Melbourne:Australia's top cricketers were awarded a 13.1 percent increase in their retainers just hours after a shocking first-round exit from the World Twenty20 in England.
Australia was bundled out of the T20 championship after back-to-back losses to the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Non-Test member nations Ireland and Netherlands advanced in the tournament.
It was a woeful start to a four-month tour to England, including the five-Test Ashes series, for the world's No. 1-ranked test team and three-time defending World Cup champion in the 50-over format.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association belatedly released detail of the memorandum of understanding for the next two seasons to international media on Wednesday.
"It is critically important to us that we pay what the game can afford _ and in so doing, that Australian cricket maintains an appropriate balance between its investment in elite cricket and its investment in grassroots cricket," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement. "The new MOU does this. Once again, the agreement is in many ways like a partnership and delivers CA and the ACA an outcome which offers the players more while also increasing Australian cricket's investment in game development."
Finalization of the two-year agreement was reached on Tuesday after both parties decided a four-year deal was unworkable in the economic climate.
Under the new deal, skipper Ricky Ponting and five other players will get a fixed contract, guaranteeing their tiered retainers plus match payments for every Australia match.
So even if they're injured or fail to win selection for a test match, limited-overs international or Twenty20 international, the top six centrally contracted players will get the match payment.
There is also a separate "marketing pool" of around 3 million Australian dollars ($2.4 million) per annum for the players to split depending on their marketability, assessed by an independent company.
Australian Cricketers' Association chief Paul Marsh said the top players would earn in excess of A$1.5 million ($1.21 million) a year.
At the other end of the scale for the 25 centrally contracted players, the minimum base retainer will increase from A$180,000 ($145,000) this season to A$210,000 ($169,000) in 2010-11 with two 13.1 percent increases figured into the agreement over two years.
Match payments will increase marginally from A$13,000 ($10,450) to A$13,500 ($10,850) per test over two years. Over the same time, match fees for an ODI will increase from A$5,200 ($4,200) to A$5,400 ($4,340) and for a T20 from A$3,900 ($3,140) to A$4,050 ($3,255).
The number of player appearances for internationals is expected to be around 15-30 in 2009-10 and 18-30 in 2010-11.
Retainers and match payments will also increase for players with provincial contracts. Australia's six state associations are allowed to contract between 16-20 players, in addition to 3-8 players on rookie contracts.
The "Players Payment Pool will increase from 25 percent to 26 percent of Cricket Australia's revenue, projected to be worth A$96.2 million ($77.3 million) over two years of this agreement. The PPP for 2008-09 season is A$39.9 million ($32 million).