Scotland award pro deals
Captain hails "historic development for Scottish cricket"
Last Updated: December 19, 2008 2:28pm
Watson: Turning pro
Scotland have announced their first-ever central contracts in a move to boost professional numbers ahead of both the World Cup qualifying tournament and the World Twenty20 next year.
In a development described by captain Ryan Watson as "historic", Cricket Scotland handed professional contracts to their skipper as well as pace bowlers Dewald Nel and Gordon Goudie.
The trio will therefore join Kyle Coetzer (Durham) and Navdeep Poonia and Calum MacLeod (both Warwickshire) as fully-fledged professionals.
Scotland's winter training squad numbers 25 in all, with the remaining 19 members having been offered part-time contracts at three different levels.
The move ensures that the entire party is contracted to Cricket Scotland for the first time.
Watson said he believed it boosted their chances at both the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament, held in South Africa in the spring, and next summer's World Twenty20 tournament in England.
"This is truly a historic development for Scottish cricket, and I am proud to be able to lead this squad to the World Cup qualifier, and to show what we can
do in the T20 tournament in England next year," he said.
"Professionalism is the right move at this moment. It's the most important next step in the development of the game in Scotland - and it's an incentive for the younger lads who can now see the improved possibilities of making a career in the sport, if they work hard and perform well."
The professionalisation of the squad has been made possible by an increased grant of US$350,000 to Associate member countries from the International Cricket Council's high-performance programme.
Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith thanked the ICC for their financial help.
"The ICC have made a bold move in increasing the resources to all Associate members by a significant amount, with the higher-ranked members gaining the most," he explained.
"With the support of the ICC, sportscotland and our commercial partners - especially Lloyds TSB Scotland - we have grown our sport and business considerably in recent years.
"Scotland cricketers have, for a number of years, been amateurs competing on a professional stage.
"We have managed to move this situation forward slowly in recent years.
"But we hope, with this announcement, we are starting to offer our players career paths in the game - or an opportunity to play cricket alongside another career."