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Cricket Ireland secures new main sponsor, renews with kit partner

Cricket Ireland has secured a new main sponsor and extended its kit deal, as the national governing body unveiled a strategic plan designed to boost development of the sport in the country.

Global conglomerate KPC Group has become Cricket Ireland’s new main sponsor under a three-year deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed. The agreement will run until the end of 2018.

Under the deal, KPC will initially title sponsor Ireland’s home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer, and the annual Cricket Ireland Awards. KPC holds business interests in India and the USA.

“As a world leader in the medical and other sectors, and as the KPC brand continues to grow globally, we believe there is an opportunity to work with Cricket Ireland for the benefit of both organisations on a number of initiatives,” Kali Pradip Chaudhuri, chairman and founder of KPC Group, said. “One of these initiatives is the opportunity to engage our Irish American audience and the Irish American business community in the USA through the Irish cricket team.”

Meanwhile, the governing body has renewed its kit deal with Irish sportswear manufacturer O’Neills under a four-year extension. The two parties first teamed up in 2012 and the extended partnership will run until the end of 2019.

O’Neills will provide all playing and training wear for Ireland’s men’s, women’s, development and youth teams, as well as interprovincial squads and umpires. The company will also continue to sponsor the Ulster Cup, Shield and Plate competitions, while it will team up with Cricket Ireland to launch a new online store.

In other news, Cricket Ireland has announced details of a new five-year plan that aims to raise the profile of cricket in the country so it rivals other popular sports.

“Our goal of playing Test matches by the end of 2020 needs to be broader and more ambitious – it needs to envision Ireland not just being a major force in cricket, but cricket being a major force in Ireland,” Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said.

“When we think of ‘major’ in Ireland, we think of GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), rugby and football. Well, why not cricket too? We need to shift perceptions of cricket as an elitist, exclusive sport to one that is open and accessible to all. We need to de-mystify the sport for the Irish public by making it visible, accessible, affordable and inspiring.”