Root rewarded with contract

Joe Root (AFP)
Joe Root (AFP)

London - Yorkshire and England batsman Joe Root was the new addition when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced their 11 centrally contracted players for 2013/14 on Tuesday.

Root, 22, featured throughout England's recent 3-0 home Ashes series win and scored a Test-best 180 in his side's crushing 347-run win over Australia in the second match of the series at Lord's in July.

Now an England regular across all three formats, he replaced Middlesex batsman Eoin Morgan as a centrally-contracted player.

The timing of Tuesday's announcement was significant, coming as it did a day before England are due to fly out to Australia for a return Ashes series starting next month.

There had been concerns that protracted talks would not be concluded by the time the players boarded the plane and would be a source of squad unrest.

Instead the make-up of the current deals will now run until 2019 -- although individual contracts will still last for 12 months to take account of form and fitness.

Meanwhile the terms are understood to have been enhanced from previous deals following claims by England's Professional Cricketers' Association back in February that England players were "substantially underpaid" compared to their Australian counterparts.

However, PCA chief executive Angus Porter said Tuesday: "I am pleased that we have secured a fair and appropriate long-term agreement, and have done so via amicable and constructive dialogue."

ECB managing director Hugh Morris added: "We are delighted to have concluded a six-year deal and to have all contractual issues resolved in advance of what we all hope to be another successful Ashes tour.

"We thank the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), Team England Player Partnership and the ECB Board for reaching this agreement which now allows the players to focus solely on cricket, not just during this tour, but for a considerable period beyond."

Meanwhile England national selector Geoff Miller said Root deserved his elevation to central contract status.

"Congratulations to Joe Root who is the one addition to the list of players awarded a central contract and this reflects the important role Joe has played for England since making his international debut last year and will I'm sure continue to play across all formats," Miller said.

The other players to be awarded central contracts were James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Test captain Alastair Cook, Steven Finn, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott.

England will head 'Down Under' bidding to win a fourth successive Ashes series -- something they last achieved in the 19th Century -- after successes at home (2009 and 2013) either side of a 3-1 win in Australia in 2010/11.

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