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Hussain: White-ball only county deals ‘a worry’

Former England captain Nasser Hussain admits that players signing white-ball only contracts with counties is a worry and has urged the ICC to keep an eye on first-class and Test cricket.

Hussain, who played 96 Tests between 1990 and 2004, was speaking after Adil Rashid and Alex Hales, who are both regulars members of England’s limited-overs squads, signed white-ball only deals with Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire respectively.

Both players have effectively ruled themselves out of playing Test cricket and Hussain feels more could follow suit as players could earn more playing T20 franchise tournaments around the world.

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Hussain told Sky Sports: “It reflects the changing face of international cricket at the moment. All of these franchises and domestic teams we have, they’re just making business decisions.

“They’re doing the maths – what can I get in a year and they’ve said by giving up red-ball cricket in England they can probably make more money travelling the world playing white-ball cricket.

“It’s a worry for the game, definitely, especially now it seems to be getting younger and younger.

“A few years ago, the likes of (Brendon) McCullum and (Kevin) Pietersen were retiring into an IPL sunset and taking the cash and you couldn’t blame them – it was like a little gold pot at the end of their career.

“Then it got a little bit younger and there were worries about AB de Villiers and some superstars of the game, just drifting away. But now it’s getting even younger – Rashid is 30, Hales is 29.

“The other option would have been to stay, try to fight and get your Test match place back. First-class cricket – in particular in England – should be worried and concerned.”

Asked if more players could follow Rashid and Hales, Hussain fears the worst and has urged cricket’s governing body to not take there eye off the longer format of the game.

Hussain continued: “Everyone’s talking about T20 cricket, simply because given the option of do you want to work half the time, get paid double the money, go round the world playing cricket, see your family quite a bit more and it seems to be more fun.

“This is what youngsters and the future looks like I’m afraid and I urge the ICC and ECB to keep an eye on first-class cricket, to keep an eye more importantly on Test match cricket.”