Wed, Jun 27, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Irish cricket reaffirms commitment to pro era


Irish cricket officials insist they are as keen as their players to usher in a fully professional era.

Australia-born batsman Jeremy Bray, who scored a century in Ireland's thrilling World Cup tie against Zimbabwe in Jamaica and then helped the amateur side knock out Pakistan in the shock of the tournament, branded the Irish Cricket Union a "joke" in a weekend newspaper interview.

Bray has since made himself unavailable for Ireland, saying it costs him money to play for his adopted country, and didn't feature in last weekend's one-day international defeats against India and South Africa at Stormont.

Union chief executive Warren Deutrom said that he sympathized, but pleaded for patience until the end of this week's three-match India-South Africa one-day series being staged at Stormont.

"The fundamental issue is that we can't complete and finalize the contracts for the players until we know we are able to satisfy what they are requesting in terms of additional monies," Deutrom said.

"We can't do that until we know how much of a budget we have, and we won't know that until this current series of games is completed," he said.

"Do we want to be able to pay the players? Absolutely, of course we do, and it's the fundamental route to success," he said.

"I understand there's a significant degree of frustration among players -- I completely understand that," he said.

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