June 20, 2007

Irish cricket

Irish game on a sticky wicket

Martin Williamson

In The Daily Telegraph Tony Francis travels to Ireland to see if the World Cup was a flash in the pan or something more significant. The findings are not that encouraging, but he does flag an interesting point when he talks to some players from Derry. They believe that:-

“The authorities should encourage indigenous cricketers and scale down their dependency on Australians, South Africans and Asians who migrated to Dublin when the economy took off in the Nineties. Unless they can block the drain of talent to England by contracting Ireland's young elite such as Boyd Rankin, Niall O'Brien and Eoin Morgan, who all play county cricket, they'll need more Johnstons and Bothas if they're to have any chance of building on their international success.”

The issue will continue to dominate as a number of players refuse to play for Ireland because of their count commitments.

“The Irish Cricket Union would rather avoid a repeat of the Ed Joyce scenario. While understanding his career decision and wishing him well at Middlesex, most followers were hurt to see an Irishman representing England in the World Cup. It was like watching Roy Keane sing God Save the Queen.”

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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