Ireland are hoping to play more regularly against the 'big guns'. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Ireland, one of the fast improving teams amongst ICC Associate Members, has wholeheartedly supported the philosophy behind the proposals to restructure the world body and especially lauded the role played by the “powerful and influential” BCCI. Encouraged by the ICC’s intention to distribute funds to smaller countries based on their performance, Ireland hopes to either tour India or host Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team on its way to meeting its stated target of attaining Test status before 2020.
Cricket Ireland (CI) chief executive Warren Deutrom says if the wide-ranging proposals are accepted by the ICC Executive Board next month, and it doubles the funding for his country, it would help its team become more competitive. Ireland has qualified for its third successive World Cup, to be held next year in Australia and New Zealand.
“India is powerful and influential and I have no doubt that [BCCI president] Mr. N. Srinivasan played a significant role in drawing up these proposals which (assuming the competitive structures and financial benefits eventuate) also benefit Associate Members,” Deutrom told MAIL TODAY in an interview.
“Therefore, it could be argued that BCCI has already played its part in assisting Associate Members simply through these proposals. It goes without saying that India is also a huge cricketing and financial draw for any ICC member, and we would hope that in the not-too-distant future Ireland might be regarded as worthy of travelling to, or indeed hosting India, just as we did in 2007,” he hoped.
Deutrom, one of the three Associate Member representatives on ICC chief executives’ committee, gave thumbs up to the proposals drafted by BCCI, Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board that have provoked debate.
“The intention behind the proposals appears to be that no one is worse off than before while the top-ranking Associates [non- Test playing countries] are given the best chance financially to progress and compete for spots among the ICC Full Member [Test countries] ranks,” he said. “The philosophy behind this is dead right and faithful to the performance-based streaming of funds that the Associates already have in place to determine who receives what.”
Deutrom, who has been Cricket Ireland CEO for over seven years, felt that with a couple of tweaks in the implementation of the proposals, the principles of the current funding for the Associates can be continued.
“Speaking just for Ireland, in some ways we’re caught between two stools. We aren’t yet benefiting from the funds enjoyed by the Full Members, yet our success has been so sustained over the last seven years and cricket has developed so quickly in Ireland that our growing needs run the risk of becoming a financial burden on the ICC Development Programme,” explained the former ICC cricket events manager.
“It seems that both our colleagues in the Associate world and the authors of the proposals are keen for Ireland to have the chance to progress to the next tier. The trick is to ensure that this progression is adequately funded. The intention behind the new proposals seems to be to try and double our funding from ICC to assist us to become more competitive. We trust that the reality matches this intention,” he said.
ICC gave Ireland a bonus of $500,000 in 2012 under its Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme, besides other assistance.
Deutrom pointed out that proposed principle of meritocratic progression towards Test cricket should benefit not just Ireland.
“Assuming that implementation of the principles includes movement between Test tiers, then it provides the element of context that we believe has long been lacking in Test cricket,” he outlined. “ We are still aiming to play Test cricket before 2020.”
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