Friday, June 14, 2024

High Performance improvements announced as Cricket Ireland plans for future

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Photo Credit: Sportsfile

Cricket Ireland has today outlined a restructure of its High Performance and Cricket Operations functions to better meet the needs of the organisation as it enters its next period of growth.

In 2017, Cricket Ireland was announced as a Full Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and began an initial period of growth as the organisation invested in resources to meet its obligations as a Full Member.

Over the subsequent years, regular reviews such as the Portas Report in 2022 and the internal review conducted by former Chair Ross McCollum in 2023, made recommendations in a number of areas, focusing both on the pitch and off the pitch. The reviews included recommendations to ensure the High Performance department keeps pace with its rapidly expanding activities, as well as its oversight role of an increasing number of players, coaches and support staff involved in multiple formats – responsibilities which had become too onerous for a single individual to oversee.

Two key recommendations, therefore, were for a clearer delineation between pure high performance and performance operations, and to strengthen our High Performance department. In this regard, the existing High Performance Director role will split into two strategic leadership roles. These two roles are broadly outlined as:

  • Director of High Performance: with a focus on pure performance/technical matters, to oversee Ireland Men’s/Women’s and pathway cricket programmes and guide elite coach education.
  • Director of Cricket: with a focus on overseeing the men’s and women’s international playing programmes, overall cricket scheduling, International teams’ operations, domestic professional cricket, and player remuneration/contracts.

Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland CEO, said:

“One of the key evolutions we are taking as an organisation is to re-model our operations to ensure we have a fit for purpose model reflecting our Full Member status. As part of this work, we will be making a number of strategic changes internally within our high performance function.

“Full membership has exponentially increased our fixtures, our staffing, our player-related activity and our operations in an area of the business that largely drives our success, and perception of us, as a cricket nation. With that has come an exceptional workload that review after review has told us needs more resource to oversee and lead. We are now in a position to undertake a restructure and ensure we have the leadership capacity required to drive and support our programme. The first and most fundamental change will see the current High Performance Director role split into more manageable component parts, in line with other Full Member nations.

“Our high performance system is unrecognisable from what Richard inherited 13 years ago. Whether re-introducing the men’s Inter-Provincial competition, designing and launching the women’s Super Series, introducing the Future Series, initiating a new National Academy programme, designing and bringing to fruition the High Performance Centre in Dublin, redesigning and professionalising the player contract system, or introducing our professional women’s contracts structure, Richard has made many significant contributions to advancing Irish cricket. And his work continues.

“In that regard, I’m pleased to advise that Richard will be taking on the new role of Director of Cricket. This role will allow him to specialise in areas of key focus for Irish cricket – such as delivery of international operations for all Ireland teams, developing and implementing the next evolution of the Inter-Pros and the Super Series, overseeing the playing schedule, and administering the player contract system.

“We shall be advertising the new Director of High Performance role in the coming period and we aim to have someone in place before the end of the year.”

Richard Holdsworth said:

“The last 13 years have been a privilege – to have been a key part in the growth, professionalisation and the development of a High Performance structure and a talent pathway system in both men’s and women’s cricket has been an immense opportunity. However, as we entered Full Membership and the demands of the role have grown exponentially, we recognised that one person overseeing all aspects of High Performance was unsustainable.

“While proud of all we have achieved, there is still so much more to do, and I look forward to focussing on the Director of Cricket role once we recruit for the new Director of High Performance.

“The Director of Cricket role in most Full Member organisations is a key role in strategic development of cricket operations. We will still have a slightly unique role that more suits the Irish context, but to bring together oversight and delivery of international operations for all Ireland teams home and away; management and oversight of the domestic first class structure as well as oversight of national competition regulations and policies – this presents itself as a great opportunity to make substantive improvements across the sport.

“The most enjoyable side of the role has been seeing players, coaches and support staff grow and develop into world class people and athletes, and I have had the privilege of working with some outstanding and special people during my tenure.  Their relentless and tireless work ethic has energised me to match them and constantly look to improve, and the players never fail to amaze me with their performances against some of the best in the world with a small fraction of their population and budget.

“My thanks to Warren, the Board and the High Performance Committee for their support in enabling this change.”

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