Indian summer dawns for Cricket Ireland

Shapoorji Pallonji Group make multi-million euro 10-year investment in Academy

 

The Indian summer is set to continue another 10 years for Ireland’s young cricketers after the announcement yesterday of a multi-million euro naming rights deal for the Cricket Ireland Academy with one of India’s biggest companies.

The Shapoorji Pallonji Group is a Mumbai-based multi-national conglomerate of businesses that was headed by Ireland’s richest man, Pallonji Mistry, up until he passed over the reins to his son, Shapoor, in 2012. Pallonji Mistry, whose wife was born in Dublin, is listed by Forbes as the 61st richest man in the world, with a net worth of $15.7 billion (€12.12 billion).

Discussing the reasons behind the Mistry family’s first investment in Ireland, Shapoor Mistry said in a video message played at yesterday’s launch at Trinity College that the company’s policy of nurturing young indigenous talent and the Mistry family’s links to Ireland were key.

“We believe in nurturing internal talent, much in the same way that the Academy will nurture the internal talent pool that is available in Ireland to create the best cricketers in the world, who will be second to none,” said Shapoor.

“I think it is very pertinent the fact that I’m an Irish citizen, my mother was born in Ireland, in Dublin, during the second World War . . .” he added.

The 10-year deal is made up of an initial lump sum and will make the investment worth between €2 and €3 million, an incredible investment for an Academy which is in its first year of operation and presently contains 22 players.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom also announced that Shapoorji Pallonji will become an official partner of the sporting body.

With the long-term deal with RSA Insurance at an end, the multi-sponsor model approach is expected to see a new shirt sponsor unveiled ahead of next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Deutrom’s stated intention is to see Ireland playing Test cricket by 2019 and he believes the financial investment by Shapoorji Pallonji will help provide players of top international ability into the future.

“This significant 10-year investment will mean we can attract coaches and specialists to enable a world class programme of player development tailored to the individual . . .” said Deutrom to an audience that included sports minister Paschal Donohue and Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy.

“This multi-million investment in Cricket Ireland is nearly unique in my experience and demonstrates the belief of Shapoorji Pallonji and the Mistry family in developing talented youth and, more broadly, their desire to invest in a country of which they clearly feel proud to call themselves citizens,” added Deutrom.

Long term

Cricket Ireland performance director Richard Holdsworth has played a key role in setting up the Academy alongside its manager Craig Hogan and he believes that tailored and specialist coaching is one of the keys to producing players of international ability.

“We don’t want good coaches working with these players, we want the world’s best coaches, we need the best sports science programmes, we need to make sure all of these players are getting every opportunity to realise their talent,” said Holdsworth

“That’s not just going to take place here in Ireland, it needs to happen overseas. We play most of our cricket overseas in ICC events and bi-lateral events, so we need to make sure they get a sound education, playing in the sub-continent, playing in Australasia, playing in the Caribbean and this programme and the extent of this sponsorship deal will allow us to put those plans together.”

Present Academy player Peter Chase kept up the great start to his career with Durham, picking up two wickets in their innings and 219-run County Championship victory over Northamptonshire at Chester-le-Street.

The match saw Durham’s Chris Rushworth take 15 wickets as Northampton were bowled out for 83, with Rushworth taking nine for 52. Following on the visitors were then skittled for 90, with Rushworth claiming six for 43.

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