Flurry of matches coming up for us, says Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland

New Delhi: With International Cricket Council (ICC) deciding to include just top ten countries in this year’s Cricket World Cup, Ireland will miss out on the opportunity to play the prestigious tournament. But the Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland is hopeful that the ICC would take more countries on board for the 2023 World Cup.

Ireland have been displaying constant improvement in the International cricketing fraternity as they have been locking horns with some top teams.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland , opened up about the road ahead for Ireland and how they plan to play more competitive matches in the international game.

Ireland was dropped from this year’s World Cup line-up, as the ICC decided to have only top ten cricketing nations in the World Cup.

“The missed opportunity for qualification for the 2019 Cricket World Cup was a major disappointment at the time.

However, it was 12 months ago and Ireland has much to look forward to this summer, including hosting five full member nations and a Test match against England at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Of course, we would prefer to have qualified, but we have moved on,” Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland told ANI.

“In terms of the 10 team World Cup, we have made our position clear to the ICC and publicly that we believe the competition should be expanded from the current 10-team format,” he added.

Ireland very often plays against associate countries but they very rarely play top five teams of the cricketing world, but the Chief Executive is hopeful that future tour programmes of the ICC will help them play against top cricketing teams of the world.

“In 2018 we began our first year in the Future Tours Programme – as part of this programme we will be playing more than 140 fixtures against Full Member nations over the next four years – excluding ICC tournaments and any bilateral fixtures that we may additionally organise. We will certainly see a lot of cricket over the coming years,” Deutrom told ANI.

Ireland were given Test status by the ICC last year, but they have been deprived of the Test matches against top nations. However, they remain optimistic that they will be able to play more matches going forward.

“Test cricket is certainly an important priority for Cricket Ireland, and over the coming years, we will play 13 Test matches. This will undoubtedly build up over time. We believe the approach of the ICC to our introduction to Test cricket is a measured and sensible one. Ireland sits outside the Test Championship, and the decision was made for a measured introduction to the format, as opposed to ‘parachuting’ us into the competition. In this way, we can take a few years to test ourselves against the best sides (Pakistan in 2018, England in 2019 etc) while we get into the rhythms and processes of Test cricket, without damaging the integrity of the Test Championship. We look forward to being part of the Test Championship in coming years,” Deutrom elucidated.

Kevin O’Brien has been an experienced campaigner for Ireland and Deutrom opined that the player will help in providing much-needed insight on how to approach the game.

“Kevin O’Brien is very generous with his time and has established his own Academy to train youngsters from a young age, right through to club cricket level. The Ireland Men’s cricket team is going through a transition period right now, which has included the recent retirements of Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien, and John Anderson, but these players are still available to provide advice and guidance to younger players,” Deutrom told ANI.

The cricketing world has boomed with the emergence of many T20 leagues across the world, Deutrom said that it is not the responsibility of individual boards to rope in associate players for their tournament, and said that the recently launched European League will help in emergence of talent from Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands.

“We recently announced a new European-based T20 competition between Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands.

Individual cricketers involvement in many of the T20 leagues is not the responsibility of cricket boards, however, there is plenty of playing talent in the Associate Member ranks, with the likes of Sandeep Lamichhane from Nepal and Ryan Ten Doeschate from the Netherlands having made impressions. Of course, go back 18 months and all of Ireland and Afghanistan’s teams would have been classed as Associate Member players. So, the talent is there and it is breaking through, and I hope this continues to grow over time,” Deutrom said.

Ireland came to the forefront in the Cricket World Cup 2007 in which they were able to upset Pakistan in the group stage encounter, thus qualifying for the Super 8 stage.

The team, since then, has the knack of upsetting cricketing giants. They stunned the world when they defeated England at Bengaluru in the Cricket World Cup 2011 but now after getting Test status, they hope to become a force to reckon with in the Test format as well.

Ireland recently drew the ODI series 2-2 against Afghanistan and now they next play against them in the Test format later this week.