Cricket Ireland prepares the ground for more testing times

Irish status grows with O’Brien’s century, Jagger’s bling and Pakistan’s gravitas

Ireland and Pakistan teams after day 5 of the Test match at Malahide. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Ireland and Pakistan teams after day 5 of the Test match at Malahide. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

On a windy, rainy first day last Friday, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom was wearing his stoic, philosophical face. Palms open, collar up; the gods had spoken.

“All I can say is of course it’s disappointing but I don’t want to go around with a massively long face, projecting misery because it isn’t that, we’re still hugely proud and there are still four days left in the match to go – and in the record book, who knows, it might say we took the match to the fifth day,” he said.

It soon became a Kevin O’Brien-inspired silk purse from a sodden sow’s ear. But Irish cricket has no intention of halting the charge.

The €1 million investment to stage the first Test match against Pakistan over five days was never meant to balance in the profit and loss accounts.

As well as remaining “hopeful” of a Test match in Lords, future plans include attracting all the biggest names in the game. An announcement on that will be made in the coming weeks.

There is also the proposed move to a site in the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, where cricket will have a permanent home in addition to the other venues.

“If we get some funding this year, maybe start building next year and that takes us into 2019,” said Deutrom.

“Maybe two or three years to actually make sure it’s ready for our first international ball. I’d say 2022, which is the last year of fixtures that we’re able to predict in this Future Tours Programme.”

More venues

IrelandMalahide

“About a fifth of those will be tests,” added Deutrom. “We hope to announce next week who the home fixtures will be against, because we are still in the final throes of negotiations; the future tours programme, with all the other nations involved, is a huge jigsaw puzzle.

“It is not one of those where you can do one at a time but if one moves, everyone moves. You can’t announce one thing until everything is decided.”

Mick Jagger’s attendance on Sunday gave the match bling. Pakistan afforded status and Ireland turned up.

“We are about making cricket mainstream,” said Deutrom. Tough talking, too.

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