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Cricket Ireland hit back at North West critics over 'hash' of Twenty20 international promotion

Clash: Kevin O'Brien batting against Afghanistan in March
Clash: Kevin O'Brien batting against Afghanistan in March

By Ian Callender

Cricket Ireland have refuted suggestions from the North West over the lack of publicity for next week's Twenty20 internationals against Afghanistan at Bready.

A North West union spokesman claimed that Cricket Ireland was making a "right royal hash" of promoting the three games - which take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday - saying the silence has been deafening, and they have now been advised "that the temporary seating that was to be in place for the week is no longer an option".

"Exclusively from a PR perspective, the promotion to date has been very poor," said the spokesman. "Through a lot of hard work, we have developed very good relationships with press and media outlets across the North West over a long period of time, yet none of these were ever engaged.

"There is still nearly a week to go, and the damage is far from irreparable, but to date there has been very little tangible evidence of a promotion campaign."

But Dennis Cousins, Commercial Director at Cricket Ireland, hit back yesterday.

"The highly-anticipated Afghanistan series, the clash between the two newest Full Member nations, is one that Cricket Ireland has been promoting and rolling out support for over several months," he said.

"The radio campaign alone is the most comprehensive we've ever undertaken in Northern Ireland - and exceeds previous radio campaigns we undertook around the West Indies in 2017 and Australia in 2015.

"Cricket Ireland digital channels have carried promotion of the series since July, after the completion of the India T20I series, and this has included designed graphic promotions across our website and social media channels.

"There have been several media pieces and interviews undertaken, some already appeared, some soon to appear - as well as upcoming promotional opportunities with both media in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"We are shortly to release an updated list of broadcast arrangements for the matches, which will include how our domestic audiences in Ireland and the UK will be able to follow the series.

"The seating matter is one which Cricket Ireland takes seriously and, while consideration at times did look at providing options ranging from temporary grandstand seating to more flexible fold-up seats, we had to weigh up the cost of match infrastructure with ticket prices.

"To keep ticket prices at an attractive rate, we have chosen to go with the same solution we have had in place for previous Afghanistan games in Ireland (at Clontarf and Stormont most notably) and other games of this size, that is providing fold-out seats."

The squad for the series, and the three one-day internationals between the teams at Stormont the following week, will be selected tonight following Ireland Wolves' second T20 game against Bangladesh A at Clontarf (4pm).

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