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Deutrom plans for Cricket Ireland's cash windfall as questions about Test status begin


By Ian Callender

There is a pad on Warren Deutrom's desk and under the date 26/6/2017, written in capital letters, are the words "WE ARE A TEST NATION". The next line on the Cricket Ireland chief executive's pad says "FM funding flow timeline".

FM stands for Full Member (of the International Cricket Council) and it is to remind him to send an email asking when the money - around £5.2million a year - will be arriving.

When put up against India, who will receive £53million, and even Zimababwe's £12million, it is small fry. It is still almost double the amount Ireland were receiving as an Associate member, but every penny will be needed to accommodate the demands in Deutrom's in-tray.

And while he waits to hear if it is July 1 or January 1 next year that the money starts flowing, the CEO hints that the later date might be best.

"My heart says, great, bring it on, let's start throwing the cash around now, and my head says it may not be such a bad thing if we don't receive the cash until January 1 because, rather than dealing with everyone's shopping list, it will allow us to approach it more sensibly, strategically and in a measured fashion," he said.

"It would give us time to pull together a plan. This is transformational but we don't want to rush in."

The plan is actually in place. Deutrom put forward a paper to the CI board in February when the ICC agreed in principle to up the number of Test nations from 10 to 12. It was approved by the full Council last Thursday.

But the questions, of which when the funding arrives is only one, are only just beginning.

Deutrom reels them off: "Player eligibility - are our county professionals (such as captain William Porterfield) now classed as overseas players?

"If all our cricket is now as a Full Member does it all need to be televised? If it is televised, do we need DRS (the Decision Review System)? How much is DRS going to cost?

"So, at least if it is January 1 before the finance begins to flow it will give us a means to work out priorities and communicate where it's going."

And the knock-on effect of any delay is the wait for Ireland's first Test match - the most asked question in the last six days.

The boss says there are three key considerations.

"We don't want to wait years and years but we want to have a sense of occasion," he said.

"Bangladesh were the last team to get Test status, in June 2000, and they played their first Test at home against India five months later. Working backwards, Zimbabwe were before that in July 1992 and they played their first Test at home against India three months later.

"Sri Lanka was July 1981 and they played early the next year at home against England.

"So the thought process would appear to be play at home against a top nation within 12 months.

"If we are in a position to do that, great, but there are two other considerations. The Test countries now are busier with their schedule and, two, we need to have played a five-day game before we play a Test match."

Deutrom has already been approached by two CEOs to "talk about Test cricket" and, although he refused to divulge which ones, "it was encouraging that the champagne being handed out (last Thursday) wasn't ill-served".

He also refused to be drawn on under-pressure coach John Bracewell's position, although it is looking likely that he will not be in charge when that first Test eventually comes around.

"We will have an internal discussion to establish a position and then talk to the coach. That is normal practice for anyone approaching the end of their contract," said Deutrom.

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