The Cricket Ireland Board met this week in Dundalk where a wide range of issues were discussed with the following outcomes.
1. Date of Test match
The dates of Ireland’s inaugural Test match as an ICC Full Member – against Pakistan – have been confirmed as Friday May 11th to Tuesday May 15th. A decision on the venue will be announced in the coming weeks.
2. Cricket Matters
The Board approved a number of recommendations relating to governance around the playing side of the game, as follows:
– The formation of a High Performance Committee (HPC) – a refinement of the High Performance Advisory Group, the committee will be responsible for the oversight and strategic implementation of men’s and women’s high performance areas – including selection – and will support as well as ‘check-and-challenge’ performance personnel. It will comprise internal and external expertise and report directly to the CI Board. The Chair of the Committee is former Director of the Irish Institute of Sport, Gary Keegan.
The full Committee is:
Gary Keegan – Chair; former Director of the Sport Ireland Institute of Sport
Alan Lewis – former Irish international cricketer and CI Board Director
Kyle McCallan – former Irish international cricketer
Jo Hopkins – former head of performance planning, Sports Institute of NI
Frank Sowman – CI Board Director; Chair, Leinster Professional Game Board
Richard Holdsworth – CI Performance Director
Richard Holdsworth, CI Performance Director, said: “This new Committee is a reflection of the need for specialised skills and experience in the modern, professional high performance sphere as Irish cricket develops as a fully-fledged Test nation. Having a stand-alone performance committee also reflects best practice in other major sports while we are delighted with the calibre of our first intake on the committee, comprising high-quality individuals from inside and outside cricket.”
– Men’s Squad Selection – the Board approved the uncoupling of the role of Chair of Men’s Selectors and the Independent Director for International Cricket. Richard Holdsworth said: “While not specified as a requirement, the last two Independent Directors for International Cricket have also been Chair of Men’s Selectors – a reflection of the calibre of the individuals rather than a governance requirement. Given the rapid evolution of Irish cricket, the recent restructure in our selection committee and the development of the High Performance Committee (with its oversight of selection), the Board agreed it was now appropriate to remove a potential conflict by definitively uncoupling the roles.”
– Chair of Men’s Selectors – Having already served nearly 6 years as Chair of Selectors, Alan Lewis will hand over the role upon the appointment of a new Chair of Selectors, the process for which will commence in due course. The Board also approved the evolution of the position into a part-time paid position to reflect the greater quantity of fixtures to be played by the men’s senior, and A-team/Wolves/inter-provincial squads commensurate with Full Membership status. Ross McCollum, Chairman of Cricket Ireland paid tribute to Alan Lewis: “Alan, or Lewie as he is known to his hundreds of friends, has been an extraordinary servant of Irish cricket. Passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable, Lewie has overseen a period of great change in his 6 years as Chair of Men’s Selectors, and as much as anyone has played a vital, often unsung, role in steering us to Test cricket. He departs with our deepest thanks for a job extremely well done.”
– Irish Cricketers Association (ICA) – the Board also approved the request for official recognition by CI of the newly-formed Irish Cricketers’ Association, which represents the interests of cricketers in Ireland, and is a new member of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA)
3. Weather Mitigation for Major Matches
The Board received a series of recommendations from the Cricket Committee around attempting to mitigate the impact of poor weather at our major fixtures. Management was asked to investigate a number of measures including the sourcing of sufficient volunteers to support the ground curators; pooling of local club resources; dedicated staffing to properly coordinate the development, support and oversight of venues which are used for CI matches; and looking into the cost of reconstruction of outfields to support better drainage.
Warren Deutrom, CI Chief Executive explained: “Our washed-out ODI against West Indies in Stormont a few weeks back gave us much to ponder. On reflection, there is probably too much simple acceptance of bad weather affecting our games given our geography, and probably not enough being done to mitigate it. The fact it rained most of the afternoon and previous fortnight isn’t the point, rather it was the apparent lack of resource around getting play started when it was dry and sunny – which was nothing to do with Groundsman Phil McCormick, whose personal efforts were extraordinary. We know we are being held to a higher standard now that we are a Full Member – we need to look in the mirror on this one, and it is an area in which we have a lot of work to do. The Cricket Committee has acted quickly to give us some recommendations for future action which we shall now take forward.”
4. Transitioning to Full Membership
The Board received a progress report on the work of the consultancy Inside Track, which has been engaged to support Cricket Ireland in its transition to full membership. Warren Deutrom said: “We have been working with Inside Track since early September on a consultation process with our stakeholders to identify our priorities for expenditure once ICC funding arrives in 2018. An online survey, one-to-one interviews and benchmarking with other Full Members and major sports will hopefully show us the path we need to follow in our full membership journey. The new funding is unlikely to satisfy all expectations, but we hope the insights of player and administrator alike will help us focus on our immediate priorities to hit the ground running