The focus of the global cricket landscape is shifting, with the T20 format increasingly dominating the international schedule.
With that in mind, it’s worth looking at where the money is – and who the best paid T20 players are around the globe.
What are the ranges and the average pay in the world’s leading T20 leagues?
Indian Premier League (IPL)
It comes as no surprise that the IPL – the world’s longest-running T20 league – has the most funding behind it.
The IPL Auction attracts the attention of the cricket world each year due to the sheer, mind-boggling paychecks that the highest-earning players fetch. So let’s take a look at just how much cash the IPL offers.
As of the 2023 edition of the IPL, each team’s squad is able to be occupied by up to 25 players, with a total player salary cap of ₹95 crore (950 million) – over $17.475 million in AUD.
This means the average tournament salary for an IPL player is just under $700,000 AUD – an incredible amount of money for a player to receive.
The base price, however, is lower than the average figure due to how much the highest-paid players earn. As of the 2023 tournament, the IPL player base price is $270,000 AUD.
International League T20 (ILT20)
On the contrary to the IPL, The UAE-based ILT20 league is one of the newest leagues in the world, but is already the second most lucrative in terms of its top player salaries.
The maximum wage a player can earn in a season in the ILT20 is roughly $671,000 AUD, which consists of the maximum salary bracket of $507,000 AUD, plus a further loyalty bonus of $164,000 AUD which can be triggered at the discretion of the franchise.
The total salary cap for ILT20 franchises is $3.7 million AUD – an average salary of just over $207,000 AUD across the 18-player squads.
Big Bash League (BBL)
The BBL is fresh in the headlines when it comes to player salaries, as it recently announced a boost of nearly 60 per cent to each team’s salary cap, which will come into effect ahead of the tournament’s 13th season at the end of 2023.
The player salary cap for BBL clubs has been elevated from $1.9 million to $3 million – a substantial increase, and one that could be a significant boon to how the league attracts overseas players.
The introduction of the Overseas Player Draft prior to the most recent season allowed the league to attract some big names to its ranks. The increase in the player salaries – which will see ‘platinum’-level talent earn $420,000 for a full season, and ‘gold’-level talent earn $300,000 – could be a large factor in helping boost player interest in the league.
The $3 million player salary cap, alongside the 18-player squad, now means that the average player wage is up to $167,000.
SA20 (South Africa)
Another competition new to the T20 scene at the beginning of 2023, the SA20 league has plenty of funding behind it.
The teams’ salary caps for the inaugural season were competitive in comparison to the BBL and ILT20. A team-wide cap of just over $2.7 million AUD means the average player salary across a 19-member squad is just shy of $144,000.
South African young gun Tristan Stubbs was the top-paid player, fetching a contract worth approximately $740,000 AUD in the player auction, while top-paid marquee signings Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone earned over $650,000 for the season.
The Hundred (Men’s)
It’s not technically a T20 competition, but the recent introduction of The Hundred to the English cricket summer has seen another franchise-based white-ball cricket competition added to the global mix.
The Men’s draft in March saw the top-paid players – including Aussies Tim David, Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh – selected for a handsome $230,000, while the players in the lowest salary band will earn $55,000 in the upcoming season.
Each franchise has the ability to select 15 players with a salary cap of £1,000,000 (approx $1.84 million AUD), meaning the average player wage is over $122,000.
Major League Cricket (MLC)
With its inaugural season having kicked off in July, The MLC has taken T20 cricket – and some stars from around the globe – to the U.S.A.
Aussie internationals Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Tim David featured as some of the more familiar names in the MLC‘s inaugural season. International stars Anrich Nortje, Trent Boult and Rashid Khan were also on board.
Each of the six franchises had a salary cap of $1.15 million USD (just shy of $1.7 million AUD), and with between 16 and 19 spots to fill in each team’s squad, the average salary across an MLC squad will be between $89,000 and $106,000 AUD.
Pakistan Super League (PSL)
Having just completed its eighth season, Pakistan’s domestic T20 league is going strongly, though its ability to attract a strong cohort of international talent could be affected by the recent emergence of the ILT20 and SA20 leagues.
However, the player salaries from the eighth season are still reasonably competitive compared to many T20 leagues. Players in the ‘platinum’ salary band earned over $254,000 for the season, while players the lowest-paying ‘emerging’ salary bracket – perhaps the equivalent of a rookie contract – earned approximately $11,000 for the season.
Across the whole squad, the player salary cap is roughly $1.42 million, meaning its 20 players earn an average of $71,000 as their season wage.
Global T20 Canada (GT20)
Made famous for hosting Aussie stars Steve Smith and David Warner during their international bans after the sandpaper scandal in 2018, The GT20 tournament in Canada is boasting some big international names for its 2023 tournament.
The highest-tier players taken in the league’s draft will earn $70,000 CAD ($77,800 AUD) for the season, while Canadian Under-19 players, who fall under the lowest salary band, will earn $8,500 CAD ($9,450 AUD).
Each franchise has a dedicated salary cap of $579,500 CAD ($644,000 AUD), meaning the average salary across a 16-player squad is approximately $36,000 in the local currency, or $40,000 Australian dollars.
Caribbean Premier League (CPL)
Like many other T20 leagues, the salary cap for the CPL was lowered in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The salary cap as of the 2020 season was $545,500 USD (currently $824,000 AUD), a 30% reduction on previous seasons.
South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir is currently the highest-paid player in the league, with a contract worth $317,000 AUD. Tahir’s contract is nearly double the group of the next highest-paid players, which includes BBL favourite Mujeeb ur Rahman, and West Indian stalwarts Andre Russell and Rovman Powell. These contracts are worth just shy of $170,000 per season.
CPL squads range from between 19-21 players, meaning the average salary across a squad is between $39,200 and $43,300.
Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)
Player salaries in the BPL are organised into tiers, with seven salary levels for domestic players and five for international players.
Domestic player salaries range from between ৳500,000 ($7,000 AUD) and ৳8,000,000 ($112,000 AUD), while the pay packets for international players range from ৳1,875,000 ($26,000 AUD) to ৳7,500,000 ($105,000 AUD).
BPL squads range from between 24-26 players in number, and the median salary tier across the league is approximately ৳2,925,000 ($41,000 AUD).
This includes both domestic and international player salaries, however the median domestic player salary is ৳2,000,000 ($28,000 AUD), and the median international player salary ৳3,750,000 ($53,000 AUD).
T20 (Vitality) Blast
The T20 Blast, commercially known as the Vitality Blast, is not a franchise-based T20 league, but is connected to the various Counties in England’s domestic cricket system.
Therefore, player and team salaries for the Vitality Blast are connected to the County Cricket salaries rather than separate salary caps (like the Big Bash League).
Similarly to the Vitality Blast, player wages in New Zealand’s T20 league are determined based on a cricketer’s domestic or international contract.
How much are women’s T20 cricketers earning?
Women’s Premier League (WPL)
As the IPL is the most financially lucrative men’s T20 league, it’s again unsurprising that the Women’s Premier League is the highest-paying women’s T20 competition.
Despite having only completed its inaugural season earlier this year, WPL contracts boast some eye-catching figures – ones that put some men’s T20 leagues to shame.
Indian star Smriti Mandhana was the highest-earning player on the night of the inaugural draft, purchased by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for $593,000 AUD.
Aussie all-rounder Ash Gardner wasn’t far behind, sold to the Gujarat Giants for $558,000 and becoming the highest-earning Australian in the draft.
The team salary cap for the inaugural WPL season was just under $2.1 million AUD, meaning the average salary throughout an 18-player squad was just over $116,000.
Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL)
As with the Men’s Big Bash League, the WBBL has benefited from a salary cap increase, with the team-wide spending cap doubling ahead of its ninth season later this year.
The WBBL salary cap now sits at $732,000 with the league’s top players to earn up to $133,000 per season thanks also to an International Player Draft being introduced, mirroring the inaugural Draft in the Men’s BBL last season.
‘Platinum’-level players – the top tier – selected in the WBBL Draft will earn $110,000 per season, with gold, silver, and bronze-tier players to earn $90,000, $65,000 and $40,000 respectively.
Each WBBL squad holds only 15 players, meaning the average player salary, now with the doubled salary cap, is $48,800 per season.
The Hundred (Women’s)
While the prize money for the Women’s Hundred tournament is the same as the Men’s Hundred, there’s still a discrepancy in the player salaries.
The 2023 draft saw the top players – including Aussie hard-hitters Alyssa Healy and Grace Harris – selected for $57,000 AUD, while the lowest-paid players will earn $13,800.
Each team in the Women’s Hundred has a salary cap of £250,000 ($460,000 AUD), meaning the average salary across a 15-player squad is just shy of $31,000.