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Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 15:34 UK

Scots & Irish stars could go pro

By Mark Woods

Scotland captain Ryan Watson
Ryan Watson is having to miss games due to job demands

Scotland and Ireland could increase the number of their players under contract after receiving a cash boost from the International Cricket Council.

The ICC is increasing its funding to non-Test countries by 120%.

The Scottish and Irish games will now receive up to 500,000 each year, some of which will go to the leading performers in both nations.

"There will be more money in the pot to pay players," Cricket Scotland chief Roddy Smith told BBC Sport.

"It was a good deal for all the Associates and it will allow us to do a number of things, including more development work."

There have been previous calls for players from the two countries to gain extra cash in return for increased demands on their time on international duty.

The leading Associate countries now play a year-round schedule, with only Kenya currently boasting a contracted line-up.

A calendar which includes the Inter-Continental Cup, a variety of ICC-sponsored series and an increased number of one-day internationals, has previously been called "unrealistic" by Scotland captain Ryan Watson.

He has been forced to sit out this month's I-Cup encounters with Bermuda and Canada due to the conflicts between cricket and his day job.

Smith admits that many of the Saltires' largely amateur side will opt to continue in their chosen careers, while still receiving retainer payments for their services on the field under existing agreements.

However, some of the sums will be utilised to offset the salaries lost when taking time away from their regular employment, as well as improving the system of match fees.


"We will be able to put money in the pool to support the players in any case, whether they are under contract or not," Smith added.

"It's more likely that we'll be able to give contracts to some of our younger players, who aren't already on a career path, that would allow them to go full-time.

"So you could have more of them going abroad to play in the winter."

Some of the additional funding is contingent upon qualification for the 2011 ICC World Cup, the qualifiers for which will be held in Dubai next spring, as well as the 2009 World Twenty20.

Ireland were criticised for travelling without several of their first-choice side for this month's Lloyds TSB Tri-Series in Aberdeen against New Zealand and Scotland.

A number of regulars - including Irish captain Will Porterfield - opted to remain with their counties in England, a situation which the ICC is keen to resolve if the level of performances from the Associate nations is to be raised.

In total, the governing body is to pump around 150m into the worldwide development of cricket below the Full Member level.

see also
ICC unveils 150m global scheme
08 Jul 08 |  Cricket
County players back for Twenty20
03 Jul 08 |  Cricket
Kiwis ease to win over Scotland
03 Jul 08 |  Scotland
Hamilton century sees off Ireland
02 Jul 08 |  Scotland
Captain embarrassed by Irish flop
01 Jul 08 |  New Zealand

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