(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom has admitted he doesn’t expect Test cricket to be the mode by which the sport can breach the mainstream ahead of the country’s first Test against Pakistan.
Set to become the newest Test team since Bangladesh in 2000, Will Porterfield’s side welcome the Champions Trophy winners to Dublin’s Malahide ground on Friday.
And while some emerging associate nations have used the shorter formats as a pillar of strength, Deutrom says Ireland tend to do things a little differently to others.
“We have done things in the opposite way to the norm,” Deutrom told Reuters.
“We are adopting a less-is-more approach, to develop a brand of hosting Test cricket without it becoming too financially unsustainable.”
“Normally a game becomes a major sport in their country first and they then use that to create success on an international stage.
“Will Test cricket be the format to bring people to the sport in Ireland? The answer is probably ‘no’. But we wouldn’t anticipate playing more than one or two Test matches at home per year, probably up until 2022. Then we can look again thereafter.
“But Irish cricket has become successful on the international stage initially, punching above our weight, and we are using that to hopefully become a mainstream sport in Ireland.
As Ireland’s cricket schedule looks set to balloon as part of the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, Deutrom says more cricket can only breed more experience and skill to Ireland’s talented crop of internationals.
Deutrom added: “The tangible benefits are more funding from the ICC and the ability to guarantee more fixtures across all three formats in the coming years that will improve our players.
“We have a very good diet of multi-format cricket coming up, of which the mainstay will be the one-day international league. We will have 60 to 65 fixtures over the next four or five years, and that is just at home.
“If you are relying on one or two stand-alone fixtures in a season, then that is never enough to generate consistent spectator and media interest.
“We were a bit unsure about how many temporary seats to put up (in Malahide), as we are trying to bed down an unfamiliar format to many in Ireland, but we settled on 6,300.”
Ireland squad for first Test against Pakistan:
William Porterfield (Capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Ed Joyce, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien (WK), Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Craig Young, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (WK).