London:Former England captain Michael Vaughan fears the long-term prospects for the national side are being harmed by Twenty20 cricket.
Vaughan, who resigned this month as captain after England lost the third test and series against South Africa, told Wisden Cricketer magazine that the lucrative rewards offered by the shorter form of the game would tempt players away from the test arena.
"My gut feeling is that players will be gearing their game towards the Twenty20 format, more than the five-day format," Vaughan said. "The new generation of 15-20 year olds, are they going to gear themselves towards traveling the world for nine months of the year playing five-day cricket, or earn plenty by playing three-hour cricket a little bit in India and at home? I'm not too sure."
Prize money of US$20 million is at stake when England plays the Stanford Superstars in a one-off Twenty20 fixture in Antigua on November 1, with the winner taking all, while a reported US$6million is on offer at the proposed "Champions League" tournament, scheduled for Sept. 29 to Oct. 8 at a venue to be confirmed.
Salaries in another Twenty20 tournament, the annual Indian Premier League, were capped at US$5million for each squad. However, this still allows an average of US$200,000 per player for a month's cricket, a sum that dwarfs the wages on offer in the English domestic game.
"Suppose you're a young player and you suddenly come into the England team now, and within the first year you play two Stanfords and earn a million quid and get an IPL deal," Vaughan said. "Where's it going to go to? That's my fear for the longer format _ that the motivation of players will be more geared towards Twenty20 cricket."
Vaughan also feels English players are being marginalized by the number of players in county cricket who have British passports but are unable to represent England _ such as the Zimbabwean Grant Flower, who plays for Essex, and Kent's South African-born allrounder Martin van Jaarsveld.
As a result, Vaughan said, potential England players were not getting experience at "bowling at the death, bowling with the new ball, captaincy, batting under pressure."