The Inter-Provincial Series comprises three concurrent competitions:
· Inter-Provincial Championship (three-day matches)
· Inter-Provincial Cup (50-over matches)
· Inter-Provincial Trophy (T20 matches)
In 2018 the North West Warriors took out the Championship for the first time, with Leinster Lightning claiming the Cup and Trophy.
Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:
“Since the revitalisation of the Inter-Pros in 2013, the competition has really gone from strength-to-strength. Not only have we seen an increase in the competition’s quality and competitiveness, we are starting to see the benefits of a strong domestic structure on the international team, with the likes of James McCollum, Shane Getkate, James Cameron-Dow, Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker emerging in the last 12 months.”
“All top table cricket nations have a solid domestic competition as both its bedrock and breeding ground for talent, and we are building that here in Ireland. Last year saw the introduction of the first Emerging Player contracts, and this year we will see an increase in white-ball matches, as well as two T20 Festivals as part of the programme.”
“For the fans, this year will also be particularly exciting as we will see returning Irish internationals’ Gary Wilson, Boyd Rankin and Barry McCarthy featuring in the competition on a regular basis. In fact, 80% of the current men’s international squad in India at present will appear in the Inter-Pros in 2019.”
“The evolution of the competition is set to increase further in 2020 and beyond as we hope to introduce a fourth side in the Championship and Cup, and look to increase Championship matches from three-day to four-day matches in time. The intention of these improvements is to ensure the gap between domestic and international cricket is narrowed, and the step up for new players is less pronounced. In days gone by a new Irish international may have made their debut against a county side or a small Associate nation. Now they may debut against a leading side in a Test match. That pathway to the international side is what we are addressing through the improvements in the Inter-Pros, combined with a stronger Ireland Wolves programme, a strengthened Academy and Talent Pathway.”
With the first round of the Inter-Provincial Series being held in La Manga Club in Spain, Holdsworth said:
“The one-day international against England at Malahide is a big match for the international side. By hosting the first three matches in La Manga, we can pretty much guarantee two 50-over fixtures to each of our international players, and give the fringe players a chance to push for higher honours ahead of the England clash.”
The first 50-over match in the series will see the Inter-Provincial Cup defending champions Leinster Lightning take on the North West Warriors on 22 April 2019.
© Cricket World 2019