Cricket Ireland will offer professional contracts to some players in the women’s national team for the first time after a recommendation was passed at a recent board meeting.
The move will initially see a small number of players given part-time contracts for next year with more financial support planned in the coming years, according to Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom.
Deutrom said: “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.
“The professionalism shown by our senior women’s team during preparation, qualification and performance at the recent T20 World Cup was a demonstration that this side of our sport is ready to progress and grow.
“Like we did with the men’s side a number of years ago, we will now bring a measured approach to player contracts.
“A small number of part-time contracts will be offered in early 2019, with the plan to expand this programme over subsequent years.”
Deutrom also confirmed 19 contracts for their men’s national team in 2019, in which they will play a Test at Lord’s, host a tri-series featuring West Indies and Bangladesh, and compete in the qualification tournament for the 2020 World T20.
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England have won precisely one Test series in the Caribbean since 1968.