History will be made at Malahide on Friday when Ireland takes to the field for a first ever full test match, facing world power Pakistan in a game scheduled to last five days.
We caught up with Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom as the clock ticks down.
“In terms of preparation, everything has gone very well. We learned lessons from times in the past when we have lost days to the weather and while we cannot control that we have done everything in our power to be ready to mitigate whatever the weather throws at us. We have invested in the human resource as well as the physical.
“In striving to do more things and new things we need to remember that while the team and the tickets and the broadcast details are all in place, it is down to us to make sure that the opportunity to play is looked after first and foremost.”
“We are really pleased with how the build-up to the game has gone. Test cricket is an untried and untested format here and we are approaching a complete sell out on Friday and the weekend with a capacity of 6,400 in the temporary seating we have built at Malahide.”
“That number will be bigger again for the India one day internationals following on as well and this summer is one where we will be showing Ireland to a bigger global audience than ever before.”
“The second game on June 29th is already 85 percent sold out with a capacity then of over 8,000.”
“We will have well over 20,000 people coming to see the sport live over three matches in the next six weeks. The previous record in any given year was 13,000 and the growth is real and sustainable.”
“RTÉ will be showing an hour of highlights each night of the Test match and that will open us up to a new and wider audience as well.”
Cricket is ready for the biggest day in its history. And yet it feels very real that this is not being seen as the end of a journey but rather as the start.
Making Cricket Mainstream is the mantra of the management and through building up a sponsorship portfolio led by Turkish Airlines, a media broadcast strategy that over the next six weeks will put Ireland before more global eyeballs than has ever been the case; and through developing the sport at local and regional level to provide for this being more than a one-hit wonder, they have created something special.
Over the next couple of days, we will look at how the main sponsors of the sport have been activating in advance of this week and we will also have an exclusive chat on Friday morning with Arun Kumar of ITW the international production house who will be responsible for all the broadcast facilities at Malahide.
Image Credit: Billy Stickland, Inpho Photography