It’s difficult to disagree with players who refuse central contracts for franchise leagues: Stokes

Wood could miss three of the five India Tests in winter if he opts for the UAE T20 League 

Ben Stokes has stated that it is “hard to disagree” with players preferring franchise cricket to England’s central contract.

Mark Wood, an England fast bowler who has reportedly been offered GBP 500,000 to play in the UAE T20 league, recently told The Daily Telegraph that he will “wait and see” what comes out of the ECB’s central contract before making a decision. “… time away from home, the financial side of things now, there’s more at stake than just my love of playing for England,” he added.

If Wood accepts the offer, he will miss three of the five Tests in England, but Stokes is looking at things more pragmatically.

“Everyone’s at a different point in their life, not just in their career, where other things have to be thought about by the individual,” Stokes said ahead of his return to ODI action. “It’s difficult to disagree with someone who makes a decision because they believe it’s best not only for themselves but also for the future and security of their family.”

“We’ve got to understand, and I’ve got to understand as a captain, that there might be some decisions that players make, and I’m very comfortable and aware that something like that might happen.”

Jason Roy recently resigned from his England central contract to play in Major League Cricket in the United States, and many fear that this will be the trend in the future unless the central contract system is overhauled.

“We know that the whole landscape of cricket is changing,” Stokes said. “That is fantastic for both the players who are still in the game and the newcomers.” The opportunities that are now available to cricketers are incredible, and it is great for the sport.

“As more opportunities become available, more people will be drawn to the sport and attempt to make a career out of it.”