Irish cricket for the first time will have its full-time professional women’s players in 2022 as part of an investment programme declared by Cricket Ireland.
A pledge to invest €1.5 million in women’s cricket in Ireland has seen 20 professional agreements offered, seven of which are full-time agreements, nine part-time, and four non-retainers.
All full-time contracts will begin this month, which means Ireland will have the nation’s first-ever full-professional women’s cricketers progressing into the 2022 summer.
The part-time agreements are designed to assist players who are in education, providing the financial support to fund their training, development and summer playing schedule.
“The work behind-the-scenes to get to this point has – in reality – been three years in the making,” Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, stated.
“Coming off the back of the team’s performance at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2018, we – as an organisation – committed ourselves to a journey to professionalise women’s cricket. It was not only a good thing to do, it was the right thing to do.”
“Women’s cricket’s time has come around the world – we’ve seen the incredible growth and professionalization of the women’s game across several major nations like Australia, England and India and the strong focus on female cricket in the new ICC strategy.”
“It’s now Ireland’s turn.”
The total €1.5 million declared on Thursday, 10th of March, depicts a three-fold augment on spending from 2019.
“It is important to note that today’s announcements are not a case of ‘done and dusted’,” Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, stated.
“This is not a final destination. This is just the start of our new era. In 2021 our women’s senior side qualified for the ICC Women’s Championship – we don’t want to just compete in this competition once, we want to stay there. We want to entrench ourselves in the top ranks of the women’s game.”
“Today may be the culmination of three years work, but it also represents the first day of a new project. A project to keep us in the top tier and to not only participate, but truly compete against the top nations.”
Furthermore, the authentication of the 20 playing agreements, Cricket Ireland have vouched that head coach Ed Joyce has concurred a three-year extension to his deal.
And Joyce will look after a busy summer, with Ireland to host Australia, South Africa and Pakistan in a hard-pressed schedule.