Human resources expertise is coming to the aid of the England cricket team as new contracts are finalised for the top players.
Between 12 and 16 top players will opt out of their county contracts and be employed directly by the England and Wales Cricket Board. They could double their salary and earn up to £70,000.
Mike Atherton, who last week blasted county cricket for serving "no useful purpose", is certain to be among those selected.
England tour director Simon Pack is discussing the details with the players in South Africa, said English Cricket Board personnel manager Lesley Cook.
The new system means that, for the first time, the England coach and captain will have first call on the top players.