By Tim Harkins
A cricket tournament modelled after India’s top prize in the sport aims to improve relations between different cultures in Ireland.
The Ranji Cricket Trophy tournament, which will take place on 1 August at Malahide Cricket Club, is named after legendary cricketer Ranjitsinhji, who lived in Ireland from 1924 to 1933 and was the first head of state to visit the then newly established Irish Free State in July 1924.
It also “celebrates this famous sportsman’s connection with Ireland,” said author Anne Chambers, whose book Ranji: Maharajah of Connemara raised awareness of his connection to Ireland.
“Both as a Maharjah and a cricket icon, Ranji experienced his share of racism both on and off the cricket pitch,” said Chambers of the politician and sportsman who settled in Connemara after buying Ballynahinch Castle.
“Our annual cricket match held in his honour is a sociable and fun way to help bridge racial boundaries in our multicultural Irish society today,” she added during the launch event for the third annual tournament.
Teams will compete in a fast-paced six-a-side competition with lineups from various Irish-based global companies including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, Intel, Oracle and Microsoft alongside Irish institutions like the ESB and AIB.
The tournament also has the aim of improving cultural relations between Indians and Irish people.
Indians are the second most registered nationality in Ireland, according to 2014 figures from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), comprising 11 per cent of all non-EEA nationals taking residence in the State.
They are also among the top visitors to Ireland, representing 17 per cent of the 101,500 entry visa applications for both short and long stay visits received in 2014.