Deutrom defends international aspirations
Neil Drysdale (CricketEurope)
Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, has admitted it was “a tough call” to withdraw from the CB40 competition, but insisted that he and his governing body felt justified in taking the decision and pursuing a policy which might earn them a greater number of one-day international matches against the ICC’s full member countries.
The Scots and the Netherlands still participate in the CB40 tournament, which pits them against English opposition and ensures a series of high-profile fixtures every summer, but Deutrom believes that his organisation were right to go down a different route.
“With regard to withdrawing from the CB40, there were a few reasons for taking the decision. First, international cricket is still 50 overs [not 40], and secondly, we were missing most of our players on county duty, anyway, and usually got thumped, which did nothing for the confidence/perception of Irish cricket as being inferior to English sub-national cricket,” said Deutrom, who is hopeful, but not excessively confident, that the ICC will ratify plans for his organisation to gain between 12 and 15 ODIs, on an annual basis, against full members when they convene in June.
“Thirdly, with the increase in CB40 matches from eight to 12, we felt that we could spend the money (around 100,000 euros every year), on other things, such as the South African A team coming here this summer for a month. Finally, there was a perception that we wanted to act like the 10th best [sadly 11th best now!] country in the world rather than the 19th English county.
“There is no doubt that we lost the predictability of a fixture list and consistent cricket to showcase to our members, in terms of the value of our membership schemes and brand exposure for our sponsor. But we did discuss the issue with as many stakeholders as possible in advance to explain why we felt it was the right way to go in the long run. It was a tough call at the time, but I think it has been proved right.”
Deutrom is refusing to take anything for granted, prior to discussing Ireland’s future with the ICC, as he strives to push for enhanced recognition. But he told Cricket Europe he is prepared to push as hard as possible for a move away from the present system, which rewards the full members to a disproportionate degree, irrespective of results.
“We have submitted what we hope is a strong application and I think the ICC management will “interrogate” us over the next few weeks, with a view to making a final submission in time for the next ICC Financial and Commercial Affairs committee meeting at the end of June,” said Deutrom. “Part of our application was looking at the FTP [Future Tours programme] and finding the gaps in the schedule, identifying who is already touring England, focusing on the lower-ranked FMs [full members] and generally trying not to impact too much on their existing commitments within the FTP.
“Requesting the ODIs is part of our application to the ICC for its excellent new TAPP programme, which is aiming to close the performance gap between the top six FMs and the next group of nations, including the top Associate Members [such as Ireland, Afghanistan and Scotland], which clearly brings it within our reach. Our stakeholders have been very understanding and supportive. And, if we get these ODIs through TAPP, then I think that their patience will have been vindicated.”
Some people might regard it as a gamble. But if the ICC is serious about rewarding ambition, it is difficult to criticise the direction which Deutrom has chosen.