The goal of bringing Test match cricket to Ireland will move a step closer in the coming weeks with the appointment of professional coaches and administrators for the new Inter-Provincial competition that starts this summer.
Supported by funds from the ICC, Cricket Ireland is looking to recruit Head Coaches for the three provincial union teams – Leinster Lightning, Northern Knights and the North West Warriors – plus Team Administration Officers for each region.
Ireland’s heroics at the 2007 World Cup sparked a major expansion of the sport both on and off the field but success at international level has highlighted the gap between domestic club cricket and the senior Ireland team.
The re-launch of the senior men’s Inter-Provincial competition will seek to redress that with the regions competing in 27 days of three-day, one-day and T20 matches.
A domestic structure that feeds into the international team is one of the pre-requisites the ICC expects from teams looking to make the step up from an Associate level to the Test match-playing top table of Full Members.
Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said: “There’s been an incredible growth in Irish cricket over the past six years and I’ve no doubt that will continue as we strive to become a Test-playing team by 2020. These new positions will make a significant difference to the ability of Provincial Unions to train and prepare their new teams to a standard never before seen at this level.
“The Inter-Provincial series will I’m sure provide a perfect platform for competitive cricket and bridge the growing gap between club and international representative cricket. This new structure also provides an opportunity for our Provincial Unions to generate some valuable revenue to invest in their clubs and grassroots programmes.
“We’re extremely grateful to ICC and the Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP) funding which has made this possible. I’m certain it will help increase the player pool available to the national team, while at the same time increasing the standard of club cricket throughout Ireland.”
Further details of the roles and recruitment process can be found on the official Cricket Ireland website http://www.cricketireland.ie/