Ponting to get lion's share of Oz cricketers' 20.3 million dollar bonus windfall

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Melbourne, Nov.8 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting will get the lion's share of a 20.3 million dollar bonus windfall in spite of his team losing the Ashes series to England this year and a tumble down the Test rankings.

A new pay deal is set to deliver an average of a million dollars a year to each of the 25 centrally contracted players.

Ponting was also paid an estimated one million dollars bonus last month, as all state and national players contracted since 2005 received an extra payment of about 16 per cent of their total income, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The payment is the result of Cricket Australia earning significantly more than expected over the past four years.

About 300 current and former players shared in the bonus, with some state representatives receiving more than 100,000 dollars.

Former Australian players such as Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Justin Langer - who were contracted for at least the first half of the four-year period - shared in the windfall.

And Damien Martyn is also understood to have received a hefty payment of at least 100,000 dollars, despite walking out of the Test team midway through the 2006-07 Ashes campaign.

The bonus payments were made because CA's revenue was about 100 million dollar higher than the 478 million dollars forecast in 2005 when the player deal was struck with the Australian Cricketers' Association.

"It is a credit to Cricket Australia and the players that the game has grown so much in the past few years. There has been an upward adjustment because revenue was higher than forecast," ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.

Under the deal with CA, contracted players receive a quarter of all income generated by Australian cricket. But there is a provision to pay more if income is greater than the forecast.

Ponting is Australia's highest paid player and receives up to two million dollars a year from his CA contract. Endorsements and other deals are likely to push his annual income to five million dollars or more. (ANI)

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