Cricket had its day in the sun delayed by 24 hours at the weekend but when it came it grasped it with both hands. President Michael D Higgins rubbed shoulders with Mick Jagger in the Malahide sunshine yesterday and the game was broadcast around the world with tourism stings on the coverage from Fingal County Council.

On the field, it could not have got off to a better start with Ireland taking two quick wickets in the first 30 balls to be bowled.  The fortunes then dipped with Pakistan gaining control and almost putting Ireland to a very swift sword but the ship was steadied and they go into day four today with Ireland going into today’s fourth day with all batsmen still to play in the second innings and 116 runs needed to make Pakistan bat again.

If all of that is double dutch then yes it’s true that Cricket takes a little understanding to make sense of with two teams, both wearing the same colour kit, playing for five days, unless it is raining, and still having the potential to post different scores but end up in a draw.

But you know what if you give it the time it is curiously but undoubtedly both addictive and enthralling.

The stands were packed on Saturday and they will be again when India come to town for two matches at the end of June.  The game does not have the linear narrative played out at Parnell Park yesterday when Dublin and Kilkenny went toe to toe in the Leinster Hurling Championship but the same level of hand-eye coordination to catch  or strike a fast moving small ball is not a million miles away and while the physicality is different the kind of steel to be the best in your chosen sport on any given Sunday is not so much so.

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Cricket Ireland have pulled together a host of sponsorship deals including with Turkish Airlines as sponsors of the Men’s national team and RTÉ have been showing highlights of each days play.

There is also a partnership with Off The Ball and you will hear Kevin O’Brien and Laura Delaney from the Men’s and Women’s team inviting young kids to play the sport this summer throughout the coming weeks.

Every child will find something in sport, sometimes it takes a look beyond the big three to discover what that is and the added impetus that cricket is gaining will make that one to consider without a doubt.

Building a base of young players to feed into the club and provincial structure will enable Cricket Ireland to build on the strong foundations that have been laid down on the path towards this weekend’s next stage of development.

It is a sport that values tradition and it was a welcome touch to invite all of those still living who had played senior cricket for Ireland down the years to enjoy the game yesterday.

It was great to be a part of, and with conversations buzzing about a new High Performance Centre getting ready to open at the National Sports Campus this summer and more to follow in the pipeline, it also felt very much as though this was not the end of a journey towards full test status but the next step on the way towards making cricket much more central as part of Ireland’s rich and varied sporting landscape.



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Image Credit: Inpho Photography