The ECB has confirmed to CRICKETher that despite England’s recent drubbing by Australia in the Ashes series, all of the current 18 professional contracts – which were due to expire in October – have been extended by 3 months.
When the contracts were originally announced in May last year, they were scheduled to run until October 2015. However, in order to bring them into line with the ECB’s financial year, the end-date has now been pushed back until the end of January 2016.
Players will be informed of any change to their status by the beginning of November, allowing them 3 months to prepare for the consequences, which in some cases could be calamitous. Unlike the men, there is really no option for the women to “parachute” back into county cricket; and although next year’s Women’s Cricket Super League will pay match fees, they won’t by any stretch of the imagination be a “living wage”.
The formal player performance review process is therefore set to be completed over the next few weeks, with the players being informed of their fate towards the end of October and official announcements forthcoming thereafter.
Will there be any changes?
Two contracted players – Tammy Beaumont and Tash Farrant – played no part whatsoever in this summer’s Women’s Ashes. 19-year-old Farrant, though, is clearly seen as “one for the future”, whilst Tammy Beaumont has had an increasing role in mentoring younger players, both as Academy captain and in a coaching role with the age-group “development” squads; so the likelihood has to be that both will be retained.
However, the ECB has always made it clear that 18 isn’t a magic number, so there could well be additions to the squad. The most obvious candidate is Fran Wilson, who has had a very good domestic season for Middlesex and was selected for (but didn’t actually play in) the Ashes Test.