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New strategic plan charts the future of Irish cricket

©Cricket Ireland
 

A new three-year Strategic Plan released today by Cricket Ireland aims to strengthen Irish cricket from grassroots to international levels – with a particular focus on supporting the club game, increasing opportunities for women and girls, and introducing new mass participation programmes to position the sport for a period of growth across Ireland.

The Plan, titled: “Creating a Cricket Island” sets out a staged approach to growing the game of cricket across Ireland. The next three years will see a consolidation of the sport’s achievements over the last decade, strengthening the foundations of the sport, and positioning cricket for a planned period of growth from 2024-2031.

Amongst the key headlines of the Strategic Plan, Cricket Ireland will aim to:

  • Roll out three new national participation programmes to engage kids and provide schools with resources, training and access to advocates for the game;
  • Significantly increase opportunities for women and girls to play cricket - including new programmes, club supports and increasing the visibility of the women’s game;
  • Invest in the performance pathway and further support men’s and women’s international squads to seek on-field success and regular world cup qualification;
  • Work with Provincial Unions to ensure every club across Ireland has a development plan that reflects the needs and capacity of the club;
  • Implement a sustained investment in coaching to increase the number and skills of those involved;
  • Deliver proactive programmes that further increase diversity and inclusion – aiming to make cricket one of the most welcoming sports in Ireland; and
  • Improving training facilities within Provincial Unions and to progress the National Stadium project at the National Sports Campus in Dublin.

Ross McCollum, Chair of Cricket Ireland, said:

“I am delighted to release the new Cricket Ireland Strategic Plan 2021-2023, which provides a roadmap for the short-to-medium term future of Irish cricket. This document is essentially the first of a two-part plan for the growth of cricket across Ireland – a sport that has a long and winding history on this island.”

“Cricket Ireland’s trajectory of success over the last decade has significantly moved our sport forward on the world stage – but, dare I say it, at a pace that exceeded our own expectations. Since being awarded full membership of the ICC in 2017 – more than two years ahead of our ambitious schedule – the Board of Cricket Ireland has taken a prudent approach to the process of transitioning our organisation to be able to meet the needs of the new era. These last three years have seen some memorable highs, mixed with a number of frustrations, but we believe – pandemic aside – that we have put our organisation on the right track to create a sustainable future for the sport.”

“I am thankful to Warren Deutrom and his team who has spent the last year developing this plan, consulting widely and engaging some of the leading experts across Ireland and globally. This was once a cricketing island – and we hope this Plan puts us on the road to creating a ‘cricket island’ once more.”

Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:

“From the outset of this plan’s development my team agreed on a ‘north star’ to orientate our thinking – we determined that this Plan had to address how we can re-balance our priorities as the national governing body and make cricket in Ireland a truly sustainable sport in the long-term.”

“One of the first decisions we made was that the Plan had to be achievable, realistic and support the foundations of the game. It quickly emerged that, for greater certainty and efficacy, we would adjust our planning timeframes to align with ICC funding cycles. This simple move means that we can plan with greater confidence, and outline a realistic plan for growth in the medium-to-long term.”

“With Full Membership has come the weight of expectation – and with this Strategic Plan we have begun to articulate a roadmap for our sport. This Plan takes a hard look at what we consider business-as-usual, and addresses many of the immediate needs that have emerged. There is no future for our sport if our elite programme is not built on a solid foundation, so our objective in this document is to refocus and rebalance our priorities.”

“We will absolutely and unreservedly continue to invest in our performance system – to give our international men’s and women’s squads the best chance of success in the international arena. We want to qualify for all major ICC events and we want our teams to be competitive – but we also understand that the elite end of our sport doesn’t exist in isolation from the grassroots.”

“To this end, a number of key focus areas outlined in this Plan are in strengthening the club game, driving mass participation opportunities and investing in growth areas of our game, notably the women’s and girls side. And these commitments are not merely lip-service, this Plan provides numerous specific and achievable deliverables that we will aim to achieve with the support of Provincial Unions.”

“How certain of success can we be with this Plan? Just consider the journey and achievements over the last decade – consider that we are now one of only 12 countries seated at the top table of the world’s second largest sport. Consider too the immense strength and depth of Irish cricketing heritage and structures within our sport. We have an innate belief in the ability of the Irish cricket community to endure, to adapt and to grow. We may not be the size of our fellow Full Members, but the strength of Irish cricket is in its people within the game, its supporters at home and abroad, and in a cohesive leadership of the sport between Cricket Ireland and the Provincial Unions.”

“The good news is that we have not stood still during the pandemic and the development of this Plan – we are already delivering of a number of the key actions. We have significantly increased investment in the women’s game by 60% over the last three years, we will shortly announce three mass participation programmes, we shall be releasing a more detailed document that provides a roadmap for our work in female cricket, and we have strengthened the performance pathway with numerous changes and coaching appointments to create a more cohesive approach to talent identification and development. And these are just the beginning.”

“I commend the work of Kotinos Partners in leading the delivery of this Plan, and thank everyone who gave us their time and their insights over the last year to help us shape this document. We don’t want this document that will to sit on a shelf gathering dust – it is a guiding document for our Board, our organisation and our sport. We want Ireland to become a cricket island once more – and I hope the Irish cricket community can work with us on creating an increasingly vibrant, engaging and welcoming sport for all.”

© Cricket World 2021