Steve Harmison: £9657 for each of the 24 wickets he took in...
On the day England went down to one of the most comprehensive defeats in recent years in Hamilton, a report in The Sunday Times has revealed that Steve Harmison, who has been roundly criticised for his performance in the match, earned almost £250,000 last year from his central contract with England. In that period Harmison, who retired for one-day cricket in 2006, played seven Tests, taking 24 wickets at 35.66.
While details of central contracts have until now been kept confidential, the ECB has revealed the amounts paid to counter speculation that leading players are not paid enough to see off offers from the Indian Premier League and the Indian Cricket League. The figures do not include personal endorsements or income from county contracts.
England give three different levels of contract. Band A is for players who play both Test and ODIs and also for captains; Band B is for senior players who play one or the other; band C is for junior and up-and-coming players.
Paul Collingwood, who played in all but one of England's 53 fixtures and captained the one-day and Twenty20 sides, was the highest-paid player, earning £465,000. Michael Vaughan, the Test captain, earned around £375,000, and Andrew Flintoff, who was sidelined for long periods with injury, earned around £320,000.
However, it will be Harmison's remuneration that will attract the most attention, given concerns over his form and his late arrival in New Zealand for the Test series because he wanted to attend the birth of his fourth child. He is on Band B contract which means he earns £145,000 a year before he bowls a ball in anger. He then gets £6000 for each home Test and £8400 for ones abroad, as well as a percentage of revenue from match sponsors. On top of this, he was paid bonuses for the three Tests he played which England won.
The Sunday Times also estimated that his Durham contract is worth £80,000pa, and he also has a newspaper column with the Daily Mail. On top of that, he wrote an Ashes diary with Justin Langer.
The sums paid compare favourably with those from other leading countries, although the amounts earned in some regions from personal endorsements can be much higher, and in some instances the fees on offer from the IPL dwarfs what boards can afford.