Rolling contracts, a golfaholic and another kick-about injury

The annual impasse over the signing of central contracts is on the verge of being consigned to history. Extensive negotiations between the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board have culminated in the drawing up of a new framework for the award of the deals. Although the contracts remain 12 months in length, they will be allocated on a rolling basis for the next three years (mirroring common practice in the business world). The drastically-delayed signing of the 2009-10 contracts – which were first presented last September – is expected to take place within a fortnight and therefore kick-start the new system. ECB are understood to have committed themselves to the new structure until 2013 – the year their current £300million Sky broadcasting deal is up for renewal – when it is expected to be reviewed.

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Paul Collingwood’s move to ISM’s stable could help him gain the extra percentages perennially pursued by sportsmen in their bids to improve their game. For teaming up with close friend and former England captain Michael Vaughan would only have been part of the attraction for confessed golfaholic Collingwood. The chance to mingle among the world’s leading players – including Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen – will no doubt have been equally enticing. A member at both his local course Slaley Hall and Loch Lomond, the 34-year-old has been considered the England team’s king of the fairways for a while. But Collingwood himself concedes Andrew Strauss has recently surpassed him as number one, and Craig Kieswetter has proved a competitive challenger in recent months, so any expert tips will be welcomed.

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Pre-match kickabouts show no sign of abating around the county circuit despite Ryan Sidebottom becoming the latest victim to be sidelined by a football injury. The damage to Ashes hopeful Sidebottom’s knee was not in the same league as that incurred by Nottinghamshire team-mate Mark Wagh, who was ruled out for half a season while at Warwickshire, or Joe Denly, who was crocked by team-mate Owais Shah while on England duty last year. Having passed a fitness test to face former county Yorkshire at Headingley – which meant he only missed the Division One defeat to Somerset – Sidebottom said: “Everything is hunky dory now. It was down to bad control, I think.”

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Medical checks on Yorkshire opener Joe Sayers have thankfully revealed no more serious diagnosis than a virus and he will turn out for Huddersfield League club Hoylandswaine this weekend. Sayers’ second team county comeback last week was disturbingly aborted on the first afternoon of a three-day match against Worcestershire at Todmorden when Yorkshire batting coach Kevin Sharp found him asleep in the dressing room approximately one hour after he had left the field to use his steroid inhaler. The 26-year-old, an asthma sufferer in his teens, has since undergone chest X-rays and consulted specialists, who have advised that the results of tests are consistent with a chest infection. Sayers has suffered from severe fatigue, headaches and restricted breathing since pulling out of the drawn Roses contest at Old Trafford on June 28 before play on the opening morning.

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Angus Fraser is not the only member of his family engaged in transfer talks this August. Big Gus’ high-profile squad-shaping as director of cricket at Middlesex includes attempts to retain the out-of-contract Eoin Morgan and sign Kevin Pietersen. Meanwhile, second cousin Michael Tonge, a Premier League footballer with Stoke, is set for a season-long loan to either Nottingham Forest or Derby.

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