Belfast Telegraph

Cricketers Johnston and Cusack go pro

Trent Johnston and Alex Cusack are Ireland’s first full-time cricketers.

Their names were confirmed yesterday by Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom at the farewell reception laid on by sponsors RSA, ahead of the squad’s departure for the World Cup Qualifying tournament in South Africa.

It is two less than was expected and one player fewer than Scotland but, according to Deutrom, Andre Botha is happy to continue playing on a retainer basis, along with the rest of the players in full-time employment outside cricket, such as school teachers Kyle McCallan and Andrew White, and Kevin O’Brien has a part-time contract with Middlesex and was lumped together with the five county professionals in the Ireland squad.

The fact that all five, captain William Porterfield (Gloucestershire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Niall O’Brien (Northants) and Gary Wilson (Surrey) will all be in Johannesburg for the duration of the qualifying tournament sends the squad off as hot favourites to reach the World Cup finals. For Johnston, Ireland’s “Captain Fantastic” at the 2007 finals in the West Indies, it is a remarkable about-turn.

A year ago this month, he announced he was retiring. from 50-over international cricket.

Belfast Telegraph

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