In a big move, Cricket Ireland (CI) have introduced a new category of contract for women players towards a professional set-up. Last year, the apex body announced professional agreements for the first time with six players – Laura Delany, Kim Garth, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis and Celeste Raack.
Now, the same six players were offered deals for 2020 as well. However, Garth turned her contract down as she has already signed a 2-year contract with Cricket Victoria.
CI women’s head coach, Ed Joyce, acknowledged that Garth’s decision to turn down a contract was undoubtedly “a big blow” but claimed that the team is in the right place.
“We had hoped that she [Garth] could have helped us through the [World Cup] Qualifier in July before moving to Australia, but the postponement of the tournament ended that idea,” Joyce said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
“It is great the squad is back in training as of this month, and we’re all enjoying the chance to get back into some sort of normality. The players have come through the lockdown in good shape, and we are now turning our minds to what will hopefully be a rescheduled Qualifier in late 2020.
“The future is bright if we can get our on-field and off-field plans to succeed, but there is a lot of hard work ahead. We aren’t blind to the financial and resource constraints we are working with – but the willingness to push on is there from myself and the players, and Cricket Ireland has committed to grow the women’s game in the long-term,” added Joyce.
Apart from the abovementioned cricketers, 11 players have also been offered non-retainer contracts which come with a lot of perquisites like access to insurance, strength and conditioning support, health and lifestyle programmes, match fees for all internationals and compensation for loss of earnings during competition periods.
These 11 players are: Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Hannah Little, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray, and Louise McCarthy.
The High-Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, Richard Holdsworth, said that new privileges would help the women cricket to grow significantly.
“We are pleased that we can further invest in the senior women’s squad through these new benefits contracts. Given the nature and profile of our players, we needed to provide a greater level of support and service to the fitness, health, conditioning and, most importantly, access to services that they need year-round. The medical and healthcare coverage alone will provide some peace-of-mind to the squad, and we hope to continue to build on these in subsequent years,” said Holdsworth as quoted by Cricket Ireland official website.
“Despite these contracts being in place for several months, we had to delay the public announcement of women’s contracts until after the Kim Garth situation was concluded. Given the uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic and the rescheduling of the World Cup Qualifier, we will delay a decision on how to invest the residual funds. The funds may be able to provide additional contact hours with the players or additional warm-up preparation and matches, for example, once we know the timing of the Qualifier,” Holdsworth added.