Ireland November 10, 2009

Bring on the Irish

 
36


Ireland practise sarcastically celebrating a no-ball © ICC/Donal MacLeod
 

As a mere humourist, an amateur dabbler in the mysteries of cricket writing, I make it my business to study the greats. I have, for instance, catalogued every one of Gideon Haigh’s shopping lists from the autumn of 2005 onwards, and when I am particularly in need of inspiration I fetch them down from their place on my shelf next to Mike Atherton’s Notes to My Milkman 2002–2008 and pore over them for hours.

Of course, the conventional method of finding out what the best cricket minds are thinking is to read their Cricinfo columns. Last week, for instance, Peter Roebuck penned a piece that swiftly became essential reading at Hughes Towers. I printed off copies for all of the household staff and withheld their monthly remuneration until I was happy they had mastered the finer points of Mr Roebuck’s thesis.

I even had my butler recite it whilst I enjoyed my afternoon tea on the terrace. Hearing those words of reason pour forth once again, I felt all was right with the world. “Quite so!” I exclaimed as he extolled the virtues of opening up Test cricket’s borders. “Hear hear!” I declared as he railed against the ill-treatment of the “hard-pressed and often insulted spectators”. Indeed, at this point I was nodding so hard in agreement that my monocle popped out of my eye and into my Earl Grey.

Tea-splashingly good though his piece was, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without correcting him on an important point. Specifically, in paragraph two he stated, “Test cricketers cannot be microwaved.” This is unduly defeatist. Granted, you might have to chop them up a bit first, but I'm certain that it could be done, given a sufficiently large plate and a dash of good old-fashioned determination.

But aside from this unwarranted pessimism regarding the efficacy of modern radiation-based cooking facilities, his article was bang on. Let’s jolly well get on with it and give our Irish friends their place at the (slightly rickety) top table. There are of course, one or two issues to be thrashed out beforehand, but Mr Roebuck naturally has his mind on higher things and so it is down to lesser scribblers such as me to deal with the practicalities.

Firstly, there is the problem of hue. Who? No, hue. The fact is that South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh have pretty much got all the greens covered. So if we are to see more of the Irish on the international stage, they need to bring a new colour to the cricket spectrum. I’m thinking of fuchsia pink with violet trim. Or failing that, I’m sure Boyd Rankin would look lovely in lavender.

Secondly, what’s their shtick? Everyone else has a thing, a cliché. Pakistan are mercurial. Sri Lanka are unorthodox. England are useless. But what about Ireland? The lucky Irish? Well, Ravi Shastri needs more to work with than that. Plucky underdogs? Not a good idea because when it comes to Test cricket, everyone hates the plucky underdog (see Bangladesh). For a long time, I pondered this problem and then, whilst I was gazing at a portrait of a smugly smiling Stuart Clark, I had a eureka moment.

Sarcasm! We have nasty teams, incompetent teams, teams with immaculate haircuts, teams who choke, teams who sulk and teams who sometimes don’t turn up. But what the modern game lacks is a truly sarcastic international outfit.

So, I want to see Niall O’Brien play a forward defensive to a Jimmy Anderson half-volley and hold the position for fully 10 seconds. I want to see the Irish fielders applauding when Ricky Ponting reaches his fifty and then continuing to applaud and perhaps even throwing in a whoop or two, long after the crowd have stopped clapping and the ground has fallen silent.

Imagine Nasser Hussain holding a microphone under William Porterfield’s nose on a Thursday morning in June:

“So, William, you must be delighted to finally be playing a Test match at Lord’s.”

“Oh yeah, sure, we’re REALLY delighted. I mean it is SUCH an honour, you’ve no idea. I am, like, literally wetting myself with excitement.”

Email the ICC. Write to the United Nations. Pray to Uncle Lalit. Do what you have to do, chums, but let’s make it happen.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nAyAn on November 13, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    ICC have to change their mind (some colamist and suppoter also). ICC think that, cricket is only for sophisticated one. If they do not change their mind, undoubtly thousand year required to make it popular. TEST STATUS has a super power to make it popular first , as I saw in BANGLADESH. I like to watch more country as a TEST NATION like IRELAND,CHINA, AFGANISTAN . . . . . . . . .

  • nAyAn on November 13, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    ICC have to change their mind. ICC think that, cricket is only for sophisticated one. If they do not change their mind, undoubtly thousand year required to make it popular. TEST STATUS has a super power to make it popular first , as I saw in BANGLADESH. I like to watch more country as a TEST NATION like IRELAND,CHINA, AFGANISTAN . . . . . . . . .

  • Daryl on November 11, 2009, 21:59 GMT

    maybe South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ireland could have an away strip similar to those of footballers

  • DonZ on November 11, 2009, 18:16 GMT

    Sh**t I wet my self there! why have u not appeared in the commentary box yet! I am sure you can replace Bob Willis. superb article!

  • Sid KH on November 11, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    I personally like Ireland and the freshness they bring. They're no push-overs and will surely get better with time. We need a lot more Test playing countries in cricket. Ireland, China, Afghanistan, Nepal, Namibia will make it interesting. These teams should play among themselves and get the exposure before they get a chance to play with the big boys. ICC administrators are an archaic bunch of dinosaurs who don't seem to want the adapt to the changing dynamics of the game and its spectators. Long live this wonderful game!

  • LOLing on November 11, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Hilarious! I especially loved the one about your monocle.

    @Arvind, dude, get a life. I'd like to see you writing an article half as funny as this.

  • Mel on November 11, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    Sarcasm or not, if a team is not good enough to win the game, the joke would be on them. ;) Also, do you really really believe that Irish would be playing their first test match starting 3rd june, 2010, a Thursday? ;)

  • Mohan.K on November 11, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Well done Sir!! I should say am beginning to look forward to ur column, each time i click over to Page2!! but as "Randy from Kandy" says, we sure do need some more teams to pick on!! But i say Team India sure is doing quite good to break into England's level(though not enough! they occasionally manage 2 win!). Keep up the good work, and do give us more to laugh at!! And of course, I loved the part about praying to Uncle Lalit - aint he Santa Claus to the cricketers?? if only we could have some Irishmen in the IPL, it sure would add some more color to what already is quite a colorful tournament!!

  • Khusro on November 11, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    Oh my God I am dead..... THANK YOU SOOO MUCH Mr. Hughes

  • Randy from Kandy on November 11, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Relax Arvind, read page2 in a lighter vein!

    Andrew congrats on a well composed piece, page2 has been a revelation so far. Perhaps what is lacks is more sides other than England to pick on frequently! Still love the sarcasm bit. that said I sure hope the Irish with their unorthodox approach and originality will become another Sri Lanka at International level

  • nAyAn on November 13, 2009, 9:53 GMT

    ICC have to change their mind (some colamist and suppoter also). ICC think that, cricket is only for sophisticated one. If they do not change their mind, undoubtly thousand year required to make it popular. TEST STATUS has a super power to make it popular first , as I saw in BANGLADESH. I like to watch more country as a TEST NATION like IRELAND,CHINA, AFGANISTAN . . . . . . . . .

  • nAyAn on November 13, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    ICC have to change their mind. ICC think that, cricket is only for sophisticated one. If they do not change their mind, undoubtly thousand year required to make it popular. TEST STATUS has a super power to make it popular first , as I saw in BANGLADESH. I like to watch more country as a TEST NATION like IRELAND,CHINA, AFGANISTAN . . . . . . . . .

  • Daryl on November 11, 2009, 21:59 GMT

    maybe South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ireland could have an away strip similar to those of footballers

  • DonZ on November 11, 2009, 18:16 GMT

    Sh**t I wet my self there! why have u not appeared in the commentary box yet! I am sure you can replace Bob Willis. superb article!

  • Sid KH on November 11, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    I personally like Ireland and the freshness they bring. They're no push-overs and will surely get better with time. We need a lot more Test playing countries in cricket. Ireland, China, Afghanistan, Nepal, Namibia will make it interesting. These teams should play among themselves and get the exposure before they get a chance to play with the big boys. ICC administrators are an archaic bunch of dinosaurs who don't seem to want the adapt to the changing dynamics of the game and its spectators. Long live this wonderful game!

  • LOLing on November 11, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Hilarious! I especially loved the one about your monocle.

    @Arvind, dude, get a life. I'd like to see you writing an article half as funny as this.

  • Mel on November 11, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    Sarcasm or not, if a team is not good enough to win the game, the joke would be on them. ;) Also, do you really really believe that Irish would be playing their first test match starting 3rd june, 2010, a Thursday? ;)

  • Mohan.K on November 11, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Well done Sir!! I should say am beginning to look forward to ur column, each time i click over to Page2!! but as "Randy from Kandy" says, we sure do need some more teams to pick on!! But i say Team India sure is doing quite good to break into England's level(though not enough! they occasionally manage 2 win!). Keep up the good work, and do give us more to laugh at!! And of course, I loved the part about praying to Uncle Lalit - aint he Santa Claus to the cricketers?? if only we could have some Irishmen in the IPL, it sure would add some more color to what already is quite a colorful tournament!!

  • Khusro on November 11, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    Oh my God I am dead..... THANK YOU SOOO MUCH Mr. Hughes

  • Randy from Kandy on November 11, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Relax Arvind, read page2 in a lighter vein!

    Andrew congrats on a well composed piece, page2 has been a revelation so far. Perhaps what is lacks is more sides other than England to pick on frequently! Still love the sarcasm bit. that said I sure hope the Irish with their unorthodox approach and originality will become another Sri Lanka at International level

  • Dour on November 11, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Are they not talking about admission for test cricket? Which means the Irish, like all teams, will be wearing white. And they have already played a 100 matches in the emerald green colors.

  • Check Check on November 11, 2009, 4:16 GMT

    Can somebody tell me WHAT IS STOPPING Ireland from becoming a Test Nation? I remember reading an article from Ireland Cricket board that was talking about no stepping stone being between being at the top of associate's group to becoming a Test Nation. Interest is high in cricket in Ireland right now but with this kind of lack of support from ICC it'll dwindle back down soon.

  • Nadeeka on November 11, 2009, 3:33 GMT

    Lovly piece. Those Microwaved Test test cricketers sound delicious

  • Chris Cooper on November 11, 2009, 1:56 GMT

    Seriously Andrew, u can do better than this article.. I'm lost is it a funny or satirical article?????

  • Dave on November 11, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    "I even had my butler recite it whilst I enjoyed my afternoon tea on the terrace"

    You are Andrew Strauss and I claim my five pounds!

  • Sabmac on November 10, 2009, 22:09 GMT

    Yes, congratulations on beating some of the lower-rung teams, Gareth. Nice to know there's a humourless Irishman around.

  • Mohamed Z. Rahaman on November 10, 2009, 20:04 GMT

    Love the ending piece... "pray to Uncle Lalit". I get the feeling that there's something more to those words.

  • Sushant on November 10, 2009, 18:44 GMT

    hahaha.... good one andrew... I couldnt stop laughing in the latter half of your article.... nasty teams would be the aussies, incompetent teams would be bangladesh and west indies at times, teams with immaculate haircuts could be srilanka barring ofcourse malinga, teams who choke is definately SA, teams who sulk at times india and teams who sometimes don’t turn up will be pakistan... I hope I got those right... but I didnt get the logic behind you getting the sarcastic idea from a stuart clark potrait... I think one of the english blokes could v done that role better.....

  • ramesh on November 10, 2009, 17:52 GMT

    this is lovely man .. the sarcasm list can go on and on .. like if someone drops a catch, the batsman can go and shake the errant man's hand

  • RK on November 10, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    I am little bit confused about the humour of this article. More importantly, I found it as a day dream. Its nice to see dreams but we have to acknowledge that dreams are not real! The truth is that Ireland is far away from test cricket, forget about color maniac. What we see is that Ireland had two lucky wins in a decade followed by thrashing by other teams. So, they need to go quite a distance from now on. But its always good to have ambitions. The most important thing could be for them is to perform in next world cup and make their application healthy.

  • Arvind on November 10, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    What has Ireland's application for full membership got to do with what colour of clothing they would wear? You don't wear coloured clothing in Test cricket.

    As I have told you before, you have no talent for satirical writing. Take some lessons from Andy Zaltzman.

  • Andrew Hughes on November 10, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    Thanks all for your kind comments.

    I realise, of course, that in Test matches they will be wearing white (although I love the shamrock print idea) but with Test status will come all kinds of tempting invitations to triangular tournaments and five-match one day series and far more frequent television appearances. They should therefore ditch the green for something more distinct.

    Then again, by the time they are admitted to the club, perhaps even Test matches will no longer be played in whites...

  • Vikram Maingi on November 10, 2009, 12:11 GMT

    Good article Andrew. But I don't think the color of the dress will be an issue as the games at Test level are still played in whites.

  • Gareth McCarter on November 10, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    I think I have missed the humour in this article, or perhaps it might be more pointed to say that the author has left it out. Never mind what colour Ireland would play in; there wasn't a problem with us wearing green when we beat Pakistan and Bangladesh at the 2007 WC or in beating the latter at the most recent World T20. Not even Sir Alex Ferguson would blame a colour clash for that.

  • rusty on November 10, 2009, 11:20 GMT

    I'm looking forward to it.They'll quickly overtake England, just to spite them; be more foul-mouthed than the Indians; more inconsistent than the Pakistanis; more laughs than the Saffers; dance better than the Windies; fight more above their weight than the Kiwis; look scrawnier than the Bangas; and be the one team to be more bloody-minded than the Australians, coming from the same blood-stock, so to speak. They'll probably turn test cricket into Twenty-20 and Twenty-20 into a farce. I'd put them in orange - then there'll be real Troubles.

  • Paddy McGuiness on November 10, 2009, 11:16 GMT

    Top of the morning! about time the Irish team get to play test cricket. Dublin and Belfast being two of the test venues... Maybe Shannon would be another.. Its time they start building a cricket ground, Plenty of pints will be downed at the test venues. It'll be a fine spirited game don't you think. Hopefully by 2012 we should see a test being played by the continental cup champions.

  • Srini on November 10, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Good one Andrew. But one important point u missed. They wont wear color in Test matches !

  • Sagir Parkar on November 10, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    Good one Andrew.. i loved the idea of a 'sarcy team'... and Porterfield's responses were hilarious to read... after all, what is so GREAT about playing at Lords ;) as for their dress code, can they not have it in white with green shamrocks printed all over.. like a summery floral print !

  • Karthik on November 10, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Hilarious!! Loved the 'sarcasm' bit Andrew!!

  • taher on November 10, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    i liked the cliche about England...."Everyone else has a thing, a cliché. Pakistan are mercurial. Sri Lanka are unorthodox. England are useless."

  • Sree Harsha on November 10, 2009, 9:21 GMT

    Mr.Hughes, If you are Wodehouse's alter-ego. Please admit it. I just love the way you write.

  • MERCURIAL COVER-DRIVE on November 10, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    in all fairness, whilst E(&W)CB continually poaches the best, and those with an ounce of talent (Joyce), the Irish canm never be a force.

    As it is, even Hong Kong or Namibia, are evenly placed as are the Irish.

    A GB & Eire ala rugby union however, is a more logical proposition.

  • vishnu on November 10, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    An awesome article. For once, I really was laughing while reading (usually such laughter is only for comedy serials and the likes!) Definitely agree with 'Ameya' one of your better ones!

  • Anonymous on November 10, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    i wonder whether Andrew was 'sarcastic' about Peter Roebuck's idea that having Ireland as a test team would be good.

  • Ameya on November 10, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    One of your better ones Andrew!

  • rohith on November 10, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    again..truly a typical andrew hughes' article...too good

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  • rohith on November 10, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    again..truly a typical andrew hughes' article...too good

  • Ameya on November 10, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    One of your better ones Andrew!

  • Anonymous on November 10, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    i wonder whether Andrew was 'sarcastic' about Peter Roebuck's idea that having Ireland as a test team would be good.

  • vishnu on November 10, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    An awesome article. For once, I really was laughing while reading (usually such laughter is only for comedy serials and the likes!) Definitely agree with 'Ameya' one of your better ones!

  • MERCURIAL COVER-DRIVE on November 10, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    in all fairness, whilst E(&W)CB continually poaches the best, and those with an ounce of talent (Joyce), the Irish canm never be a force.

    As it is, even Hong Kong or Namibia, are evenly placed as are the Irish.

    A GB & Eire ala rugby union however, is a more logical proposition.

  • Sree Harsha on November 10, 2009, 9:21 GMT

    Mr.Hughes, If you are Wodehouse's alter-ego. Please admit it. I just love the way you write.

  • taher on November 10, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    i liked the cliche about England...."Everyone else has a thing, a cliché. Pakistan are mercurial. Sri Lanka are unorthodox. England are useless."

  • Karthik on November 10, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Hilarious!! Loved the 'sarcasm' bit Andrew!!

  • Sagir Parkar on November 10, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    Good one Andrew.. i loved the idea of a 'sarcy team'... and Porterfield's responses were hilarious to read... after all, what is so GREAT about playing at Lords ;) as for their dress code, can they not have it in white with green shamrocks printed all over.. like a summery floral print !

  • Srini on November 10, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    Good one Andrew. But one important point u missed. They wont wear color in Test matches !