The Irish Cricket Union has announced a series of major changes to bring it into line with other cricket bodies around the world as they attempt to professionalise the set-up in Ireland. The moves include creating a streamlined broad to replace the current committees and forging closer links with counties.
The game in Ireland has struggled to build on its success at the World Cup earlier this year with disquiet among the players about slow payments and other members of the side opting to play county cricket.
However, playing first-class cricket in England is clearly of a higher standard and the ICU said it wants to "seek actively to place Irish players into top-level cricket, by developing relationships with [especially] county cricket which will incorporate appropriate player release for Irish international duty, and feeder systems for developing Irish cricketers."
Linked with this will be a new high performance programme which, it is hoped, will maintain the success of Ireland at all age groups and provide the players with the support structure of the professional game.
"The rationale behind these changes is to effectively capitalise upon the ongoing success of all our national squads on the pitch, by gearing ourselves more professionally off the pitch," said Warren Deutrom, the chief executive. "The new format will provide the best opportunity for the union to create the environment to be as professional as the bodies with which we deal in both the public and private sector."
The new board will replace the existing executive and management committees and Deutrom added: "The ICU's executive has taken not just a radical, but also a courageous step for Irish cricket. In creating a governance structure that reflects best international practice, it has given us an ideal chance to do what any governing body should - which is creating the best possible environment for the sport to thrive."
There are also plans in place for winter training programmes and a touring schedule. A trip to Bangladesh is currently in the pipeline for early next year, while the ICU is also focusing heavily of the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia before the senior side embarks on their next World Cup qualifying campaign.