Ireland look to secure Test status by 2020

 

Cricket Ireland have launched an ambitious set of initiatives aimed at fulfilling their dream of becoming a full Test nation by 2020.

Joining the Test ranks has been the long-term ambition of Irish cricket for some time but today's announcements represent a new level of commitment to that goal and will give the International Cricket Council plenty to ponder.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom unveiled the organisation's vision at the Croke Park Hotel in Dublin, including plans to double the contracted player pool to 23, establish a first-class domestic structure for the first time and increase commercial funding behind the sport to fund extensive grassroots programmes.

Former West Indies international Phil Simmons has also agreed a new contract as coach, keeping him with Ireland until at least the end of 2013.

While the challenges facing Ireland are significant - most obviously the implementation of a viable first-class system and winning the support of the 10 full member nations in the ICC - Deutrom believes the aspiration is a realistic one.

"We have set ourselves a very clear long-term ambition - to become a full Test nation by 2020, nothing less," he said.

"This is not a dreamy aspiration but a real ambition founded on the playing talent being developed on this island, the growing passion and profile of the game here, a sustained and proven track record of achievement on and off the field, and a clear roadmap set out by us for how to get there."

Cricket Ireland also confirmed that a number of new commercial funding deals are in place and will be revealed in due course, while principal sponsors RSA Insurance understood to have extended their deal until 2015.

"We have and will continue to receive fantastic support from RSA Insurance as our main commercial partner and we look forward to extending the scale and scope of that support," added Deutrom.

"A formal announcement of this and other commercial deals will be made in the coming weeks. This allows us to proceed with confidence as we work towards our vision of becoming a Test nation by 2020."

At last year's World Cup, during which the team's impressive displays and memorable win over England in the group stage raised their profile exponentially, several of the Ireland's 16-man squad were not contracted.

That is now set to change with a total of 23 players being offered deals across three pay bands.

"A key part of our success to date has been the move to professionalism," said Simmons, who took over the side in 2007 and has been key to their emergence as the top associate nation.

"With so many players on full or part-time contracts we now have a structure supporting the senior squad as well as our succession planning to make sure we can maintain our competitiveness on the international stage."

At the domestic level, goals have been set to raise the participation level to 50,000, starting with proposals targeting cricket in schools and culminating in a relaunched Inter-Pro Series competition - a prototype for any future first-class competition.

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power