make our own decisions and live with the consequences. I just think we just need to find a way of keeping players playing for their countries so we get an attractive product.
“I think that’s the best thing for world cricket. People still want to see international cricket being at the forefront.
Holder, 27, admits he too has turned down lucrative offers to turn his back on the West Indies.
“I think most young cricketers in this day and age have had a dilemma,” he said. “It’s just about what you want as a player. For me I wanted to commit to West Indies cricket and have a fair shot of a good international career. If I stay fit and healthy I can always cash in at the back end of my career.
“Some players don’t feel that way. Some players, because of their personal needs, feel otherwise. So I don’t judge people for their decisions. They’ve got to live with their decisions and be happy with those they make.
“I just hope we can find some common ground. I think it’s really sad to lose quality players to domestic leagues and more players going Kolpak.”
CHRIS STOCKS / Photo: Getty Images