Jason Roy agrees to terminate the contract with the ECB to play Major League Cricket in the US

England whiteball players are negotiating waivers from their ECB contracts to take up lucrative offers to play in the inaugural season of Major League Cricket (MLC) in the United States.

England players on full central contracts are unlikely to appear in MLC this year, but Jason Roy – who has an incremental deal with the ECB – has confirmed plans to terminate his contract to play in the league.

In a statement, the ECB said: “England white ball batsman Jason Roy has informed the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that he intends to enter into an agreement with Major League Cricket in the US later this summer. The ECB has agreed that he will be in the competition on the condition that he surrenders the remainder of his incremental contract with the ECB, to which both parties have agreed.

“The ECB would like to clarify that this decision will not affect Jason’s selection for England teams in the future. We are confident that Jason is committed to English cricket.”

Reece Topley, Roy’s team-mate in Surrey and England, is considering the merits of the same move, although his decision may depend on his fitness following shoulder surgery last month.

MLC will take place July 13-30 at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas and has significant backing from both India and Australia: four of the six franchises have investors who own IPL teams, while Cricket Victoria and Cricket New South Wales have stakes in the other TWO.

The league’s inaugural season sees a minor clash with the English summer: the semi-finals and finals of the T20 Blast take place on 15 July, while there are two rounds of County Championship matches between Finals Day and the start of the Hundred to 1 August. But there are concerns within the English game that MLC is likely to expand in the future and could clash directly with the Hundred.

As a result, the ECB will not issue No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) that allow contracted players to operate in MLC. And while players probably won’t negotiate a release of full white-ball contracts to play in the US, such a move would make financial sense for those with incremental deals.

The ECB’s incremental contracts are worth around £66,000 a year and effectively supplement provincial salaries. Six players have such deals for the 2022-23 contract cycle: Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Matthew Potts, Roy, Topley and David Willey.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Surrey expects Roy to play MLC – most likely for LA Knight Riders – between the end of their Blast season and the start of the Hundred, and that he must agree to a release from his incremental contract to do so. When Surrey reaches Finals Day, Roy will be available to them and miss the start of MLC.

Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2023, Roy is said to have held informal talks with the franchise regarding the possibility of a contract to play for their teams in other leagues including MLC. His rep declined to comment.

Topley has not yet signed a deal to play in MLC, but would also consider his options. After leaving the IPL early with a shoulder injury, he underwent surgery last month and his contractual decisions will also depend on the progress of his rehabilitation.

Topley outlined his white-ball ambitions on Surrey’s live stream last week: “If you had asked me when I was young I would have said I would love to play 100 Tests for England,” he said. “Now, if you ask me, [I’d say] I would like to go to as many IPLs as I can. I don’t think the stigma around saying you want to play and be successful in white-ball cricket is that bad.”

Contracts in England run from October to September, so requesting an incremental deal release at this stage of the year would cost players around £20,000. Each MLC franchise has a purse of $1.15 million (around £930,000) – to cover between 16 and 19 players, nine of which could be from overseas – so any deals would avoid the loss of revenue from leaving a contract in England.

The ECB is in the process of revamping its central contracting system for the 2023-24 season to adapt to the growth of franchise leagues, and any decisions to leave incremental contracts will not hold players on the roster.

Following other reports in various media outlets on Thursday, Roy issued a statement on his social media accounts saying: “Following a bit of unwanted speculation over the last 24 hours, I wanted to clarify that I am not and will never walk away from England”.

“Representing my country remains my proudest moment as a professional cricketer. I hope to play for England for many years to come, that remains my priority.

“I had clear and supportive conversations with the ECB about participating in Major League Cricket. The ECB was happy for me to play in the league as long as they didn’t have to pay me for the rest of the contract year.

“As a single format player without a central contract I wanted to take the opportunity to play this competition as there are currently no scheduling conflicts with England. As an England player it benefits me to play competitive cricket as much as possible.

“To be very clear, my priority is English cricket, especially with a World Cup coming up. It is the greatest honor for me, and for any player, to receive a cap to play for their country.”

A spokesperson for the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) told ESPNcricinfo: “This is covered by the expanded standard game contract agreed by the ECB, provinces and the PCA. It is entirely up to the employers to determine whether players will be a NOC during the season. to get. “

Several leading T20 players including Marcus Stoinis, Quinton de Kock, Wanindu Hasaranga, Anrich Nortje and Glenn Phillips have already been revealed as overseas signings in MLC, with Trent Boult and Adam Zampa expected to join them in the coming weeks.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98