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Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Scots trio handed central deals

Ryan Watson
Watson is one of three full-timers to be based in Scotland

Ryan Watson, Dewald Nel and Gordon Goudie will become the first full-time cricketers based in Scotland.

The trio have been offered central contracts by Cricket Scotland after funding was made available by the International Cricket Council.

Nineteen players in the Scotland squad have also been offered part-time professional deals.

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said the move was "a positive step forward" for the game.

Kyle Coetzer at Durham and Warwickshire pair Navdeep Poonia and Calum MacLeod already have professional contracts.

They will now be joined by Watson, Nel and Goudie with the remaining 19 members of the winter training squad being offered part-time contracts at three different levels, to mesh with their existing alternative employment plans.

Cricket Scotland said the 25-man squad would in effect be professional cricketers preparing for the crucial ICC World Cup qualifying tournament in South Africa in April, followed by the World Twenty20 Championships in England in June.

Smith said he was delighted to offer the players professionals terms and believed that the move would improve Scottish cricket.

This is truly a historic development for Scottish cricket

Ryan Watson

"Over the past five years we've progressed year on year and it's been a long-held ambition of ours to have a small group of full-time players playing in Scotland and we've managed to achieve that," he told BBC Sport.

"We're still a long way away from where we need to be to compete on the professional and international stage year in, year out, but it's definitely a positive step forward."

Scotland captain Ryan Watson said: "This is truly a historic development for Scottish cricket.

"And I'm 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.

"It's 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."

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see also
Stander earns first Scotland call
10 Oct 08 |  Scotland

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