Franchise cricket salaries: which T20 leagues pay the most?

Biggest salaries in franchises from the Indian Premier League to the Abu Dhabi International League

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The International League T20 is set to become the second most lucrative competition for cricketers when it launches at the start of 2023.

The new event has been a long time coming. There have been a number of attempts for the UAE to launch a 20-over event all of its own in recent years.

Now it is finally set to start, with franchises that are sister teams to those in the Indian Premier League – as well as one run by the owners of Manchester United.

Players will have enviable earning potential, with salaries of nearly half a million dollars available to top-bracket players.

That is still a way short of the behemoth that is the IPL, but is very competitive when set against the other leagues around the world.

KL Rahul became the highest-paid player in the history of cricket’s most cash-rich league when he was paid $2.3 million to lead Lucknow Super Giants in this year’s IPL.

Pat Cummins, the Australia captain, became the highest paid overseas player in the IPL when Kolkata Knight Riders bid $2.2m for his services at auction ahead of the 2021 season.

ILT20 franchises are free to negotiate directly with players, rather than bid via auction or draft. Top players will be offered $450,000 to play, with Jonny Bairstow leading the way for Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.

The wage bill for each of the six franchises in the ILT20 could be around $2.5m. Places will be set aside for UAE players, such as Rohan Mustafa, with salaries of $10,000 for them in the competition.

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The new South African competition will also launch in January. All six teams are offshoots of IPL franchises. No one will be earning more than Jos Buttler, who will get $500,000 to play for Paarl Royals.

Liam Livingstone, another English power-hitter and IPL millionaire, will also reportedly make $500,000 for playing in the South African competition.

The arrival of the ILT20 and South African leagues next year has squeezed the player pool for the Big Bash League. Top players such as D’Arcy Short can make around $240,000 a season in the Australian event.

Twelve players, including Rashid Khan, are listed for the overseas draft for Australia’s BBL next season. They will get around $234,000, no matter how many games they play

Pakistan’s leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan is also among the players listed for the BBL draft

Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam had a salary of $170,000 to play for Karachi Kings in the 2022 Pakistan Super League.

Shaheen Afridi also earned the top rate of a platinum contract player - $170,000 - in the PSL as he captained Lahore Qalandars to the title.

Global tourist Kieron Pollard is earning £125,000 to play for London Spirit in The Hundred. That equates to around $150,000.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who has never played for England, is also in the bracket of top earners in The Hundred. He gets $150,000 to play for Trent Rockets.

Bradley Wheal missed Scotland’s Cricket World Cup League 2 series against the UAE and the US this month, as he is part of London Spirit’s squad for The Hundred, where he gets $36,000.

In terms of dollars per minute, the UAE’s other league, the Abu Dhabi T10, offers enviable rates. The top-bracket earners get $50,000, with “icon” players like Chris Gayle offered more than that to feature in the past.

Indian short-format great Yuvraj Singh was said to be earning in excess of $200,000 when he made his cameo appearance for Maratha Arabians in the Abu Dhabi T10.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 10:01 AM