Ireland’s tour of Sri Lanka next year has been postponed because the scheduled one-off Test between the two teams – which was set to begin on February 8 – is not part of Sri Lanka Cricket’s existing broadcast deal.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) requires all Test matches to be broadcast. When SLC agreed to its broadcast agreement in 2013, Ireland’s tour was not part of it as they had yet to acquire Test status.
Cricket Ireland have agreed to SLC’s request to reschedule the tour for when the Test will come under their next broadcast agreement, which is due to be signed in 2020.
“We understand that ICC regulations require all Tests to be broadcast, and it became clear only recently that this one-off match was no exception,” said Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom. “We were far progressed in our planning for this short tour, so we and the travelling squad are obviously disappointed.
“Most of all, we are deeply sorry for those family, friends, cricket fans and media who would have gone to such trouble to make arrangements to travel to Galle for the match.
“Rest assured we shall work as quickly as possible with SLC to identify an alternative slot for the match and we shall communicate that as soon as it is confirmed. We’d like to thank the Ireland fans for their continued support and understanding.”
News of the postponement comes two days after Cricket Ireland announced that their proposed Test match against Bangladesh in 2020 will now be a T20I instead due to financial constraints.
“The first area of prioritisation for 2020 has been white-ball cricket over red-ball,” Deutrom said. “Like all Irish cricket fans, we would love nothing more than to be competing on all three fronts – Tests, ODIs and T20Is. Unfortunately, our financial constraints have led us to cut the home Test match next year.
“As the Test does not form part of the World Test Championship, the one-off match lacks context. For effectively a ‘friendly’, the expected costs for hosting the Test would be over €1 million, with little expectation of creating revenue streams to cover the costs of hosting.”
Deutrom added that Ireland will not be able to host Afghanistan for five T20Is next year.
“We have been regular and frequent opponents of the Afghans every year for a long time now, and we shall be again in future,” he said. “However, needs must at this juncture to ensure we are operating as a responsible governing body operating within our means.”