ECB introduces new two-year contracts for England players as women’s game advances in this professional era
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that 18 players have been awarded new England women’s central contracts. Alongside an increase in the value of the contracts, which will come into effect from February 1, 2017, the next wave of England women’s contracts will also, for the first time, include the introduction of two-year contracts, plus a new level of “rookie” contract.
“The awarding of two-year contracts represents another significant step forward in the professionalisation of the women’s game in this country,” explained ECB’s Director of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor.
“The global women’s game is evolving rapidly, and in order to ensure that professional cricket continues to be an attractive career option for talented female athletes, it’s important that we continue to properly invest in our players.
“The ECB is fully committed to the goal of supporting the England women’s team to become the world’s number one team. The pay increase and introduction of two-year contracts will give our players greater financial security and ensure they can be fully focused on the challenges that lie ahead: the ICC Women’s World Cup on home soil next summer, the Women’s Ashes in Australia and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2018”.
Middlesex and Surrey Stars left-arm spinner, Alex Hartley, is one of two players to be awarded their first ECB contract. Hartley enjoyed an impressive introduction to international cricket in 2017, which saw her return a record 13 wickets in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies in October.
Harltey is joined by the first recipient of a new level of “rookie” contracts: Beth Langston (Yorkshire and Loughborough Lightning) who made her ODI debut against Sri Lanka in November.
Three players have not had their central contracts renewed: former England women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards, and middle-order batsman Lydia Greenway, after they announced their retirement from international cricket earlier this year, and left-arm spinner, Rebecca Grundy.
England Women’s Head Coach, Mark Robinson, commented: “The women’s game is growing at a real pace, but still doesn’t have the financial security that the men’s county game offers a player from the England men’s team in the event that they lose their ECB central contract. We have a big couple of years coming up with two global events and a Women’s Ashes series in Australia, and it’s important that the players can look forward with some degree of certainty to focus on performing in those competitions.
“That said, we do still have space and freedom to grow – we have to be able to reward players at the right time – so we will continue to assess the central contracts list on an annual basis. The new level of “rookie” contract also gives us greater flexibility in this respect, allowing us to financially support players who sit just above the England Women’s Senior Academy squad, but who have not quite hit the level required to win a full central contract.
“Congratulations to Alex Hartley and Beth Langston on being awarded ECB contracts for the first time. Alex has been given a full central contract: her performances against the West Indies in the Caribbean were outstanding and testament to the hard work that she put in over the last 18 months.
“Beth really showed during the tour to Sri Lanka last month that she has the attitude, commitment and skill to be successful at an international level. She has been unlucky with injuries in the past, so hopefully she can now stay fit for a period of time and we will get to see how she can develop into a key bowler for us.
“I’m also happy to confirm that we have offered Sarah Taylor a new contract. Sarah is doing really well with her return to cricket plan after taking some time away from the game for health reasons. Her aim has always been to be back playing and available for selection for the World Cup next summer, and we’ll continue to offer her the support she needs to achieve that goal.
“Unfortunately professional sport sometimes necessitates tough decisions, and Rebecca Grundy has not had her central contract renewed. I’m sure she will aspire to play international cricket again.”