The chief executive of the Irish Cricket Union has doused Northern Cricket Union fears that the majority of the union's proposed new board will not have a cricket background.
Speaking for the first time since the ICU executive agreed on radical changes to its structures, Warren Deutrom said that there would be provincial representatives on the new governing board, which will replace the existing executive and management committees.
"We will be looking for continuity from the current governing body and although I cannot confirm numbers at this stage an external appointments panel will decide on members who can bring specific skills from professional and public life to join the provincial members," said Deutrom.
"It will be a streamlined process with about 11 or 12 members on the board, but I can assure everyone there will be cricket people on it and that's the message which must be got across."
The proposals will now go before the four provincial executives - the NCU meet tonight - before returning for further discussion at the next ICU executive in December with the final vote at the ICU's AGM early in 2008.
The decision to "actively place Irish players into county cricket" is to ensure the ICU have a measure of control over their best players, said Deutrom.
" There is no financial incentive for players to stay in Ireland at the moment and when the counties snap them up we have no say on their release. Unless we do something about it, that is not going to change.
"The Under 17s did well in Jersey at the end of the season against county teams and the James Halls, Andrew Balbirnies and Paul Stirlings will not be around here for ever.
"So we hope to use the National Coach's very wide contacts in the county scene to place our players while ensuring their release for international duty."
The CEO also confirmed that he expected Phil Simmons to be National Coach until at least the next World Cup qualifying tournament in 2009.
Following a report that Simmons had applied for the position as coach of the West Indies, his ICU line manager, David Williams, the chairman of cricket and Deutrom met with the National Coach.
"It seemed that someone had put his name forward for the position but when we met Phil he had put in place a programme to take the senior squad to the World Cup qualifying tournament in UAE and he gave every indication he would be with the squad through to 2009," said Deutrom.
The major blow to the ICU in recent days has been the news that the team's main sponsor, Bank of Ireland, will not be renewing its current contract
"It's a disappointment and I'm slightly surprised, but we have to be mature and accept the decision which was taken for business reasons," added Deutrom.
"I'm delighted that we have agreed a new four-year deal with Kukri (the official kit sponsor) and I'm very confident that we will have an additional sponsor in place by January."
The cash is sure to be needed because, at the moment, with no change in the money from ICC until 2009 and "one less degree of certainty from our commercial partners" with the loss of the Bank's sponsorship, the union are relying on the generous support of the Irish Sports Council and the Sports Council of Northern Ireland to fulfil their future commitments, one of which is an invitation to a tri-series in Bangladesh, also involving South Africa, next March.
"As we are not yet in the ICC's Future Tours Programme, we have to look for matches against the teams close to us in the ODI rankings, such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, West Indies and Bangladesh," said Deutrom.
"Bangladesh are sending me an itinerary for the tri-series and they have also agreed to play us in three ODIs and a four-day game. That should be an ideal pre-season tour for the coach and players."
÷ DARRELL Hair will undergo a six-months rehabilitation programme after his decision to drop his case for racial discrimination against the International Cricket Council.
The Australian is currently suspended from umpiring in top-level matches after he and his West Indian colleague, Billy Doctrove, awarded last year's Oval Test to England when Pakistan refused to take the field.
He will continue to umpire international matches, but not those involving Test-playing countries and the ICC board will meet in March to discuss the results of Hair's rehabilitation and decide whether he can return to elite umpiring, and if so, on what terms.