Friday, May 24, 2024

Statement from the Board of Cricket Ireland on early World Cup exit

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Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland

The following statement has been released by the Board of Cricket Ireland following the latest Board Meeting on Wednesday 27 October 2021.

The Board Meeting was the first held in-person since the outset of the pandemic and came five days after the elimination of the Ireland Men’s side from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. While a report on High Performance was on the agenda, the proximity to the World Cup exit meant that there was an opportunity for the Board to have a more in-depth discussion at the meeting.

Ross McCollum, Chair of Cricket Ireland, said:

“The Board of Cricket Ireland – in line with what could be reasonably described as the general mood of the Irish cricket community – expressed our disappointment at the timing and nature of the World Cup exit last Friday. Whilst there were no doubts expressed about the attitude, commitment and hard work of players, coaching staff and administrators, the Board has directed that the normal planned post-event review should happen as quickly as possible and includes all elements pertaining to tournament preparation and performance – such as event performance and cricket operations supporting the international set-up – and, where appropriate, take any remedial action.

“It is important to stress that this is not a kneejerk reaction to the T20 World Cup outcome, particularly in light of encouraging results against some major teams in the last two years alone. Post-event reviews are part-and-parcel of our modus operandi now, added to which one of the key elements of our current short strategy period is about ensuring we are getting the most out of our limited resources, that we’re balancing the needs of our business at all levels, and we’re building the future on solid foundations.

“What happened last week, though, has given us the pretext to step back at this point in time to ask serious questions of our operations ahead of a very busy few years. The Board recognises that our regular treadmill of events, qualifiers, and FTP commitments means that there is rarely an obvious time to do in-depth reviews, let alone implement them quickly enough to have an immediate impact. However, with the next round of World Cup Super League matches coming up in January, and the qualifying tournament for the next Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for February, we believe that the review should be conducted swiftly without compromising rigour.

“To that end, we have directed that the review will at least include investigation into:

  – the preparation period for the World Cup
  – an analysis of performance during the tournament
  – the quality and availability of cricket facilities in-use across Ireland
  – selection policies and procedures
  – coaching structures currently in place at the national level
  – the administrative side of our operations to ensure Cricket Ireland is necessarily evolving to meet the needs of its status as a Full Member

“The Board has always been very supportive of the men’s senior international squad, and has often prioritised their resources to support their progression. However, the review will look into how effectively and efficiently those resources are being used, as well as ensuring Cricket Ireland has in place – or will put into place – the appropriate structural and support programmes to enable our international teams to succeed on the world stage over coming years.

“This is a similar review that was conducted after the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2018 which brought about significant improvements to the Women’s performance system, and we are looking to ensure a similar level of scrutiny is applied during this review.

“Without pre-empting recommendations, the Board were unanimously insistent that the quality and provision of training and playing facilities across Ireland be elevated to a critical priority for the organisation. We have directed that all effort be made to engage with potential and current funding partners on sourcing investment to upgrade and enhance our international training and playing surfaces – which will be to the benefit all programmes, including women’s and under-age pathways.”

The Board also sought an update on progress of the High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, and other projects around Ireland to upgrade and improve access to quality facilities.

Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:

“As part of our recently launched Strategic Plan, we outlined that facilities improvements were an essential focus of our next three years. In my estimation, this is now the number one priority of the organisation, and has led to us engaging at the highest levels of Government in recent months to put forward our case for support. 

“Our starting point is to know the current lie of the land. During the recent season, one of the initial priorities of our new Cricket Operations Manager has been to assess and audit facilities available to the high performance set-up around Ireland. The first phase of this audit has been completed and the Facilities Committee will shortly begin the work of prioritising projects.

“As part of this process, we have already submitted a range of requests under the Irish Government’s recent sports capital grants scheme, and initiated discussions with governments and sports bodies on both sides of the border on funding opportunities for critical projects – both in the high performance and grassroots areas. We are also engaging with our provincial unions in this process to make it a whole-of-cricket approach and ensure that we are speaking with one voice on the importance of supporting our sport at all levels.

“Among some of the facilities improvement projects we already have underway are:

we are investigating the possible use of hybrid pitch technology, a system that we have observed being used in a number of English grounds. We understand this technology has the potential to significantly improve the performance and durability of the pitches we use for representative cricket – if deemed appropriate for Irish conditions, we would hope to begin roll out from 2022 onwards;

we have re-built the turf training pitches at our High Performance Centre. While the artificial training pitches have been in successful operation since the Centre opened in 2018, and the outfield training area has been a great asset to teams, the turf pitches – which had been laid in 2019 with an 18-month bedding-in period – failed to pass the testing phase once the squads began to use them. Urgent remediation work has been now completed by a different contractor, and we expect the pitches will be usable by mid-summer 2022; and

we have maintained regular dialogue with the Irish Government and Sport Ireland about the development of a national cricket stadium at the National Sports Campus following commitments made by the Government in 2018 to bring that project to fruition.”

Cricket Ireland will provide updates relating to any matters of substance regarding the review process, and provide a report on the eventual recommendations and subsequent Board decisions in due course.

In other matters addressed at the Board Meeting, the Board also considered a number of recommendations arising from a report from the Institute of Public Administration relating to the operation and structure of Board sub-committees. Those recommendations were considered by Cricket Ireland’s Governance Committee and resulted in the Board’s approval of revised terms of reference for a number of committees, with the intention to improve those committees’ purpose and effectiveness.


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