Perth: Jun 24, 2011
Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes Cricket Australia (CA) has ruined its chances of returning to the number one ranking with its increasing obsession towards Twenty20 format.
The 43-year-old added that the governing body is just paying lip service to its mission statement about the "primacy of Test cricket".
Arthur, who is currently coaching Western Australia, is one of many state coaches who have been left bemused by CA's decision to take money from the Sheffield Shield and one-day contracts and allocate it to the Big Bash.
"To be honest it has been very difficult with the amount of money available to keep all your squad happy, and personally I think it's the wrong way round," said Arthur.
States' budgets for Shield and one-dayers have been cut from US$ 1.5m to US$ 1m for the summer while the Big Bash sides have US$ 1.2m for a competition that lasts six weeks.
Last season a Sheffield Shield player was able to earn up to US$ 140,000 a season. Now that has been cut to US$ 115,000 maximum and the minimum contract has been slashed by US$ 10,000.
"If we're serious about getting Australia to the No. 1 Test playing side in the world, we should be reflecting that in our salary caps and budgets," Arthur told ESPNcricinfo.
"Your biggest salary cap should be your state contracts, with the smaller salary cap being your Big Bash.
"You can (feel the squeeze) just through the salary caps that we have to work with. You're getting a bigger salary cap for six weeks' work over the holiday period than you are for trying to make yourself a Test cricketer. I think that's the wrong way round," he added.
The move comes after Test opener Simon Katich was cast off the CA contract list, which is littered with less talented players.