Coronavirus: Morgan keen to help in COVID-19 fight, disputes England pay cut claims

By Sports Desk April 01, 2020
Eoin Morgan Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan is "open to absolutely everything" to help efforts against the coronavirus pandemic but believes England's cricketers are entitled to more guidance amid a public clamour for them to take a temporary pay cut.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a £61million support package on Tuesday to address "the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history".

A reduction in salary's for England's centrally contracted players is not yet a part of that effort, although ESPNcricinfo reported ECB chief executive Tom Harrison had written to his counterpart at the Professional Cricketers' Association, Tony Irish, to suggest the country's leading cricket stars should take a lead on this matter.

Harrison himself has volunteered to take a 25 per cent reduction in salary, with the executive management team and board taking a 20 per cent cut for the two months starting April 1. Some staff will also be asked to consent to furloughing under the UK government's coronavirus scheme, before having their salaries topped back up to 100 per cent by the ECB. 

Ben Stokes tweeted to strongly dispute the suggestion he and his team-mates had elected not to take a pay cut, while Morgan told reporters on Wednesday that he had not seen the letter.

"I'm extremely willing to help where I know it's going to make a difference," he said.

"In the extremely uncertain times at the moment, where nobody seems to have any answers of the actual impact it will have on international cricket, English cricket, county cricket, I'm open to absolutely everything.

"I'm very aware how serious the situation is, I'm very aware that everybody will be affected from top to toe within the game and in every sport.

"I'm open to helping where and when I can."

Morgan explained he felt finding the appropriate response was complicated for cricket players because their immediate plans are in such a state of flux.

"The difficult thing we find at the moment when we talk as players is that we can't answer that – we can't answer what is the best way to help out as players," he said.

"Is it to engage on social media? Is it to engage in other streams? Is it just to sit back and let this pass and hopefully we'll play?

"In relation to what we're trying to do and play cricket, get back out on the field, it seems to be quite a while away. The advice that we will be continually getting over the coming weeks is the important stuff."

One of Morgan's World Cup-winning colleagues to have taken a pro-active step in this regard is Jos Buttler.

The Lancashire wicketkeeper has put his shirt from last year's dramatic final triumph over New Zealand at Lord's up for auction on eBay, with the highest bid already in excess of £65,000.

Buttler's shirt is signed by the entire England team and the proceeds will be donated to the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity, to fund life-saving equipment to help those affected by COVID-19.

"It's an incredibly kind gesture," Morgan said. "Certainly, I'm not one for holding on to memorabilia and if I can help out in any way by auctioning off or donating to charity, I do what I can.

"Other people are different. We've seen during the Australian bushfires, where Shane Warne auctioned his baggy green cap for a million dollars or something ridiculous.

"The impact that can have on so many lives, as opposed to sitting in somebody's drawer and just having it as a bit of a trophy – personally that's something I don't understand.

"Jos, I suppose, is one of those guys. I think his shirt will go for a lot of money but the gesture in itself, to help aid and buy new equipment, I think is outstanding."

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