Chief wants Irish cricket to hit the heights with new five-year scheme
Cricket Ireland have plotted the way forward for the next five years and the first three, at least, will be backed by the KPC Group, a global conglomerate with business interests in India and the United States.
The KPC Group succeed RSA as backers of the Ireland teams and the agreement includes being the headline sponsor for this year's ODIs against Sri Lanka and Pakistan as well as the end-of-year Cricket Ireland awards.
Dr Kali Pradip Chaudhuri, the chairman and founder of the group, was at yesterday's Dublin launch of the Cricket Ireland Strategic Plan 2016-20 and said it was an opportunity to engage with "our Irish American audience and the Irish American Business Community in the USA through the Irish cricket team".
"The KPC Group have followed Ireland's progress and we're looking forward to becoming part of this success story," he added.
O'Neill's also confirmed it was extending its kit sponsorship for another four years and the website, cricketshop.ie would be online from next month.
The venture is part of Cricket Ireland's main objective to "Making Cricket Mainstream" with its goal to rival the popularity of football, rugby and GAA by 2020.
The ambition to be a Test match country is under way - they are in pole position to play England at Lord's as early as 2019 - but chief executive Warren Deutrom wants broader goals. He said: "It needs to envision Ireland not just a major force in cricket but cricket being a major force in Ireland." He announced there would be an annual fund of €50,000 for clubs towards equipment and facilities.
Another two fixtures were added to the men's calendar with Bready hosting two T20s against Hong Kong on September 5 and 6, after the I-Cup match between the teams at Stormont, and the Women's team will play six home games against Bangladesh, on top of the seven against South Africa. More fixtures for 2017 against Test nations will be announced at today's northern launch at UUJ.