The future for Irish cricket has received a major boost after a significant investment by Indian born Pallonji Mistry, the 62nd richest man in the World.
As reported by the BBC, the investment, thought to be around £2 million, will be used to develop Ireland's Academy and ensure the future of cricket in Ireland remains bright.
Mistry, who is an Irish citizen and has an Irish wife, owns a series of companies called Shapoorji Pallonji who deal with businesses ranging from real estate to water treatment, and is thought to have a personal wealth of around £9.55bn. £2m might sound like a drop in the ocean compared to that but for Irish cricket this is a huge investment and will be a great help to their development and their hopes of achieving their future aspirations.
The £2m will be used to fund their cricket academy which will be renamed the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy. In return the Pallonji Group wil become an official partner of Cricket Ireland. There will be an initial intake of 22 male and female cricketers in the Academy as Ireland look to educate their cricketing stars both on and off the field from the beginning of their careers.
Ireland hope that their plans will further enhance their reputation on the World cricketing stage and seek to further their aspirations of becoming full ICC members in the not too distant future. The have already made great inroads in the past few years. A shock World Cup defeat of England, a 10,000 sell-out crowd against England at Malahide last year and their recent series defeat of Scotland are helping Irish cricket develop in the right direction.
Ireland will also hope to perform well at next year's 50-over World Cup. Despite being placed in a difficult group, they will hope to provide a shock or two along the way and are capable of doing so.
Ireland's current players are now benefiting from playing cricket at a higher level throughout the year. Many of the current squad play in the English County Championship and are continuously exposed to players of a high standard on a regular basis. This can only help the development of the players and cricket within the country. The one issue that Irish cricket will hope to overcome, with their elevation to full ICC membership, will be their ability to retain players who would have previously been lured away by England, such as Ed Joyce, Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan.
This ten-year sponsorship deal will hope to deal with all these issues in the long-term and ensure that the future of Irishcricket remains bright. Will this deal help unearth future international cricketers that will eventually see Ireland compete against some of the more
established Test sides on a regular basis? Irish cricket and Pallonji Mistry hope that this will be case.