Ireland came within one stroke of upsetting former world champions India in the second Twenty20 International last Tuesday at Malahide, north of Dublin, with the match coming down to the final delivery of Ireland’s innings.
The hosts fell four runs short of India’s impressive score of 225-7. Despite their defeat, their valiant performance was a fitting monument to their Mumbai-born billionaire benefactor Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, the real estate mogul who died the same day at the age of 93.
Mistry utilised his huge wealth to sponsor Irish cricket from the grassroots level ten years after obtaining Irish citizenship in 2003 (his wife Patsy was born in Dublin).
In Dublin, he founded the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, named after his legendary father, who is reputed to have constructed half of Mumbai with Mistry, including many landmark structures.
The construction giant and Cricket Ireland struck a multi-million Euro 10-year partnership, making the business the “official partner” of Cricket Ireland.
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom praised the group’s assistance in 2014, saying Cricket Ireland has found the “ideal partner” in the Shapoorji Pallonji Group of Companies to share their objective of developing the next generation of international cricketers.
The Academy has produced a number of well-known players, notably Harry Tector, who led Ireland in scoring in the first match on Sunday with 64 not out from 33 balls and then 39 in Sunday’s defeat.
In response to an email request, Deutrom paid tribute to Mistry on his passing.
“The Board and staff of Cricket Ireland are saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Pallonji Mistry, and would like to offer our condolences to his family and friends. Under his stewardship as Chairman of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the business became the 10-year sponsor of the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy in 2013—supporting the performance pathway and development of emerging men’s and women’s talent in Irish cricket.
“Whilst a sad occasion, we are indebted to Mr Mistry and the SP Group in joining us in a partnership that has made the future of Irish cricket bright.”
However, this is not the only Indian link to Irish cricket.
Raman Lamba, who represented India in five Tests and 32 One-Day Internationals during the 1980s, also represented Ireland in three one-day matches in 1990 after marrying an Irishwoman, Kim.
The Delhi batsman died tragically at the age of 38 in 1998 after being hit in the head while fielding in a club match in Dhaka!