Ireland news April 15, 2012

Ireland submit plans for more ODIs

Ger Siggins

Ireland would play 12 to 15 one-day internationals a year if the ICC approves their ambitious proposals to be given further challenges to take recognition of their rising standards.

Warren Deutrom, the chief executive, told the Cricket Ireland annual meeting that the ICC has received its submission and it will be go before the ICC board meeting in June for final approval. Under the proposals, ICC will help to identify gaps in the existing Future Tours Programme where Ireland can be accommodated for ODIs.

Cricket Ireland has made the case that it has rapidly outgrown its fellow associates and needs further challenges. The senior side, coached by Phil Simmons, has won 30 of its last 33 games against associate members of ICC. And in recent years Ireland has also beaten Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, West Indies and England.

Deutrom told the meeting that he hoped ICC would adopt the bulk of the Woolf Report, which he described as "better than our wildest dreams" and potentially the key moment in the history of the game's ambition to be a world sport.

While Ireland gets funding from ICC, Deutrom pointed to the disparity between its $685,000 grant compared to the $7-9million received by full members, who are also guaranteed participation in ICC tournaments and the FTP.

"Our battle is to convince ICC to fund cricket nations on the basis of merit and need, not of entitlement," Deutrom said.

The newly-announced plan also seeks ICC funding for an ambitious academy structure which will see the best young talent nurtured in both the north and south of the island.

While at times over the past decade the senior side has relied on naturalised players, the Irish system has produced some startlingly good players, with three - Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin - playing for England at various levels and new stars such as George Dockrell and Paul Stirling attracting the covetous ECB.

There are currently ten Irishmen contracted to English counties - which is more than Pakistan and West Indies put together when you discount the fly-in fly-out Twenty20 players.

The third item on Deutrom's shopping list is ICC's assistance in progressing the non-existent domestic first-class structure. At present the game is based on club leagues in three unions, based around Dublin, Derry and Belfast. The ambitious plan is to form these districts into an inter-provincial structure similar to the successful Irish rugby provinces.

This last point is seen as crucial for the development of the game and helping Ireland to continue to produce top players.

The AGM in Dundalk also elected Jimmy Joyce of Merrion as president for 2012-13. Joyce is father of five Irish internationals, including Ed, currently at Sussex, and Ireland women's captain Isobel. The respected veteran journalist Robin Walsh was named as president-elect.