Warren Deutrom on contracts
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom, speaking at the RSA farewell function for the team explained the rationale behind offering full-time contracts to both Alex Cusack and Trent Johnston.
"We have six players who are on contracts with English counties, as Kevin O'Brien has been offered one, so in addition to the two announced today, that brings the number to eight. If you think about the rest of the squad, then there's Andre who is in full-time employment, and has declined the option of taking a contract. Of course there's also Andrew White and Kyle McCallan who are vital members of the team, and they are both in full-time teaching careers. When you look at it in that context, there weren't that many options open to offering full-time contracts."
"We have different categories of contracts, so that there are options and opportunities for those in careers, those at county level, and those not established yet or emerging. We have a compensation scheme for employers, as well as a contract fee which isn't quite the same as a retainer. They will get paid depending on the amount of games they play. There will be an increased fee scale getting higher with the more games they play."
He also confirmed that there is a bonus scheme in place, starting with the World Cup Qualifiers next month, "Yes, the squad will be paid a bonus if they qualify from the tournament, and a further amount if they actually win the trophy. "
Depending on qualification, are there any plans to extend the contract scheme? "Yes, over the next few weeks I'll be in contact with not only Phil Simmons, but also the players about the possibility of extending the scheme to include one or two places for emerging talent. The thinking behind this will be the establishment of a pathway for young players to see Irish cricket as a career option. The type of player that this would be aimed at is someone who is in education at the moment, and wants to develop their ability and techncial skills, with a view to progression to the senior Ireland ranks."
"I'd like them to see this as a real career opportunity on a par with or above what counties can offer them. We can give them participation in World Cups, and One Day International cricket, which counties can't provide."
How did he envisage the role of a full-time contracted player? "That is something we're going to have to work on. At the moment there is so much going on in terms of prepaarations and matches, so they will be pretty much tied up until November with all the various fixtures. After that we'll talk about development and promotional work within Irish cricket, but there'll be plenty for them to work at."
With virtually everyone now on contracts of some sort, how much of an expenditure are Cricket Ireland outlaying? "We're investing around 400,000 Euros, which represents a doubling from last year. How can we do that? Well it's down to generous sponsorship from RSA, and increased investment from both Sports Councils and the ICC."
"I think it has to be done now if we want to progress Irish cricket to the next level. As well as the squad has performed, it should be remembered that we played 5 test nations in 2008 and lost all 5 ODI's. We want to be competitive and be winning some of those games, and I believe having as strong as squad as possible for those games, and I believe contracts is the way forward in achieving that."