Dubai: In a first, Cricket Ireland on Tuesday announced that they will be offering professional contracts to women cricketers.
The move comes in the wake of the Irish women’s team’s early exit from the recent International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup.
“We are delighted to become one of a very select number of sports in Ireland to offer professional contracts to women players. It has been an ambition of ours for a number of years, and we now find ourselves in the position to push ahead with this much-needed improvement to our sport,” ICC quoted Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, as saying.
A small number of part-time contracts will be offered in early 2019, and subsequently, the programme will be expanded in the near future.
“The professionalism shown by our senior women’s team during preparation, qualification and performance at the recent ICC T20 World Cup was a demonstration that this side of our sport is ready to progress and grow,” Deutrom added.
Recognising the necessity to ensure that Irish players keep pace with the top tier of teams, Ireland board’s performance director Richard Holdsworth said: “The standard of Irish women’s cricket has increased significantly in recent times, but so has the standard of all of the world’s top teams. We need to introduce new measures like this to remain competitive against the world’s best and to push our game forward.”