Cricket Ireland says it could cost upwards of €6m (£5.3m/$6.8m) to upgrade its Malahide ground, as the country looks to improve its facilities after being given Test status.

Ireland, along with Afghanistan, was granted Test status last week by being awarded full membership to the ICC. Both countries were voted in unanimously to become the first newcomers since Bangladesh in 2000.

There are now a total of 12 full ICC members, and Cricket Ireland’s chief executive Warren Deutrom has been presented with €5m in funding, almost double (€2.7m) its prior budget, to bring the country up to speed.

As well as concerns over the quality of Ireland’s cricketers, Deutrom has concerns about quickly improving playing and training facilities. Malahide, in Dublin, is Ireland’s biggest cricket venue, but it is made up of several temporary structures including portacabin changing rooms, which are installed before every match.

“Over the next six months we have to think about the transition to full membership,” Deutrom said, according to The 42 website.

“We’re going to have to think about our priorities and one of those has to be when are we going to start playing Test cricket?

“Let’s assume it’s going to be 2018 or 2019 but it takes a long time for facilities, funding, planning permission and then the bedding in of the pitch to happen. You’re looking at a three-year process so facilities are such an urgent priority.”

Permanent seating

He added: “Currently it’s extremely expensive for us to keep putting in temporary infrastructure only to have to pull it down again.

“It is important for us to put the money we’re making back into the sport and not spending it on putting up a temporary structure each time we play at home.

“We want a new venue to be scalable so it looks full if there’s 1,000 people at a game and then we can add more seats to it if the demand is there.”

Deutrom has identified securing the development of a suitable home international cricket ground as a priority.

In order to ensure Malahide is a suitable international-standard venue, there would need to be the construction of a new pavilion with television and media facilities, as well as permanent seating for 1,500 spectators, at a cost of €6m, with Cricket Ireland in a position to half fund it.

Image: Dan Heap